Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Europe 1.09 - Bratislava, Slovakia

Actual date of this event: 1 November

One of Luke's requests for the trip was to take a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava. He had read that Bratislava is what Prague was like years ago before it became popular. And apparently you can get a beer for about 1 Euro. So the day trip to Bratislava was planned for Thursday.

The hostel workers are great about helping their guests with directions of their daily plans. We asked what the best way to get to Bratislava was and they told us bus because the the train stations were in construction. They said train was possible, but it would be a little more confusing. We decided on the train since Luke and I had EuRail passes.

We were leaving from a smaller train station in Vienna than we had arrived... many European cities have more than one train station. We knew we were going to have about a 30 minute walk to this train station, so we left early just in case something went wrong. Plus, it was raining and that always complicates things even more. We arrive to what we thought was the train station, but turned out to be a tram station. The name of the station wasn't matching where we needed to be, but we saw no other station in sight. We stood for about 5 minutes before knowing we were 100% wrong in our current location. We walked about a quarter of a mile around the corner and the construction and finally saw where we needed to be. We literally got on the train 1 minute before it left! Phew!!

After an hour train ride to Bratislava (the town is about 1/2 mile from the Austrian border), we begin our walk. A long walk of 2.5 miles to Old Town. We walked along a highway. Then crossed another highway. Then through the mall. And we finally reached the DANUBE RIVER! That's right, I finally got the see the actual Danube River! Are you as excited as I am? No? Well, hmf.

Left: walking along a major road in the rain
Right: some of the communist government housing

Right: The Danube River!

As we reached Old Town, it was still raining... and it was November 1st, a National holiday, All Saint's Day. The town was pretty much empty. Our goal though was to see a less impressive and well-known town, and what it has to offer.

And then after we were done with seeing the town, our goal was to visit the Slovak Pub, which was highly recommended by a Slovakian girl at Clark's shoes (yes, random) and Trip Advisor. Luckily, the pub was open because many places were not.

Slovak Pub is ranked #23 as best bars in the WORLD
We had lunch.

And had a few drinks.

And Luke was right... the drinks were cheap! 16-0.5L beers for 28 Euros!! Yes, please!

Left: Our lunch bill... 20.80 Euro per person ($26.45) - we each had lunch, 5 beers, an absinthe and 2 Jaegar shots

After staying there for a couple of hours, we thought it was best to leave for the train station. We knew that we did NOT want to do that 2.5 mile walk again, so we opted for the bus. We bought some bus passes and hopped on a bus. While on the bus, Dave started chatting with a guy who mentioned that we were on the wrong bus. Ugh! We hopped off at the next stop and found the bus that guy told us to take. We hoped on another bus and luckily a fellow American was on the bus with us. A guy from Colorado, who moved to Bratislava a couple of years ago after loving the town because his brother decided to move there (total hippie), verified we were on the correct bus. We all got off together, and he pointed us in the direction of the train station. Yay!

We had about 30 minutes to wait for our train, so we found a corner store and grabbed a snack and some beers for our ride home. While waiting in the station, we ran into a new friend, Marshall... whom Luke insisted I mention in the blog.

Anyway, Luke and I relaxed with snacks and beer on the train ride home while Jen was not feeling well at all. After all of the smokey places in Vienna, her sinuses blew up. She was pretty miserable for the night! I guess Luke's remedy for colds (drink a ton of alcohol until you cant feel your sickness anymore) didn't work.

We arrived back to the hostel and had a really early night. On Friday morning, we had to wake up at 4am for our 7am flight... to Zurich!!

Why do I love Bratislava? It has  potential! Its a quaint town that is probably a pretty happenin' place when it isn't a National holiday. If you were a college student, the place would be awesome! And apparently, it is somewhat of a college town. It's always fun to feel like your back in those days :-)

The largest concentration of paneláks (communist government housing) in the former Czechoslovakia and central Europe can be found in Petržalka (population about 130,000 out of 460,000 total), a section of the Slovak capital of Bratislava. Source



  1. You mean 5 beers, absinthe, and 2 jaeger bombs for lunch didn't cure her sinus infection?:) The pictures look great and in 10 years when Mandy Moore stars in a film about European travel that features Bratislava, you'll be able to say you knew about it first! PS. I hear Slovakia actually has some good skiing as well.

  2. Marshall didn't get the attention in this blog that he warrented, IMHO.


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