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Baking in Bratislava

SLOVAKIA | Wednesday, 18 May 2011 | Views [461]

Cumil - This guy, residing in the Old Town, dates back only to 1997 & was part of the attempt to enliven the city centre in the post-Communist era

Cumil - This guy, residing in the Old Town, dates back only to 1997 & was part of the attempt to enliven the city centre in the post-Communist era

It was only an hours bus-ride from Vienna to Bratislava, where I dumped my stuff in the Patio Hostel and changed into cooler clothes to combat the warmer weather. To kill some time before the free walking tour at 4pm I headed up to Bratislava Castle, where I got a good although hazy view of the “Little Big City” as well as the famous “Spaceship” restaurant perched over the main bridge (so nicknamed because it looks like a flying saucer). I managed to find my way back to Hviezdoslavovo nam where we were meeting up for the tour. It turned into a good group of Aussies and Americans, and one random Iranian guy who seemed more interested in posing for photos and forcing people to take his photo! Not surprisingly, we managed to lose him before the tour was over as he was left behind posing with some poor passerby taking his photo. We passed a building with a cannonball embedded in it, left in place to commemorate the resistance to Napoleon’s siege; and a statue of Napoleon leaning over a chair, to which the Aussies resolved to return that night in order to take rude photos. We stopped at the Presidential Palace, where I zoned out while our guide ranted on about some demonstration he was in. I was more interested in seeing the city rather than listening to his political views. Finally we continued the tour and visited the “Blue Church” which, true to its name, was painted blue both inside and outside. We also passed a plaque on the ground marking where the last witch was burnt, something I would have missed without the tour. I definitely recommend any free walking tour on offer, as you learn a lot more about the city than if you just wander around aimlessly (though that is also fun).

After the tour we headed back to our hostels and then I met up later with a couple of the Aussies and Americans for dinner at the “Shipwreck” restaurant – the largest in the city. It was great – piles of local food including dumplings, borscht and beer, which saw us stuffed to the gills for less than E10 each! After dinner we staggered to the pubs: starting at a random club where we somehow managed to score free watermelon shots, then on to an Irish pub for shots of the local firewater, and ending up at a Rock n’ Roll pub where the live band sounded horribly like bad karaoke. Gotta love those random nights.

I decided to have a lazy “day off” from all the hard work of touring cities as I was feeling somewhat run down after the previous night, so after a late start headed to an “outdoor reading area” to finish off a book. This lovely little courtyard is tucked away next to a local bridge and has tables, chairs, coffee and local magazines and papers where people can sit and enjoy the peace and sun in the centre of an already relaxed city. At the Presidential Palace I watched the changing of the guard and lowering of the flag, before spending the afternoon reading and napping on the banks of the Danube where it seemed half the city was lazing around on the sunny afternoon. There are even beanbags at the outdoor restaurants for a real chillout session. Briliant.

Tags: borscht, bratislava, castle, napoleon, slovakia


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