Bratislava and a stay on the danube.
I have been a bit bad, I started this blog as a way for family and friends to keep up with me and my friends as we went round SE Asia. I enjoyed writing and decided I would try and write about each holiday I went on. Unfortunately I decided for some reason not to write about a great little trip I took to Bratislava and Vienna.
Basically this means I’m writing about a holiday from 5 months ago, so there may be gaps in my memory but I’m sure I can recall most details and use my pictures to fill in the rest. So here goes!
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, a gorgeous looking country nestled between The Czech Republic and Austria, and probably overshadowed by both. In my quest to visit every country in Europe it was on the list and a cheap destination, made even cheaper by booking a one way flight there and one way back from Vienna as the two are so close.
This worked a year or so ago when we visited Sofia, Bulgaria and Istanbul, Turkey. It’s a good way of seeing two countries/cities on a 5 day trip.
The flight was uneventful and it was easy to jump on a bus from the airport to the outskirts of the city centre. From there it was easy as we took a tram down to the river where we were staying. I had booked a Botel, a hotel in a boat, as I thought ot would be a fun experience. As we walked along the riverfront we went past some lovely looking botels and I knew for 30 quid a night they weren’t ours. Our boat was moored up a couple of hundred feet from the main bridge into town with the famous UFO restaurant high up on the opposite bank! I had been looking forward to seeing it for years and it didn’t disappoint.
The location really couldn’t have been better and once we had checked in and Peter had been very silent on what he thought of the (very) basic room, we went off to see the sights. The weather was absolutely gorgeous with the sun shining and, after grabbing a coffee from a little vendor we crossed under the main road towards the castle that overlooks the old town.
We wandered up through small alleys and up winding steps, through the gatehouse and emerged into a nice shady park. We had a good wander through the trees and enjoyed some great views over the danube and towards the old town walls.
The castle itself is lovely and we climbed up to the main part before heading down the other side of the hill, circling the castle and having a quick toilet break/looking at dodgy art in the local gallery. As we wound our way down we found ourselves opposite the walls we had seen before and noticed a great little bar selling cheap beers. We had to stop and have a break, enjoying the lovely view opposite.
After just the one beer we followed the path back over the main road and entered the old town by a lovely church. The old town looks old and quaint, and some of the buildings were crumbling. We navigated our way to the main streets filled with restaurants and little gift shops.
Somehow we had managed to make our way to Michael’s Gate, one of the sights to see in our http://www.booking.com travel guide! We paid to go up to the top, up spiral staircases past historical artifacts until we reached the 360° balcony. The views were stunning, even with Peter worrying about the integrity of the floor.
After enjoying the view and getting some good shots we walked back down and continued to explore the beautiful old town. The nicest thing about Bratislava is that you can just wander and see random statues/monuments, old soviet era looking buildings and cute littoe restaurants or bars. The old town really has got a bit of magic about it as we encounted squares lined with outside seating, fountains in their midst and beautiful buildings in the background.
One such square, which was more of a huge rectangle, had water features running through the middle of it and trees lining either side. We stopped for an early afternoon bite to eat in one of the many restaurants. Enjoying the sunshine which made everything 10x better. The food and drinks were delicious and cheaper than in the UK.
After making sure we had seen the majority of quirks and hideaways we popped back to the hotel to get ready to go out in the evening. We had to time it well as we were going up to the UFO and wanted views of the city before nightfall. We crossed the bridge and found the entrance, paying the entrance fee as we weren’t booked in for a meal.
It was definitely worth it as we found our way to the very top, with amazing views and to top it off the sun was setting in deep yellows and oranges over the danuce as we stood and looked out over the city. Even though I had looked forward to it just because it’s shaped like a huge UFO this made it all the more special. We soaked up the atmosphere and when the view had been exhausted we went down to the bar and got two reasonably priced cocktails while the place vibrated with every truck passing underneath. It was a really enjoyable thing to do and the sun set in front of us as we sat and enjoyed the drinks.
Our plan now was to go back over the bridge and to a restaurant in the same big square from before. I forget the name but it had a lovely covered outdoor area and we sat and enjoyed a Slovakian wine with great food and a cool ambience. I think we spent loads on dinner even though it was well priced but we ended up getting 3 courses!
(Goat cheese panna cotta)
Lovely and satisfied we had noticed an ice cream place with a huge queue all through the afternoon and evening and made a mental note to go the next day. For now though we had heard about a skybar so we went up the lift and into a darkly lit bar, we sat down next to the window but couldn’t see loads. Once we had our drinks we went onto the balcony where it had started to drizzle with rain, once again the view at night was incredible. We were lucky with the amount of great panoramic sights we got to see in Bratislava.
A couple of cocktails later and it was back to the boat, listening to the sloshing waves beneath us we drifted off.