Bratislava is a place I’ve wanted to visit for some time, but it’s somewhere that has taken me a while to get to. It has held a special place in my heart for a while now for reasons I don’t want to share here, but I am very grateful to have finally visited.
Lucky for my friend Maya and I, I have a kiwi friend Adie, who is currently living in Bratislava. Adie offered to meet us on our first morning to introduce us to some of his local friends, Sasha and Martina, and show us the sights. This was a better offer than we could of hoped for, and made for a brilliant day.
After meeting at the markets having just had breakfast, we were immediately plied with food including traditional potato pancakes with goose fat and Slovak strudel with cherry and poppy seeds. We also tasted some Slovák wines and sat down and shared some wine and cheese at 11am! I can’t say I was a fan of the pancakes but the strudel, wine and cheese were all delicious. Next we were off to explore the city including the famous blue church, the castle and various other places along the way. Lucky for us, we got a sprinkling of snow much to our delight, although not enough to settle.
After several hours of wandering the city and sight seeing, we finally sat down for some food. Not that we were hungry again yet! I enjoyed some local beer, tradition Sauerkraut and pork sausage soup and also shared some potato dumplings with sheeps cheese and bacon. Next up we all shared some Slovák spirits in Pear, cherry and plum which were very strong. After a final coffee and cake with Adie and our new friends, we went our separate ways.
Having a friendly face and some fantastically fun locals to show us around for a day was a lot of fun and very informative. Absolutely an experiment O want to repeat and hopefully a favour I can return.
The rest of our evening was simply relaxing and having some dinner before an early-ish night.
On Sunday Maya and I were hoping to wake up to some snow, but all we got was a very little bit. Oh well. First on the agenda after breakfast was Devin Castle a little out of Bratislava, which looked like a great set of ruins from the outside but were unfortunately closed. We did manage to climb onto the icey roof of an abandoned building for a bit of a view and also got some sort of attempt at snow. After Devin Castle we made our way to the Slavin Monument, built in memory of the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in WW2. As the monument was right up on a hill, it was all covered in snow and still snowing quite nicely when we arrived.
After exploring the monument we made our way back to the old town for some warm tea and a healthy lunch, and some time to relax. This then left time for one more item to be ticked off the list, climbing the tower inside St Michaels gate. This is the only surviving city gate of the old city as the rest were knocked down to allow the city to expand. The view looked out over old town and the castle, but also showed off the varied architecture of Bratislava. It is a very strange mix of historic, communistic and modern, all jumbled in together.
After the tower we were off to airport for our delayed flight home.