If you want to visit a less touristy country while in central Europe, just head to a quaint and quiet Slovakia.
We took a flight from Brussels to reach Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. With a city map in hand, we were geared up to explore the city. Oh yeah, before that, we had to attend to the cries of our stomach, and this led us to a restaurant; we ordered for a veg pizza and orange juice each. We were so ravenous that we gobbled our food up. We had cappuccino soon after. Well, when we were finally ready for the expedition, the rain clouds had gathered! Nevertheless, that did not dampen our spirits as we’d equipped ourselves to face the vagaries of the weather.
Bratislava did boast monumental buildings used primarily for commercial purposes. One such building housed the company Ernst & Young. We walked through the Old Town – the buildings took us back to the Austro-Hungarian rule in Slovakia. We got to see the palace of the President of Slovakia called the Grassalkovich Palace. We also took a peek at the gardens behind the Palace. As we walked ahead, the Old Town Hall greeted us. We stopped to look at the Primatial Palace built in classical style.
On the streets, we came across statues symbolizing historical people/events. One popular statue was of this man called Schone Naci who wanted to bring happiness to the local people. He used to be wearing a tailcoat and greeting passers-by with his top hat, especially in the Old Town. (We bought his little statue as a souvenir.) We passed by the Slovak National Theatre. The Hviezdoslav Square with its cobbled stones took us back in time. We then headed to St Michael’s Gate – this was from the medieval times where it used to serve as one of the entry/exit points of this place. Later, we spent some silent moments at the ancient Franciscan Church.
As we continued with our stroll, we came across stacks of yellow circular objects. From a distance, I thought they were tyres, only to realize in a few seconds they were gigantic Holland cheese. Ah, now I “say cheese” and there, I see you smiling. 🙂 It was time for a next round of refreshments. We visited a plush-looking cafe. The frothy and creamy cappuccino we’d ordered for, the lively ambience around and the customer-friendly price left us spellbound. Btw, Slovak is the national language; but luckily, the locals also spoke English.
Bratislava is a reservoir of caves and castles. We could see the Bratislava Castle (that overlooks river Danube) only from a distance. It was dark by then. However, the Castle looked extremely appealing thanks to the artistic lighting. We only wished we had more time at our disposal so we could have gone inside the Castle and enjoyed the beauty of it all the more.
It was time to bid adieu to a beauteous Braty. We took a tram to reach the station where we had to board our train to Vienna that night. As you must have guessed, I will next take you on a trip to Vienna. Until then, cheerio!