The Germans call it Pressburg, the Hungarians call it Pozsony and the Croatians call it Požun. For rest of the world it is Bratislava, Slovakian capital. A sleepy port along Danube, Bratislava is a medieval city with cobbled winding streets dotted with historic churches, red-tiled rooftops and 18th century buildings.
Bratislava is one of the easiest and cheapest to get to, non -touristy Schengen capital. ‘Non Touristy’ was good enough reason for me to make a day trip here from Vienna. There are a bunch of ways to get here from Vienna. Once could drive, take a train, or a bus or fly. Yes, FLY. The 2 capital cities are just 80 kms away but you can fly on Fly Niki.
I decided to wing it. Because I do not get to do that often. I need to visas to most places I travel which almost always dictates I have travel plans locked in when I request for visa. #NotCool. So, after a passable breakfast and some fantastic viennese coffee I walked up to the Stephenplatz metro station and took a train to Wien Hauptbahnhof. There was no train to Bratislava for next 90 minutes, I walked across the street and there was a bus leaving in 10 mins. It cost 5 Euros. Awesome.
The ride was un eventful.
Bratislava in the first glance would seem like Moscow or any other city with strong communist influence in the past. I mean, I literally walked into this obelisk pointing at sky when I stepped out of the bus terminal.
People stepping off the bus would not fail to notice the gigantic UFO floating above the Danube in a typical soviet show of power.
And, thats where I went. The 278ft “UFO” can be accessed for under 10 euros and has a restaurant, observation deck and restrooms with full length windows. I am not even kidding.
The view from here is nothing short of spectacular, you can see for miles. I got some food and a few drinks. At some point I thought I was drunk, but turns out the “UFO” just rocks when the vehicles pass by at high speeds in the bridge below.
At this point, I decided to walk past the old town to the Bratislave castle. Actually, if you look closely in the previous picture you can see the Castle at a distance.
Bratislava has a massive network of public transport which include trams, buses and trolley buses. A standard 60 minute ticket cost like 90 cents.
4G on my phone wouldn’t work for some reason. Luckily, a millennial waiting in the bus stop used google maps on her phone to find out what bus I had to take.
The palace is now converted into a museum and I am not a fan of museums. I spent rest of the evening strolling around the palace and enjoying the views.
It started to pour after some time. You could probably guess from the overcast in the last picture. I took shelter near one of the palatial gates. I ran into this lady from Connecticut. She went on a rant about how she and her husband have been taking a vacation every year to Europe for the last 17 years and have been to 12 countries. Geez, lady , either your math is off or you are not travelling right!
Anyway, after it stopped raining, I made it to the bus stop but with out a working phone, I couldn’t figure out which bus I had to take. Tried asking a couple of people but got blank stairs. Eventually, a 20 something Slovak-English girl came into the bus stop and was glad to look up on google maps for me.
I took late evening train for 15 euros and blissfully passed out until we pulled into Wien Hbf.