Monday, November 28, 2011

Bratislava, Slovakia: A Travel Recommendation

Well, the Portugal mess did not clear up as we hoped. Our fight was indeed canceled and we missed a Thanksgiving weekend with our friends from London in sunny, 65F Porto Portugal. Bummer. However, A and I did manage to make the best of the situation by taking a road trip. Vienna has been high on our list since we got here. Gpa Martin always said how nice it was, so we had to go! This weekend gave us the perfect opportunity. It is a far drive, so we broke it up. First night, we stopped in Munich. There, we went to the Christmas Market, had some German food, German beer, sight saw (even though we've been there 3 or 4 times), and stayed the night. The next day we headed to Hallstatt, Austria, a small town I read about in a travel magazine. There we sight saw, had our 'Thanksgiving' dinner, and stayed the night. Day 3, we drove to Vienna, stayed 2 nights, but took a day trip to Bratislava, only a 1 hour train ride. Good choice me! Not only was the town cute, the Christmas market was going on and picturesque as always, and we got to go to another country we had yet to visit - perfect!

Bratislava is obviously catering to those visiting Vienna. The train ride was quick, cheap, and ran every often. The city itself was MUCH more crowded than I expected, I assume because of the ongoing Christmas market. When we got off the train, we were 1km from Old Town, which is where all the sites were. We were debating on taking the tram, which was free, but since we couldn't find the right one (seriously!) and it was still light out and only 1km, we decided to walk. The area surrounding the train station and the walk toward Old Town = a bit sketchy. I was not super stoked about having to walk back the same route in the dark, not to mention it would be uphill. I regret to say, after traveling for 3 years, I still have not learned my lesson and DID judge the city initally by the area surrounding the train station. Well, that was a mistake. The Old Town of Bratislava was very nice, very cute, very clean, and very safe feeling! Should not have judged! There weren't a million sites to see, but enough for an afternoon/evening with the BIG Christmas Market going on!

* To see in Bratislava: St. Michael's Gate, the castle, Old Town, the statues throughout the city

* To eat: Pierogis - typical Slovakian food - potato dumplings filled with different things, sauced with different spices. It is SUPER cheap to eat and drink here, especially compared to Vienna! Wash down the pierogis with a local brew!

* Public Transportation is great here, as well! I always appreciate that!

Old Town - set up with one of Christmas Markets

Cumil. Statues all throughout Bratislava with some sort of meaning. This one is a favorite of mine! He's coming out of the sewage!

Pierogi - typical Slovakian food - potato dumplings with some sort of sauce. Pretty good po man food!

The main tree in the second part of the Christmas Market, situated in the middle of a busy ice skating rink!

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