Well, it looks like we are finally out of the Czech Republic and into Slovakia. Bratislava, to be exact.

First though, you should hear about our experience getting out of Prague…. The day before we were supposed to leave, we made sure to get our ticket out of town. How smart are we? Only problem is that we assumed we would be leaving from the same station we bought our ticket at… yeah, not so much. So, with only 20 minutes until our train left, we had to speed it hard across the city to the other train station! We made it, though, and somehow managed to find two seats on the jampacked train. Off we were to Bratislava.

Almost as soon as we arrived in the city, we realized we were really going to like the place! We checked into our Hostel, which is nice, and took to wandering the streets of Bratislava. We basically fell in love. The narrow, twisting streets of the Old Town just ooze charm (all pedestrianized, which we love) and once again I had his camera out and was clicking like mad. The night was warm, the people were nice and the mood was much more relaxed than Prague. Certainly a town up our alley.

One of the things that has really struck us about Bratislava, and its people, is that it seems to posses a type of pride and happiness that Prague lacks. The people here seem younger, hipper. Life seems to run through the streets and we feel happy to wander around in the evening, where in Prague we spent most evenings in the hostel. We were really eager to wake up and explore the streets in daylight.

Unfortunately we woke up to rain, but we werent about to let that stop us. We hit the streets and wandered, taking in more of the charming Old Town. After hitting up an Irish Pub (recommended to me by John at Grasping for the Wind), we took a daring tram ride outside of the city (at points we were worried we were leaving the place!), to find a bustling local festival about 25 minutes out of town. It was a riot! From the stalls offering everything from wine tasting, candy galore, corn on the cob, Buciak, hand crafted toys, and a group of Native American Musicians, to a carnival, to a bevy of drunk and jolly Slovaks, we had an absolute blast and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far!

On our second full day (the first consisted of the Street Fair and the Bratislava Castle) we headed up the Danube River on a boat and got off at Devin Castle. It is a huge, sprawling castle and ground, which was interesting to wander around at, though the wind was blowing something fierce. Like Bratislava Castle, though, the actual main keep was closed, so we weren,t able to go inside. So, we caught a bus back into town (boy was that confusing… just ask the group of british guys who were trying to do the same thing!) and things got… well, interesting when we got back into Bratislava.

So, we get off the bus in downtown and find the streets crawling with tanks, guys in miltary fatigues and several other kind of destructive looking vehicles. A little on edge, we wander around looking for somewhere to eat. On our way to a Pizzeria (our specialty), we hear a helicopter. Looking up we see several people jump from the helicopter and fling open parachutes over the city, heading more or less to where we got off the bus. Weird, we think, but whatever. We eat some Pizza and eventually head back to the Hostel, ready for bed. Laying in bed, reading, we are shocked to hear explosions going off near our hostel!

Of course, we rush to our window to see if we can tell what is going on… and see Fireworks lighting the sky! What I forgot to mention was that all of this was related to some sort of festival going on in Bratislava while we were in town! It seemed like there were a lot of important people around, and a lot of live music and celebration going on. Good timing on our part! You have no idea what you are missing until you see a Slovakian Disco/Pop band singing songs in English. It was a fun night.

Unfortunately, the next day we were on a bus and leaving for our next destination, Kocise (trust me, you are saying it wrong in your head….) The train ride out was… interesting. We were stuck in a compartment with two jolly, well-fed Slovakian ladies who wouldn,t stop talking, smelled kinda funky and insisted on pointing out EVERY CASTLE WE RODE BY (of which there are a lot!) It was a fun time, though, and there was another Slovakian fellow there with us who was very nice.

In Kocise, we stayed at a very nice Pension (above a Steakhouse). That night we ate at this hilariously cheezy Celtic Pub (Iordered a 1 litre mug of beer), which was so awesome that we’re going to make sure to go there again when we are in Kocise in a couple of days! Now, though, it’s time for us to head out of Kocise for a little place called Bardejov, a lot of which is a UNESCO heritage site.

I promise we,ll put up some photos as soon as we are able to, Eastern Europe isn’t exactly the most tech savvy place, but we have a feeling the next big hostel we stay at will have the proper stuff to let us upload them. I have lots of good ones, and can’t wait to show them to you all!

Aidan’s Random Facts

  • Being approached by a dodgy guy trying to sell Coke, Hash, Weed and Ecstasty on the streets on Prague is not fun. Really.
  • Food here comes FAST. Like scary fast. Like order, take a swig of beer and, before you can put your mug down, realize there’s a plate of food in front of you.
  • We saw a tourist who had his camera stolen. Oh, and his binoculars. His binoculars were stolen, too.
  • The Communist sprawl isn’t nearly as charming as you’d expect. Really.
  • It’s amazing how much someone can get done in 2 weeks. It’s hard to believe we’ve only been gone that long.
  • The head on mugs of beer here is huge. Like 3-4 inches. For some reason they really like it that way. Also, the pubs here usually only have a fraction of the beers they list on their menus. I have no idea what happened to the others.
  • John - Grasping for the Wind September 25, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Man, your trip really brings back memories for me. It looks like you had a lot of fun! Kosice is cool, I really wish I could get back there someday.

  • Jebus September 25, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I am dead-set jealous you bastard!