Day 7 – Sept 7, 2019 – Bratislava, Slovakia
Last year we had celebrated our anniversary at Prague and thats when we realised that Czechoslovakia was now split up into two countries – Czech Republic and Slovakia. Prague was the capital of Czech Republic and Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia. Totally by chance we happened to choose Vienna as our port of entry to Europe this year and Bratislava is just 60 odd kilometres from Vienna.
So we decided to celebrate our anniversary in Bratislava this year. We couldn’t get the cruise tickets from Vienna so we just took the train.
I did wear a new saree and wrote about it in a separate blog – The Anniversary Saree.
The train reached Bratislava in about an hour. We got out at the Hlavna Stanica station and for a few minutes were totally confused as to which way we needed to go. We had to reach a square called Hlavne Namestie which was the main square and all the day tours started from there. When we looked out, it was drizzling a bit, so first we got ourselves a coffee from a vending machine – there are several self-service coffee vending machines on your left as soon as you come out into the main railway station building.
I would not recommend this coffee because it was too sweet and looks like it was a pre-mix. Maybe we should have tried the hot chocolate instead. Anyway, we were unable to figure out which way to head out because we also didn’t have google maps ! So we went to the newspaper stand in a corner that also was giving out tram tickets. The lady at the counter didn’t speak English but we managed to ask her how to go to Hlavne Namestie square. She asked us if we wanted the all day pass or just the 15 min kind of ticket. We got ourselves the all day pass so that we could go up and down any number of times. She pointed us to where the trams started and we headed that way. I will be writing another blog with just details on how to get to Hlavne Namestie from Hlavna Stanica (railway station) because its not very obvious.
We got into the tram and that was a pleasant enough ride – I happened to notice an Indian restaurant near one of the stops and we thought maybe we could have lunch there.
We got off at the Nam SNP stop and when we looked across the road, there were a few tourists going into a lane. We crossed over to the square and asked a lady if she could speak English and she could, so she quickly told us how to get to the tourist information office and it is the lane next to the square that takes you to Hlavne Namestie. We went to the tourist office and of course everyone there spoke in English. We wanted to do the trolley car ride and the young lady at the desk pointed us to where these trolley cars started from. It was further down that lane. Off we went and on the way I saw these umbrellas suspended over a side street … some sort of art installation.
We got a ticket at the Hlavne Namestie square for the old town trolley car tour and got into one of them.
Its an audio tour and you have 21 languages that you can choose from and much to Krishnan and my delight Hindi was listed at No. 20. And you guessed it right – I took option 20 for the tour !
On Bratislava’s old town trolley car tour you get to see St. Martin’s cathedral, the coronation church of Hungarian Kings, old St. Clara’s church, the last medieval city gate – St. Michael’s Gate and several other sights but the audio tour goes by very quickly and its difficult to get pictures from the trolley car. So once the tour was done, we walked around the Hlavne Namestie square and clicked several pics. Missed a few churches and a few monuments but also saw several others that weren’t covered by the tour.
Right in front of this National theatre building is a sort of boulevard with another statue of the poet, dramatist and politician – Pavol Orszagh Hviezdoslav.
We kept walking away from Hlavne Namestie square and found ourselves near the Danube river.
On the way we saw a few other statues – a bronze statue of liberty and the memorial for the national heroes.
We crossed over to the Danube riverfront.
We then retraced our steps back to Hlavne Namestie square and got back into the tram to locate the Indian restaurant named Ashoka. We had our lunch there and met the owner of the restaurant as well, heard his interesting stories from when he had moved first to Bratislava, but that is a separate blog. We just walked back via a shortcut to Hlavne Namestie square to have ice cream and then got back to the station for our return trip to Vienna.
We will certainly be back in Bratislava for a more in-depth trip, because there is history, art, music and stunning buildings and sculptures all over this place. So much to explore !