Let’s just say it wasn’t in the plan. This morning sitting in Budapest,(story to come), we basically tossed a coin between heading to Croatia or Vienna and Vienna won. Then on the way to Vienna, I got tired of the drive so we detoured fractionally and ended up in Slovakia.
When we crossed over from Poland to Hungary we took the quick route through Slovakia. Crossing the border down these narrow streets with the old farm cottages that weren’t really farm cottages because they were in a residential street yet out the back were farm buildings and tractors and all kinds of farming implements, was little strange. Where the traditional women were out raking hay with their scarves tied over their hair, with the old men in their tractor’s driving down the cobbles, and where hay is still dried in stacks like chimneys. That part was fine but then things turned a little stranger, we both felt a little wierd and we both felt far from home. I couldn’t put my finger on it but we just didn’t get a great vibe so we kept on driving – all the way to Hungary.
Coming back to Slovakia has been a complete turnaround and I’m so glad about that.
Arriving late in the afternoon left us short on time but for me the evenings can be the highlight of these old towns especially on a Sunday when everyone’s out enjoying their day off and mixing with the tourists to give a nice blend of cuture. Its cooler in the evening too and all the restaurants are open and the lights of the city are amazing.
So here’s my list of the top things to do in Bratislava. Being such a compact city it’s an easy afternoon’s entertainment.
1) Get on your bike and and ride along The Danube and if you don’t have one you can hire those city bikes on the App that cost peanuts for an hour or so. Its easy to ride across the bridge and into the city with a designated bike lane and being a carless centre, it’s an easy ride around.
2) Wander through the water fountains and enjoy the street performers along the way. We listened to a street concert in the middle of the Square.
3) Walk through the City Walls and up to the castle. Even though the castle is relatively new having been rebuilt in 1953 after the original was burnt down, the view from the top of the surrounding city and The Danube below is amazing.
4) Stop for a wine or a craft beer at one of the little bars heading down the cobbles from Castle Hill. Cute and hidden from the town below.
4) If you are in the city around 5 or 6pm attend a church service. The St Martin’s Cathedral is lovely with lots of stained glass and it’s quite special to see the Priests in their robes and hear the choir sing and the church bells toll. Otherwise just pop your head in for a nosey at the architecture and all that stained glass.
5) Find the Blue Church – where else in the world is there a Blue Church?
6) Drink tea from around the world in an underground bunker. This was the highlight for me, the tea menu is huge and difficult to choose from but we had The Yogi Masala or Chai, it was the authentic one that took 20 minutes to brew, and a Coconut Chinese Tea. They were both delicious especially the Chai. The bunker was beautifully decorated with cushions, low tables and little areas to relax in and savour your tea.
7) Take a free walking tour, they operate even at night when it’s cooler and always really informative about the local history and architecture.
8) Just wander the well preserved Old Town, be nosey at the Monuments, the buildings, pop your head into the local souvenir shops, sample local Slovakian food and eat gelato on the streets.
9) Finally find the statue of the little guy popping his head out of the manhole. You’ll have to look carefully cause he’s not easy to find.
We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon here, I’m sure there’s much more to see and do but it was just enough for us and when we got back to the motorhome we had this amazing view from our front window of The Castle in it’s splendour rising out of The Danube below.