It was a cold dull evening as we pulled into Bratislava train station following our short journey from Vienna. It seemed rude not to visit the Slovakian capital considering it was just over an hour away.
After being overcharged by the taxi driver we dumped our bags in our hotel room and headed out into the city. Following the tram lines where old green trams trundled along carrying locals we soon reached a long straight road lined with shops, cafes and a small market down one alleyway.
Seeking out Slovakian Food
I never thought of Bratislava as place with a coffee culture but every other business appeared to be offering hot drinks, cakes and free wifi.
We found a quiet restaurant down a side road and went in for some local delicacies. I tried a potato and spinach dish whose name I cannot remember and even at the time couldn't even pronounce and I have to say it was delicious.
Calling it an early night we decided to get up early the following morning and explore the city in daylight.
Waking up to a misty Bratislava
So when I opened the curtains the next day I was a little disappointed to see a low grey sky and a hint of drizzle in the air.
We headed upwards to Bratislava castle that overlooks the city and had been illuminated stunningly the night before. It was just after 9 and the museum had just opened so we parted with €2.50 each and opened the big solid door into the castle itself.
What we saw was a disappointment to say the least; glass cabinets displayed a range of stone and metal objects with very little description. I think one described a "crushing rock", it could easily have been a pebble picked up on Blackpool Beach.
The second section open to the public had models, videos and photographs of the reconstruction of the interior and grounds. What they have appeared to have done is put in new flooring and re-plastered the walls and taken away the original appearance of the place.
Emerging back into the misty morning we were unable to see the giant viewing platform on the Danube Bridge so we headed back down into Bratislava.
The Quirky Statues of Bratislava
A highlight of Bratislava for me are the quirky statues that are dotted around the city centre. I'd read a little about them before our trip so it was my mission to hunt them down.
First up was Schoener Naci (Beautiful Ignaz), a polite gentleman who greets everyone with a tip of his hat. Just across the road was the sight of a head popping up from a sewer drain. This was Cumil (The Watcher). Easily my favourite I've heard he's lost his head once or twice by careless drivers.
Peeking around a corner not far away was Paparazzi who stands outside a bar with the same name. We missed the final statue of the French Army Soldier who sits in the main square outside the Town Hall as the Christmas Market stalls had surrounded him.
All of them are brilliant statues and every city should have some in my opinion.
Seeking warmth and booze in an Irish bar
Having explored everything that Bratislava seemed to offer in the morning we struggled to find anything to do to occupy the rest of the day.
We stumbled upon an Irish Bar, which I normally try my hardest to avoid but the allure of a roaring fire and hot whiskey on a cold winters day was enough to draw us into The Dubliner.
We plonked ourselves down right next to the fire and for the following four hours proceeded to play various card games and rack up a €50 bar bill.
We left the Irish Bar to the evening sounds of the nearby Bratislava Christmas Market where we gorged on sausage and mustard, chocolate pancakes and hot mulled wine.
Make it a day trip
I was a tad disappointed from what I saw in Bratislava yet at the same time glad I went. I'd be interested in seeing other parts of Slovakia to see how they differ. One thing I did love was the food, simple yet delicious.
If I was to make one suggestion; as it is only a short train ride from Vienna it would be perfect for a day trip.
Have you been to Bratislava? What did you think? What did I miss that I should go back for?