Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Once we arrived in Vienna, I somehow managed to convince my benefactors that we may as well take a trip to Bratislava since we're in the area. After all, according to wikipedia, Vienna and Bratislava MAY be the world's closest capital cities (barring, one assumes, Vatican City). Hell, I'll do anything for a maybe.
To our surprise, Bratislava turned out to be a charming little town. It's not remotely as magical as Prague, but it has that same vintage Europe feel, which is to say despite its cars and graffiti, it's really just a small historical town wearing big city clothes.
But since we only had a day there, I don't have too much to say. Lots of churches, all of them exquisite. The Catholic church actually had a First Communion ceremony that morning, so we saw a lot of dressed-up Slovakian chilluns milling around the entrance.
The real reason I wanted to visit Bratislava was for its castle, which is practically the archetype of medieval castles: a square base with round towers at each corner. But remember when I said Europe was under construction? Well that includes Bratislava Castle, currently adorned in charming scaffolding. Instead, we had a lot more time to just wander around the Old Town.
Having viewed the Danube now from three capitals, I confess that I preferred Bratislava's position the most. The bluest parts of the river I've seen snake right by Bratislava Castle. Still, the Danube has nothing on the Salzach or the Spree, am I right?
We enjoyed the market kiosks in the town square, which is also where I took that picture with a statue on a bench. I bought a neat sketch of the town on the cheap. I also considered buying gifts there--maybe scarves or corn-husk dolls (Bratislava specialities)--but then I reflected that buying Slovakian dolls, after having been to Berlin, Prague, and Vienna, sounds a little cheap. It's like touring all of Europe and coming back with some Bulgarian washcloths.
Nothing much left to say. Enjoy these last few snaps of picturesque Bratislava without all this annoying commentary:
Next up: Vienna