Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I just rolled into Bratislava and, man, are my wheels tired.

I took the train from Prague to Bratislava hl. st., and I did not fall asleep and miss my stop. The one problem with these European trains is that they do not do an obvious job of announcing the stops. I wish they had those little maps like they have on the airline seats, showing your exact location on the world map at that instant. It would let me know when we're getting close to my destination. Of course, I could've just written down the arrival time on a slip of paper and that would've solved the problem, but, hey, life's not always about choosing the easiest solution.

I got into Bratislava's main train station at about 8:00 p.m. (That's 20:00 for those of you preferring European, or U.S. military, timekeeping methods.) I thought the train station wasn't all that far to the Old Town. And a cab ride would have been 15 euro for a short jump. So I asked people to point me in the right direction and I rolled my giant heavy suitcase down the cobblestone sidewalks of a dark Bratislava wondering what I had gotten myself into.

Turns out it was a fairly far distance, maybe close to a mile, but it was a rather straight line. More importantly, given that I was rolling a very heavy suitcase, it was downhill. I would not have wanted to walked that walk, and rolled that roll, in the opposite direction.

My initial impression is that I am loving Bratislava. That picture above makes Bratislava look a little darker than it was. That's the castle in the background.

I'm having those "everything falls into place" moments that you have when you're in a great place to visit. When I got to the edge of the Old Town, and wasn't sure where my small hotel was, which I knew was going to be hidden off a small side street, I asked these two women who, turns out, were Brits who were staying at the same hotel, and who were walking back to the hotel, and the hotel locks up at 7:00 p.m. (although there was someone at the desk to check me in). And while the hotel is on an old, medieval street, the Hotel Michalska Brana is quite modern. My room looks great and is much more comfortable than my room in Prague:

I checked into the hotel and had dinner at a nearby Slovak pub, the Flag Ship. I need to go back and get some pictures, as the pub looked great, big and wooden and lots and lots of beers on tap, including a few Slovak beers. I had the beef goulash, which was your basic thin, peppery broth with pieces of what would've been tough parts of the cow had they not been cooking in that broth for days. Yummm. Eeeee!

I'm already regretting that I've only got one full day in Bratislava. And I already know I made the right decision in choosing Bratislava over Vienna for this intermediate stop between Prague and Budapest.

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