Self Guided Bratislava
I AM the Tour Guide Extraordinaire! Well with the help of Atlas Obscura and Maps.Me populated with bookmarks of what to see. I dispensed with the umbrella or flag. And I didn’t have to chase my tour group along or count heads. There were only 2+2. The +2 were on leads so had no choice but to follow.
I know it seems lazy to drive the 1.2 km to the bus stop from the campsite. But we expected to be foot weary at the end of the day. And that last km is always the killer. Pay on bus. CO2 half price. Muzzled but actually forgot on return and no one blinked an eye. All of EUR6 one way for an hour journey for the 5 of us. I later googled what a Bristol to London day return is … £80 off-peak to £176 peak. Kerstin was staggered. It would have been crazy to drive. And it was interesting watching the folk alight … various bus passes. Some eligible for a discount. Others no fee. And we noticed the national genealogy traits of high cheek bones and pale skin. Not that we are generalising, but we are!
Muzzle (unnecessary) and wedged in!
When we alighted, we were unimpressed. Architecture is a thing and it seemed all very Communist. Blocks. However, the old town with its shabby chic Austro Hungarian buildings was lovely. Like a different world. Worth a day trip, but not a weekend. Unless you want to scrutinise all the museums in detail?
First stop was the TV / Radio building. Once voted one of the ugliest buildings in the world. Being worked on and effectively sanitised. Shame, as I liked the rawness of the rust.
Great abseiling job.
Largest city fountain and Freedom Square built to remember freedom from Communism … surrounded by (some high rise) buildings from the Communist area. The fountain is the Linden flower – symbol of the Slavs. Largest open city space. Uninspired.
An Atlas Obscura … Skater girls and a real post box.
Camil the sewer worker … on a kerb. Apparently responsible for a few damaged cars.
The New Highway completely destroyed the old Jewish Quarter and the Fish Market. I googled the UFO restaurant as a possibility for lunch but stupid money.
View of the Danube, the UFO and the surrounding tower blocks from the castle. We didn’t go in … as rebuilt relatively recently and CO2 unwelcome.
Also from castle. Check out those high rises … they are EVERYWHERE And still being built. Has no one read the erudite papers on high rises and mental health?
Charmed by the shabby peeling Austro Hungarian architecture of the old town … but even MacD here.
Town Hall … with …
… a Bonaparte cannot ball still lodged. Still amazes me how far east he got.
Not a cocktail but a fresh fruit lemonade … yum. We developed a taste for these. Raspberry, forest fruits, citrus and even lavender.
We (I) have misplaced (lost) J’s beard trimmer so J went for a head and chin chop. K and I used our time usefully. 3 for the price of 2!
The Blue Church. Modern C19, but I liked. Grammar school next door by same architect.
Tour Guide – digital!
Nitra Nice But … Trnava Nice No But
Bit of a long drive to the furthest point Nitra and it was far too long a drive for what was there.
Drove through several KM of what must be the largest central European logistics hub. Impossible to get a pic of the scale of it. We saw box pre fab new builds with flat roofs for the workers advertised for sale @ EUR starting 249 … property is NOT cheap here.
K and J took a look at the small walled church and a few buildings (castle – small!). I can’t remember what they said about it, so it can’t have been memorable … I didn’t go in. We all had drinks and cake on a terrace listening the Radio Swiss Jazz … smooth easy listening which is now bookmarked on my radio app. All agreed this was the best part of this town.
We moved onto Trvana. I’d found an app. Did I mentionI was tour guide extraordinaire! A self guided walking tour. Much improved once I realised I could play the text rather than read it. Slightly dry humour in some comments, so good. Trnava was the first Slovak free town and still is. The Town Council had the foresight to build the walls wide to allow growing room, so they are still intact. And interestingly made from brick as the right sort of soil was available locally … must have been a huge production as there are a huge number of bricks in this huge city wall. First and best university in Hungarian Empire. Until Empress Marie Therese in about1770, had it moved by barge and road (lock stock and barrel – science labs, books etc) to Buda, her capital. A new Uni was only established in the 1990s. Now this was a town we could recommend for a weekend away. Very mellow with more shabby chic Austro Hungarian buildings, but sense that it was loved and lived in.
Kertsin climbed the bell tower and suffered the bells ringing … J and I repaired for ice cream and a lemonade (for some of us!)
Castel Cerveny and Modra
The Red Castle (although nothing red about it!) is a major tourist attraction (isn’t everywhere in the advertising?). K went in on a timed ticket … had to join a 75 min Slovak tour but was given an English paper with limited info. She had to pay and extra Euro for this. And we’ve been aware that non Slovak speaking tours are few and far between and you pay extra. In fact, not many non Slovak folk touring / exploring at all.
Whilst K toured, J and I walked and I climbed the mini tower for a view of the courtyard. The Fuggers and Palfri family owners used the underground caverns as stores for their traded goods and copper from their mines … protected largely from the Ottomans by the castle fortifications.
Lavender lemonade this time .. and cake!
Castle Cerveny courtyard
O with an unfeasible large stick. Calf / shin basher.
Quite a complex.
And so onto Modra. Billed in the guide book as the home to the best red and white wines. Hoped it was better than the supermarket Modra red I bought the other day that I was reluctant to even cook with! We stopped outside Modra at a wine sign … had a tasting. Nice whites @ EUR4/bottle. Apparently the reds are rubbish … well that explains the supermarket trash. Came away with 4 bottles for the 3 of us. Chap also made and sold patisseries. So K bought 4 cakes … for the one of her!
I looked at the Majolica Pottery. Very predictable, so no purchase. Would have liked to take pic of the 3 signs on the wall … each with a clock … London, Paris, Modra. The fourth sign had had its clock removed … Russia. Does the Ukraine invasion mean Russia has lost it’s time?
Early supper in Modra was a mistake. Modern gastro joint with over inflated prices … obviously the place to be seen! Note to self … get the chap at the Tourist Office to write down his restaurant recommendations, so you can find it later!