Bratislava - 27 to 30 December 2015
Waking up with a very sore head after only a few hours’ sleep from the wild antics from our last night in Vienna we checked out of our Airbnb and headed to the central train station. We had a train booked to get over to Bratislava for three nights. We had heard mixed reviews about Bratislava though we wanted to just drop in to check it out while we were in the area. In hindsight, we should have gone to Budapest.
The train was pretty basic and being late December, it was freezing! I was rugged up with all my winter gear. I tried to get some sleep on the train but that still didn’t help with the headache.
We arrived in Bratislava to a very basic train station and lots of men heckling us for a taxi. We opted to walk to our backpackers which wasn’t too far away. Looking around we also noticed there were a lot of bullet holes in the walls of the station so were pretty keen to get out of there quickly.
We checked into our backpackers and headed out to buy Phil some new shoes. He had only brought one pair of shoes on the trip and they were a brand new pair of R.M. Williams that he had just purchased. After a few days in Vienna, he was getting blisters and could no longer walk around in them. The problem was he requires size 14 shoes and being in Bratislava this was not going to be easy.
The adventure began!
Being a small city and the 27th of December there were not many options available to us. We hit up the local shops in the city which only had a maximum size 13 shoes. Phil tried them and surprisingly they were all too small, or just horribly ugly…Johnny and I enjoyed the running commentary as many of the salespeople didn’t speak much English and their shock on their face when Phil tried to ask for size 14 was just full of entertainment for us!
At least by exploring the city for shoes we got to see some of the sites of the city, like the UFO restaurant on the bridge and Bratislava Castle.
We were advised there was a large shopping centre on the other side of the river, similar to a Westfield and that they had more options. We headed over the bridge and despite the cold weather, I was slowly starting to feel better. My eyes were actually looking round again!
It was getting late in the afternoon and many of the shops were closing. Phil just had to make a decision, this was turning into an extremely painful afternoon of shoe shopping for a pair of shoes that didn’t exist in Bratislava. Phil decided on a pair that was slightly small but had some give to just get him through until we were back in London!
With the afternoon nearly over we went up to the UFO restaurant for a beer and view over the city before heading back to the backpackers. I crashed early as still not feeling my best and could use an early night.
After a nice sleep in and not needing to rush in the morning, I was feeling much better. We wondered into the city for breakfast and to just take in the old town. There were some Christmas and New Years markets open, though very basic compared to what we usually experienced in Germany, London, and other Christmas markets we had been to.
That afternoon there was a walking tour that then turned into a pub crawl. We knew a few of the other backpackers that were going along so we joined in.
The old town was pretty small so we covered it off pretty quickly on the walking tour. It was interesting to learn some background on Bratislava and Slovakia. We explored Bratislava Castle, St. Martin’s Cathedral, and Michael’s Gate. We also learnt about the local liquor Tatratea, it was a herbal tea mixed with concentrated alcohol that warmed the soul during those long winter months in Slovakia. It reminded us of Jägermeister. It came in three (3) different alcohol content levels, 35%, 55%, and 65%. Weirdly the strongest just tasted so much better, so we picked up a couple bottles.
The pub crawl started to take shape and we were having fun meeting the other people from the backpackers and a few locals along the way. Seeing as we were pretty tired we called it a night despite everyone else kicking on. We wanted to just get a good night sleep in before Prague and New Years.
We were realising that there wasn’t much to do in Bratislava during winter so we took the opportunity to use our last day to just relax and keep warm. The winter weather was pretty brutal so it was nice to stay inside with just the odd trip out to get some food. With the other backpackers taking a similar approach to us the drinking games began. Kings Cup, cards, and other games flowed until we learnt a stupid but funnily enough a fun game called “pass the bottle”. It was a very simple game where you passed a bottle though had to say certain things to whoever you passed it to and they had to respond in a particular way as well to accept the bottle. If you messed up, you drank.
It went like this:
Person holding the bottle: This is the bottle
Person receiving the bottle: The bottle?
Person holding the bottle: Yes the bottle
Person receiving the bottle: ahhhh the bottle
Then continue to pass the bottle around to people playing the game.
It was soo silly but after a few beers and shots of Tatratea the game was hilarious!
The next morning we were up and packed ready for a new adventure in Prague. Bratislava was fun to tick off, discover Tatratea, and buy some undersized shoes for Phil though other than that it didn’t offer us too much for us re a travel experience. We met some fun backpackers but it was time to move on to Prague! We were so excited!
We had a flight booked to Prague so we made our way to the airport.