Bratislava. I was expecting traces of communist past and maybe a sighting of bullet holes on building facades like in Budapest but I was disappointed.
Like other Eastern European cities who found themselves suddenly free from Communist rule, the enterprising businessmen are scurrying around to build chain stores, McDonalds, hotels, commercial and residential buildings with the most uncharming facades. The old town is still pretty and castle is under renovation, but me, freshly coming from Vienna whose shop window displays are catering to the wealthy, those in Bratislava sport the “Made in China” stuff but at least, I’ve seen the place. It’s still worth a visit though.
I stayed in a hostel and quite enjoyed it as it’s so cheap, perfect for my budget travelling lifestyle. I saw their flyer at the Tourist Office, went to check-in, and their bed is 18euros, cool! I had to pay tax of 1.80euros because I am over 26, no sweat.
Here’s more. The bed is one among 10 beds in a dormitory which is quite shocking but I guess I have to try it for once in my life. Sort of experience, so I can tell it here in my website. But holy cow! as soon as I arrived in the room, there was a man! It is a mixed-sex room. But the room is so small: 5 double deck beds.
“Is it a “mixed sex” room?” I asked the Reception.
“Yes!”. They could sense my discomfort so they changed my roon into a 6-bed all-female. My roomates are okay. We chatted after dinner. Great life stories we shared with each other.
Hence, I really recommend staying in hostels if you wish to meet people from other countries. You get to learn a lot of things from their stories.
The hostel room I stayed in where I met an Austrian (who doesn’t like Austria), a Danish (who doesn’t want to live in Denmark) and an American who is taking up her master’s degree in London.
Mariadams to the American who hails from Miami): My favorite tv series is CSI Miami!
The American: that’s what everybody tells me when they hear I come from Miami!
This hostel accepts drop-in guests, i.e., no prior reservation. Towel, bedsheet, duvet cover, pillowcase included. Five euros deposit for padlock, refundable upon check-out. Ten euros deposit for room key, refundable upon check-out. There is a kitchen in each floor so you can cook your noodle soup or make coffee. You can only get to the room at 1pm but you can leave your luggage in the luggage room while waiting. Bathroom and toilets are common on each floor, but one for each sex. I chose to get up at 6am so i can have the bathroom all to myself.
The only negative – it tends to be noisy at night before 11pm owing to chatting guests at the corridor so bring your own earpads.
Rubberneck or “The Peeper” is the most photographed statue in Bratislava. It is a helmeted man peering from a street manhole.
(corner Panska and Sedlarska streets)
Bratislava, Slovak Republic
No other city in the world has a statue sticking out of a manhole! Rubberneck has already lost his head twice due to careless drivers, therefore the city councilors decided to help him by erecting a road sign to warn drivers.
(from Bratislava Guide)
Caught a wedding photoshoot at the castle grounds
St Martin’s cathedral
A 15th century Gothic Church where 11 Hungarian kings and 8 consorts were crowned between 1563-1830.
Ludwig van Beethoven directed his Missa sollemnis here in 1835
Bratislava used to be a part of Hungary. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy from 1536 to 1783.
Art in the ruins
Bratislava is growing
Roof tiles in the old town
The bad and the good
Relaxing in the castle grounds overlooking the old town of Bratislava
If you can’t find the way to the castle, this pub can tell you which way to go
Ice cream is big business in Bratislava
The new bridge and the Bratislava castle
The former is also known as the UFO bridge because of the flying-saucer shaped structure. It is the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge in category with one pylon and with one cable-stayed plane.
The UFO restaurant on top
The tram which costs 1.70euros a ride
The main Post Office
Selling Palm Sunday branches
The narrowest house in Slovakia and probably in Europe
Out on a Love Leave
Statues of Bratislava
A war memorial statue of a man with a gun in one hand and a dead man on the other.
The Paparazzi statue hiding in a corner of a restaurant called “Paparazzi”
The Schone Naci is a bronze statue of a man who lived in Bratislava in the early 20th century. It is said that he was slightly mentally ill, passed by the streets of Bratislava in old but elegant suit and greeted every passers-by by taking off his hat and bowing to the ladies.
A French army soldier leaning on a bench on the Main Square and listens to talks of tourists and patiently poses for photos