In a trip when you decide on the far end it may reveals your main interest.when I was planning my Europe trip one of my first destination wanted to reach was Bratislava . when I checked distance from my entrance Amsterdam it was traveling almost 2/3 of Europe width.but still some charm just pinched me always and said I should be there .so rest is history.By now I have some amzing friends picked from there. Most beautiful pictures picked up, memories of crazy incidents faced and finally love to be there again as the beauty of city as well as beauty of those glamorous ladies there .
Here is my story :
Bratislava was a one boundry which separated so called west from east Europe in history .one hour away from Vienna one of the most acoustic city in the world and 1 hour awayfrom Czech border their good old friend , Bratislava is today becomes a good organised city attacked today by tesco s and all global business arms. It made city lovely but bit vulnerable , still I have found many a reasons to love for this little city . From it’s smily helpful people , cheap goods given me a glimpse of my own country sri lanka. Then it’s sophisticated transport system and expanded super market chain told me man you are not in sri lanka it is Bratislava.
There many a simple things I could recall happened first time in my life.
1. In my full tour for the first time I was being there at a hostel. First I tried to reach many a couch-surfers in the city but no one was positive while more than one acceptance in most cities. So my consideration to be in a hostel at some city made to be a reality . with all comparisons on in booking.com I found patio hostel as low as 7 Euro in a mixed dometry of 12 beds. but have not booked it as my heart said better tocheck place first and reach. So I reached for the first time to a city without confirmed place to stay .
Well at location it was only available 4 bed dormitory only which cost 11 euro plus 1.7 city tax. Not bad at all. Free laundry, free tea, free kitchen, and most importantly two 500 ml beers. I bat you will not find cheaper and better deal in heart of any famous city in the world.
2. It is a co incident meeting of that young one day friend scott .when I got into the bus in Vienna it was confused me by driver with saying I had to get off early from the bus as bus was going a other way to airport. I was confused and waited until last passenger as my luggage were asked to load last.
No option at last minute got into bus and found a seat in the back. I was the last to find a 2 seat set which was free . I was listening to some music , at the last minute to start the bus a guy came over with a small back pack and asked can I seat here . well I took my back pack off and he sat there comfortably . well, guy was introduced to me his name is scott .from USA . Formally a britsh born in USA.
Bus driver announced the passengers who goes to city has to get off from next halt and get 180 bus. Well I prepared all of sudden my seat mate told are you going to city , I am too. smiles.he joined me. Well god has made a friend for me.
At bus stop no change for me to get ticket. Well guy told don’y mind small distance let’s travel free. good partner in crime
At the bus I asked him where do you stay well no place for me as yet. My reply was not difeernt . are you aware of patio hostel. I have shown him location in google maps and in the bus from a lady we asked. She told us to get off from last halt and walk about 500 m. scott told he would join me too to see the location. In few minutes in a little drizzle we reached location. Receptionist was so pleasant. Lady shown me availability. 11 euro A 4 bed room. Not a bad option at all. I am ready. My answer. It is cheap. I also would like to join. His answer. Ha ha.. not bad. Also no city tax for him as below 26 years. So bad ..:(.
Then he became my travel partner. We travelled to other coner of city with out looking at any map. Just to north as we feel. So we felt hungry by bridge in river Daniyub so went parallel to river until finding a food stall. Then met the castel then turned right again back until reach out of touristic area . not that bad we have found big burgers (cannot say it is a burger at all as it was size of a submarine which I buy in sri lanka ) for 2 euro .
3. Once we reached the room only one bed was occupied . there were 3 free . iseleced one window corner. He went to the next .it is cool.Once we returned in the eveing we met other 2. It was one Japanese lady who was travelling to Prague and one other a professional traveller. Yep. You heard correct ; a professional traveller who left his job at age of 52 and sold everything and traveling now for last 2+ years .he was the knowledge base I was looking for. Out chat went high. From spain to bolcon, from Norway to turkey in Europe. So far his Europe achivements. But he is from Canada .his children grown. Separated from wife. No mobile number. So a free man. his experiences were exceptional . his routine travel agenda is reaching some country and live in the area at least for few weeks. Mostly he selected a remote area , obvious low cost . so he get something on lease for few weeks and lodge there .eat like a local, travel like a local, drink like a local and obvious getting into the life of a local .so he knew how to cook most local foods of those countries, use some slang language as well as genuine grammer which made me crazy. While travelling he was keep on earning. Getting some money through web devolopement and wtring to some blogs . those earning would ease him to cover daily expenses as well as travel. So still his savings are concrete .also he sends some money to sponsor some kids in poor countries. Do you ask me anything more from a professional traveller ?
At train station I found jumbo penuts which I love most. so I was thrilled told the seller about sri Lankan tasty nuts. Seller was really nice and knew little English . she wanted Sri Lankan money if I had. Lucky I had a 20 LKR note. She asked weather exchange rate to euro is 1to 6 . I laughed and told her no it is 1 to 150. She was wondered (later came across Czech koruna to euro rate is 1 to 6 ) .she offered me about 150 g of jumbo peanuts and some Slovakian sweets for 20 LKR. Lovely, thanks lady. So Sri lankans now don’t go there to Bratislava train station and try to find out that seller . J. She already got a Sri Lankan note 😀
Things to do
The massive rectangular building with four corner towers stands on an isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians directly above the Danube river in the middle of Bratislava. Because of its size and location, it has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries.
The castle building includes four towers (one on each corner) and a courtyard with a 80 m (260 ft) deep water well. The largest and tallest tower is the Crown Tower on the southwest corner. The 47 m (154 ft) tower dates from the 13th century and for approximately 200 years beginning in the mid-1500s housed the crown jewels of Hungary.The exterior walls and inside corridors contain fragments of old Gothic and Renaissance construction elements
2. Slavin Memorial
Slavín is a memorial monument and military cemetery in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It is the burial ground of thousands of Soviet Army soldiers who fell during World War II while liberating the city in April 1945 from the occupying German Wehrmacht units and the remaining Slovak troops who supported the clero-fascist Tiso government. It is situated on a hill amidst a rich villa quarter of the capital and embassy residences close to the centre of Bratislava.
3. Apollo Bridge
It is located between the Starý most and Prístavný most Bridges, a site which allowed almost perpendicular bridging, resulting in the shortest possible span.
Construction of the bridge began in 2003.The bridge was opened to the public on September 5, 2005. It is named for the “Apollo” (modern successor: Slovnaft) oil refinery which was situated on the left river bank in this area before World War II. Its curved lines, inclined arches and virtual absence of right angles make the geometric shape of the bridge very sophisticated. In an unprecedented maneuver, the 5,240-ton steel structure, spanning 231 metres, was rotated across the river from its construction site on the left bank into its final position on a pillar 40 metres from the right bank. The Apollo Bridge was the only European project named one of five finalists for the 2006 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award (OPAL Award) by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
4. Walk along side river Daniyub
In our walk we were headed towards river Daniyub. Then walked along .what a fun.amazing senaries from appolo bridge. Then few more bridges, some river side restuarants .then lovely music .it carries cycling paths to waking paths. Also the war memorial. Then you would head to all famous Bratislava castel .on top of mountain you may see senaries of all over the city .
5. Presidencial Palace
The building was finished in 1760, by architect Anton Mayerhofer for Hungaria aristocrat Antal Grassalkovich, a close friend of Maria Theresa. It features many rooms and an impressive staircase. The chapel is decorated with frescoes by Joseph von Pichler.
After its reconstruction in the early 1990s, on 30 September 1996 the palace became the residence of Slovakia’s president. Its once-large gardens are now a public park, complete with a statue of Bratislava-born composer Jan Nepomuk Hummel.
5. The Martin’s Cathedral
St. Martin’s Cathedral is a Catholic church , and the cathedrll of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bratislava. It is situated at the western border of the historical city center below Bratislava Castle. It is the largest and one of the oldest churches in Bratislava, known especially for being the coronation church of the Kingdom of Hungary between 1563 and 1830.
From Bratislava I first entered to Eastern Europe. But today we cannot say east is any more there. Yes colors of west dominates so badly there .but qualities of east are still in live and you can see some humble actions of people still make to love it .no matter how badly you need to be in europe bratislava and slovakia are places not to be missed .they have colors values and trust which west cannot be compromised with anything . so I am here and need more time here. But Brno is waiting for me. All expected snow started. Let me run..!!