Bratislava of Slovakia is positioned 60 kilometers away from Vienna, as my mother said “just as close as our country house from our home”. How could we miss this chance of visiting another country, especially since it is so close?
I have never been in any of the slavic countries except, well, Russia, so it was interesting for me to see. On our one hour ride on the train Brian and I were trying to study language. I must say, that it is very similar to Russian, but written with latin characters, same way I write “runglish”. I could understand about 90%. I studied later, that when they speak, the percentage is lowering down to 20%. When having a conversation with sales people I understood quickly that it is better to speak English then Russian, no one seemed to be even caring to try speaking Russian to me, and it was not pleasant to them, but English is no problem at all, even welcomed.
When we got to the old city of Bratislava I could not understand why is it so lonely, one or two people would seldom pass us, it looked a little spooky, I was expecting to see a tourist place… Cute, but falling apart buildings, that were taken no care of for a very long time, some buildings are even closed, due to it’s condition and are there just to support walls of bordering houses. I was not sure if people live in that area. But we took 4 – 5 turns and everything got in their places, tourists were back in the game… And so did the houses wearing their best outfits. This makes me think, that tourist industry totally is a big support to the old cities, tourism encourages local people to restore the architecture to present it in the best way. Same story in China, Beijing, where I went last year, for example. Modern China was taking over the old one and when it was obvious that tourist want to see the old stuff much more then modern, little villages called “hutong” were preserved and now people who live in them must continue building the same way in those areas as they used to build centuries ago, government supports the efforts.
I love looking at the details of the architecture, and Bratislava has a lot of the detail. Fancy patterns made of plaster, stone or clay, decorative cornices, various ornaments, magnificent metal works, that is also very popular in Vienna; pointy rooftops… Buildings are painted different color: yellow next to blue, peach or pink with complementing white around the windows. Roads are all made out of stone.
When we got hungry, we wanted no other food but local. Unfortunately, the very center of the old town is surly field with touristy food, pizzas and tacos and fast food of different kinds. We went away from this nonsense and found a recommended place called “BARtislava”. There we got 2 different kind of dumplings, called “galushki”, shapeless little formations of the dough, served with sour goat cheese or with saurkraut and ham. We were recommended us sour milk drink, something like buttermilk, which was a good complement to the food. I also tried local infusions, one was made from red currant, lovely. Our platters were large and dough is very filling as you know, so we were stuffed. Brian though really wanted to try the desserts, so our waiter gave us the dessert menu, well, funny to say, there were the same dumplings but with sugar and… bigger. We tried a half-portion of the ones with poppy seeds. Now we wished nothing else but a bed.
We decided to go have tea/hot chocolate and relax. The chocolatier we went to offered various kind of hot chocolate, which was simply melted chocolate in my opinion, it was very rich and thick. There was a little glass of water and a little cup of really rich almost buttery whipped cream served with it. During my chocolate break I completed my cards to the mothers and was ready to send them. Alas, to find a mail box it is not an easy task. We had to go across the town for the 4th time to find a post office.
Since we went to Bratislava just for one day, not even a full one, we had to return back to Vienna…