For 13 Euros you can buy a roundtrip train ticket between Austria's and Slovakia's capital cities. The ride is only about an hour.
On the train ride over, I heard a variety of languages. It was obvious my train was full of day-trippers, who like me, couldn't resist the chance to tick off another country from their global visit list. I picked up a few tips by listening to the Spanish couple behind me chatting about what they were going to see.
We arrived at a particularly unimpressive train station with a bright overhead sign welcoming you to Slovakia. Comprised of a few cafes and vending machines, this station in no way resembles its counterparts in other European cities. But who cares, no one comes to cities to see train stations anyway.
|Bratislava main train station, everything but tracks pictured.|
The tour guides had said that there are two options of stops for the city center. I decided to wait until the majority of my fellow tourists disembarked. Travel 101: follow the masses, at least someone will know where we're going.
Bratislava sure does give tourists a run for their money. After leaving the bus, we found ourselves by a busy highway, with no signs to point the way to the city center. We foreigners huddled together to devise a strategy. If you must get lost in a new city, it might as well be with 20 other strangers.
Someone had a feeling that the city center could be reached by crossing the busy highway on the overpass. Like sheep, we mindlessly followed and lo and behold, he was right! We walked together until we reached the main street in the old town and then nodded to each other before breaking off into our individual units.
|Entering Bratislava's old town.|
I had done my preparation on the city, as I always do, but found myself a little turned around without a map. All the articles I read about Bratislava basically said there were a few key items to see and the rest was enjoying a leisurely stroll around the compact center.
I spent the first hour or so wandering around aimlessly. Whenever I encountered what appeared to be modern buildings, I knew I had reached the perimeter and turned back inside the old part of town.
I went into a beautiful little church that I didn't know the name of and found relics from a Catholic martyr, including a mummified finger. I hadn't seen one of those since visiting the cathedral in Avila where Santa Teresa worked and lived.
|This beautiful Church that I still don't know what is...|
|Primate's Palace, previous home to Emperors, not monkeys.|
|For the win tourist pic.|
|Meat dumplings and sauerkraut.|
|Stolling around the Opera House.|
|Bratislava: the mix of old and new.|