Thursday, April 2, 2015

Bratislava: ein einzigartiger Halt // A Unique Stop

March 22, 2015

We only had a few hours to spend in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, but it’s such a small city that I felt we had enough time to see it. As with the other cities we had a city tour, this time much shorter than the one in Budapest and with a better tour guide. She was born and raised in Bratislava and her love of her home city was evident through her tour, though I can’t say the history of the city is the most interesting as little has happened there, especially after everything we heard and saw in Vienna and Budapest.

Bratislava is quainter than other cities I’ve visited, and its charm is in its size – any bigger and it would feel gimmicky. The old city center has many old buildings and sites, including the second thinnest apartment in Europe, which is now a kebab stand only open at night. One of their favourite past events in their city square was George W. Bush giving a speech there a few years ago. A bronze statue of a man sticking out of a manhole is on the corner of a popular street and he now has his own “Man At Work” sign (in English) because his head has been knocked off twice by people driving their cars over him. Much of the town feels this way – short, slightly ridiculous stories about each little site that gives the city a chance to stand out from its much larger neighbours.

We only had time for a quick look around the city and a stop to grab food. We ate at a little place called Narnia Pub, loosely modeled off of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. The decorations had lions in all the designs and the hallway to the bathroom had a mural of a boat resembling the Dawn Treader. Needless to say, I had quite a childlike excitement for the restaurant. I ordered Strapačky s domácou slaninou a keyslou kapustou (gnocchi with bacon and sauerkraut), which sounded like a strange flavour mixture but was actually delicious.

Narnia has alligators 
We met back up with our group at 6pm and left Slovakia for the horrendously long drive back to Germany. It was a fantastic weekend and I got to check three more countries off my list of places I've visited, but after being on the go constantly for three days I was ready for a few days of calmness in Mannheim before spring break started the following weekend.

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