What we needed was a short stop to transform the long Krakow to Budapest train trip into 2 shorter, more pleasant rides. The city had to be an interesting, low-stress kind of place, that we hadn’t visited before. After a quick perusal of the map, Bratislava, Slovakia quickly became the easy choice, and after visiting, we realize it was the best choice.
Bratislava is small for a European capital, and its size is part of its allure. It’s been around since the 10th Century, and it has the required medieval gate (St. Michael’s) and clock tower.
The compact, historic district has narrow, winding cobblestone streets lined with historic buildings and churches.
But the city’s attractions aren’t all about old European tradition. Some of the most photographed sights in town are fun and peculiar sculptures like Cumil (The Watcher) peeking out from his manhole, and the French Army Soldier (looking a bit like Napoleon himself), leaning over a bench on the historical Main Square (Hlavne namestie) just in front of the French Embassy!
Every visitor who strolls down to the Danube can’t help but see the communist era “New Bridge”. This imposing, spaceship-like structure includes a restaurant called – what else? – the UFO (pronounced ew-fo).
We really enjoyed Bratislava. It was a joy to wander around a small, yet significant historic area, and not feel driven to work our way through the “must see” checklist. We marveled at small details, sampled some yummy local food, sat on benches in the sun, and watched boats on the Danube.
After a few weeks on the road, for us, it was a bit of decompression. And you long-term travelers out there know that recharging the batteries is never a bad thing.
James & Terri