Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A quick trip to Bratislava, Slovakia

My hubby and I went on a quick trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. The main purpose of this trip was to apply for my visa, which is a very time consuming process (will talk about later).  Anyway, it was of course the first time for me (and gG) to visit Bratislava, and there were again lots of things to learn about the country and its capital.

Bratislava is located approx. 130 km south of Brno, VERY close to the border of Austria.  It is one of the smallest capital cities in Central Europe but is full of historic monuments and culture. And as some people may know, the beautiful River Danube runs through Bratislava.

We arrived at Bratislava too late to do a meaningful sightseeing, but we had a chance to walk through the old part of town.  The old town felt even smaller than the one in Brno.  It only took us a couple of hours to go around the town.  We made the reservation at the hotel called Devin, which stands along the River Danube. From there, we walked towards north to the long and narrow park called Hviezdoslavovo Nam.  The park was just so cozy, charming, and beautiful.  There were a bunch of cafes and restaurants along the park, and people were enjoying the beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon with coffee, tea, beer, or wine.

We walked along the park for a while and headed west to visit St. Martin's Cathedral, which is a 15th century Gothic style church that stands high at 85m.  I heard 11 Hugarian kings and 8 consorts were crowned between 1563 to 1830.  On top of the tower, you see a replica of the Hugarian crown, which weighs 300kg.  The most amusing thing was the crypt outside of the cathedral. It said "Grof Palffy Csalad, Sirboltja" with the dates 1600 to 1845 on the tomb stone. Huh??? He lived 245 years???

Later that day, we went out for a dinner, walking towards the St. Michael's Gate, one of the four gates originally built in medieval era. This gate is the only one survived to the day. At night, it lights up, and you can admire its beauty from the outside seatings of cafes and restaurants on Michalska Street.

We went into a Slovak restaurant called Presburg on Michalska Street. We are getting very familiar with the slovak cusines by now, and we ordered our regulars: garlic soup (which was different from the ones we have been eating in Czech Republic and it was creamy), halušky (a bit different as well, and I do have to say I prefer the one we had at the restaurant near our house), kabab type of dish (we decided to go for it as we were semi getting tired of pork ribs), and a plate of pickled cheese (this is also one of my hubby's favorites).

Good food, good ambience, and good company - what else can you ask in life?

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