I think this officially marks the beginning of my less popular destinations. At least, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna are better known than Bratislava and most cities I’ll be visiting for the next little while. I’ve really enjoyed the change of atmosphere since Bratislava though, especially when it comes to prices. There has been an abundance of amazing things to see and experience since leaving Western Europe. Bratislava is only an hour train ride from Vienna, and I arrived in a blizzard.
I took it as Canada telling me that I can never escape winter, even if it’s April and Slovakia.
It only lasted a day and it was soon sunny and warm. I think I experienced all of Slovakia’s seasons in 4 days.
I soon found my way to an excellent coffee shop with its own in house roaster. To those of you who remember the smell in Merrickville when my mom was roasting coffee, you’ll understand how I was drawnin.
I just had to pick a country and soon a double espresso would arrive.
Having established that good coffee exists in Bratislava, I was looking forward to seeing more of the city.
I walked down this street every day, with the castle just visible in the distance.
While exploring Bratislava, I kept arriving at this church.
Everytime that church thought it knew which way I was coming I’d surprise it.
I didn’t realise it when I got to the Czech Republic, but it was the first Slavic country I’d encountered. There are currently three geographical classifications of Slavic people: Western Slavs (Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia), Eastern Slavs (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus), and then the Southern Slavs which are the former Yugoslav countries and Bulgaria. The Eastern and Western Slavs are separated from the Southern by Austria, Hungary, and Romania.
I started my exploring at Michalská Brána (Michael’s Gate) which is a medieval gate to the old city.
Underneath was an indicator of the distances to other cities.
I’m going to use my deduction skills to conclude that it’s slightly newer than medieval due to the presence of Toronto.
I was just glad a Canadian city made the list.
Slovakia and the Czech Republic used to be Czechoslovakia until the non-violent split in the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989.
The city centre is a beautiful pedestrian zone with churches and palaces.
I really liked the designs on the roofs of some buildings.
The former location of one of Bratislava’s old gates is marked by a suspended portcullis with the city’s coat of arms.
At some point of course I would have to make my way to the castle. I first passed by St. Martin’s Cathedral, which was the coronation church for the kingdom of Hungary.
Then passing under the highway, I saw the UFO restaurant above the bridge.
And now, inevitably, the journey up.
I arrived at the Sigismund Gate.
There was a tour on my heels, so instead of going through the gate I went right to escape.
Proof of Owen in Bratislava.
Eventually I got myself away from looking out over the city and into the castle.
This is the first I’ve seen of this style of castle and I really liked it. I started with the gardens.
The castle has an interesting history. It has been inhabited since the Stone Age.
It is one of the few castles to have withstood the Mongol invasion.
At one point it was the seat of the Hungarian monarchs.
The castle burnt down and reconstruction began in 1953.
The inner courtyard wasn’t too exciting.
After the castle I went in search of Slovakian food. There was one dish I was told to try called “Bryndzové Halušky.” Mostly sheep’s cheese and potato dough, it was definitely something new, and I liked it! I found it at the Slovak Pub.
Bratislava has beautiful parts like the castle, as well as some not as kept up places like the Fountain of Union.
I suppose it’s just a Statue of Union now, but I liked it anyways.
On my last day I walked by the Grassalkovich Palace, which is the residence of the president of Slovakia.
The last location on my to do list required much hill climbing, as always.
Looking at how the road abruptly slants up made me consider choosing Saskatchewan as my next destination.
There’s always the view though.
Overlooking the city, and even the castle, is the Slavín War Memorial, which is a memorial to the Soviet soldiers who gave their lives in WW2.
The statue on top is a Soviet soldier crushing a swastika underfoot.
Walking back down was a peaceful way to end my time in Slovakia.