Geography quick quiz. Where is Bratislava?
When I first thought about going to Bratislava, Slovakia, I’ll admit that part of it was to add another country to my list of visited places. Technically, I was already there as the bus from Krakow to Budapest went through Slovakia. We even stopped at a gas station, which allowed me to actually pee in Slovakia (and what a relief–in more ways that one–that I didn’t have to pay to do it, unlike Poland where you have to pay just about everywhere to relieve yourself.). But I didn’t want to count it. Just like I’ve never been to Colorado or Georgia, even though I technically had layovers at the Denver and Atlanta airports.
So, with a train ride about 2.5 hours away and a round trip price of only about 24 dollars (compared to my upcoming one-way 40 minute train ticket from Geneva to Lausanne), I figured what the heck. With the Budapest-Keleti train station under massive renovations, it was a little stressful figuring out how to buy a ticket.
There were the standard ticket machines, the ones that don’t take American credit cards, just before the signs saying tickets required beyond that point and no signs for a ticket office. Well, rebel that I am, I went past the signs and finally found the ticket office. Much like my first trip to Europe 24 years ago, the ticket was written out by hand. By hand!
Bratislava is actually quite beautiful and quaint, at least in the historic centre. I didn’t explore much of the city center as it didn’t seem all that interesting. Plus, it was drizzling pretty much the entire time. Just enough drizzle to be really annoying.
I had a typical Slovakian lunch (read: heavy) of pork stew and dumplings:
And then worked it off by climbing up to Bratislava Castle (Hrad). And it’s a pretty steep climb. Usually the hard part is going up. And while that was no picnic, it was coming down that was so tough as it was pretty steep and you really feel it in the knees.
And then there’s this:
And then I called it a day.