We were thrown out of the bus like we were supposed to work on a farm. It was a little after 7am and after the whole night in the bus on our way to Prague we had mixed feelings about getting outside. It was cold, it was early and we were exhausted from the trip, but there was also a positive side. We have just arrived into a new city and could use some exercise and a cup of coffee. That last one was an absolute must and, as it turned out, the highlight of the city.
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. It is located on the river Danube, on which five European capitals stand. With the population of less than half a million Bratislava is the country’s largest city and also it political, cultural and economic center. It was originally called Pressburg and served as the capital of Hungary from mid 16th to mid 18th century. The city received its modern name in 1919.
We got out of the bus in the cold weather in front of the Slovak National Theatre. It is a beautiful Neo-Renaissance structure designed by two Viennese theatre architects. The street leading to the theatre is artistically paved and decorated with flowers. Their bright colors didn’t warm us up, they just reminded us that we should stick to traveling in the summer.
The medieval city center was greatly preserved. The squares and streets were dotted with bronze ulptures. These would have been interesting, but since they were the only human looking things in Bratislava they were kind of creepy. It was still early and we were almost the only people here and that was scary.
The main attraction of the city was the Bratislava Castle. Located on the top of a hill it’s a bit of a hike to get to it. When we arrived, the ghost-town syndrome of Bratislava continued. There was only one small group of tourists there on a huge plateau in front of it. The castle is magnificent with its four towers on each corner. It is said that when the weather is good, which obviously wasn’t our case, you can see both Austria and Hungary from the plateau. We could only see the New Bridge that crossed the Danube.
When we arrived back to the Old Town the shops started opening slowly. We found a cafe that seemed nice and we hit the jack-pot. Isn’t it awesome how great stuff just happens when you least expect it while traveling? The cafe had great fresh chocolate desserts and a lot of other sweet stuff. This made our freezing morning in the empty, post-apocalypse Bratislava much better.
Our visit to Bratislava was just what we needed. A break from a long bus ride with a great cup of coffee in a new place that wasn’t crammed with tourists. Although I personally think that there could have been more people on the streets (the city looked like it was attacked by zombie maids who cleaned everything up), we still enjoyed the quiet morning here.