Here we are, in Bratislava, definitely a place I never thought I would check out this year, but hey that’s what adventure is all about. Third country in a row with my wing man Chris and we are already looking forward to Budapest, because we have heard so many good things about it. But for now, it is Slovakia that we will explore quickly.
We arrived by bus on Tuesday 24th June early afternoon. Before leaving Prague, I got in touch with my friend Miro that I know from OZ but who was born in Bratislava. Despite not being in the country, he nicely offered me to stay at his and his sister’s place, so I gladly accepted. Chris was staying at an hostel downtown so we split for the time being but agreed on catching-up later. I took Miro’s direction and made my way towards the Castle with the trolleybus. As I got to his place, I was greeted by his mum, and not long after, I met the rest of the family: his dad, sisters, nieces and sister’s husband. They were all so nice to me, I felt really shy. We had a nice chat and then, after a nice shower, Chris and I agreed to catch-up at his hostel. Bratislava is very small and everything is a walking distance away from each other. In no time I was in the middle of the city, passing through the main street and then reaching the Blues Hostel. Some guests were watching the Soccer World Cup so I joined them while waiting for Chris to come back from dinner. Once he arrived, I also went to grab some food and then we chilled. There was a free blues gig happening within the hostel so we spent the night there, playing ‘Shithead’ (favourite card game I keep on showing to everyone who doesn’t already know it). To be respectful to Miro’s family, and despite having my own set of keys, I decided not to stay up too late and headed home early.
The next day, Wednesday, was the one full day in the capital city. Chris and I decided to join the free walking tour to start with and then see from then. I had a nice family breakfast with Miro’s sister and his two nieces, that keep on calling me ‘kamo’ (which mean friend in Slovak) and then I joined Chris again. The walking tour must have started around 10.30am or so, and lasted a good couple of hours. It was very interesting to know the little anecdotes of this city, for instance did you know that the tourism dropped by 75% after the release of the fictional horror movie ‘Hostel’ (that was supposed so happened in Bratislava)? By the end of the tour, we were all hungry and, as we met some nice people during the tour, we all stayed together, rushing towards a famous restaurant serving some traditional Slovak food. Once our feast was done, Chris and I headed towards the Castle to discover this historical site, while the others went somewhere else. I have to admit, the Castle is nice but a nit of a disappointment. Other than the nice view of the old communist part of the city on the other side of the Danube, there is not much to see. So our visit didn’t last long, enough to take some picture and plan our evening. We agreed to catch-up later on in the evening, for now, just time to relax and organise our next move, tomorrow, towards Hungary. At night, I joined Chris and the other guys at hostel Blues. There was a free cooking lesson happening, to make traditional Slovak dumplings with bacon. Every one was part of it, some were peeling the potatoes, other smashing them, the rest making desert, I took part of cleaning the whole thing. Dinner was really nice, we all socialised while watching some more football on TV. Few guys were coming back from Vienna and Budapest so they gave us some advise on where to go, what to do, etc. After dinner and a delicious desert, we all played some drinking game. Being too old for that stuff, I just ref the whole thing. A pub crawl was happening from 10pm and few and the guys went. I decided that midnight was late enough to go home, especially with two young babies in the house. But before leaving, we agreed with Chris, that we’d go to Budapest tomorrow.
After a good night sleep, I made my way to the bus terminal. I wasn’t sure what time was the bus and got the next one, late morning. Chris, too tired from the previous night decided to join me the following day. We talked about it for a while and this was finally happening, a lot of good expectation we had towards Budapest. I hope we are not going to be disappointed