Almost as soon as I made it from Budapest to Vienna, it was time for the next stop on my Eastern European adventure: Bratislava, Slovakia!
I woke up in my Vienna hostel with bus tickets to and from Bratislava ready to go, but after telling a girl in my room about it, she decided to spontaneously join me as well. Stephanie is an American teaching English in Madrid, so we had plenty in common to discuss throughout the day. Plus, I think it made my mom happy to know I wasn’t just heading to Slovakia alone 🙂
Our Flixbus left at 9:15 AM and arrived at Bratislava at about 10:35 AM. We grabbed a quick breakfast and met up with our walking tour guide in the city center.
During the walking tour, we explored most of the big sights in the city, including the Main Square, street statues, Bratislava Castle, Michael’s Gate, Opera, and St. Martin’s Cathedral. More importantly, we learned loads about Slovakia’s history and culture. For such a young country, its nation has a very dense and complicated past.
Our tour guide gave us recommendations for lunch, so we headed to the Bratislava Flagship for some traditional Slovak food after the tour. I chose the creamy garlic soup in a bread bowl, while Stephanie went with the dumplings with cabbage and bacon. We also sipped on house-brewed beers and admired the decor of the old theater while eating.
Then, it was time for more exploring! We bought postcards and took a second look at some of the main attractions from the tour. We also made a point to see The Church of St. Elizabeth, a gorgeous light blue church in Bratislava.
While walking around the city center, we also watched part of a large movement in support of Ukraine. Amidst the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it was interesting to see how one of Ukraine’s neighbors was reacting, especially because of Slovakia’s complicated past with many of the countries in Eastern Europe. It seemed that this small and often overlooked country knew that it could just as easily have been them that was invaded by a giant superpower country, and therefore the people in Bratislava wanted to express their support for Ukraine and its people.
Our last stop before heading back to Vienna was the Sky Bar & Restaurant, a trendy Thai restaurant with an expansive view of Old Town Bratislava. Not only was the food incredible, but looking at the view was a truly perfect way for us to reflect on our day here.
While I did not know what exactly to expect from Bratislava and mostly just added it as a stop on my trip because of its close proximity to Vienna, I was very pleasantly surprised by my experience. The city itself is beautiful and far cleaner than Paris, and the people we met were enthusiastic about their country, as well as their culture. What a great way to see a new place and learn a lot throughout the process!
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