Today I finally awoke from my slumber to explore the city – after a couple of nights drinking in the many cheap bars (1euro for a pint!), clubbing on a fake beach next to the Danube (they also have a club in a nuclear bunker – at least if there’s nuclear war the Slovak’s have got their priorities right) and sitting around hungover all yesterday morning waiting for a delivery guy to come and collect my parcel.
Coming here from Vienna was well, eye opening. It’s completely different and it’s only 50km down the road. If you don’t include Vatican City then in fact Vienna and Bratislava are the closest capitals in Europe and second in the World. Both use the Euro currency but here everything is less than half price. The buildings are…eh…let’s just say it’s not world renowned for its architecture. The Soviets decided to destroy nearly all the old town, up to 70% and build new modern buildings (they had Prague to keep nice). But behind the ugly facade of boring buildings is where the character of Bratislava lies.
Slovakia has a long and complicated history and by the sound of things it has been rather unlucky with nearly all the decisions made before their independence in 1993. Except for the castle; it lasted a long time. Withstanding nearly all invasions. Only Napoleon’s armies managed to take it over – only to hire some Italian builders (the best in Europe at the time) who burnt it down whilst making dinner one night. The renovation was only finished last year – 200 years later!
There is in fact some cool stuff dotted around the city as well…
The second narrowest house in Europe (it’s actually a kebab shop downstairs – definitely the narrowest kebab shop in Europe)
Below is the old town hall. Just to the left of the second window up on the yellow building you can see a cannon ball. Left there from when Napoleon took over the city (I’m struggling to find interesting things here ain’t I)
There’s another thing. About 10km away they are building a bridge across the water. The government decided that it would be nice for the people to decide what to name the bridge (a testament to how open minded the people are here). In third place was the name of the nearby town with about 2% of the votes. Second place was Maria Theresa, an old Empress famous in central Europe, with about 12%. But the overwhelming majority of the votes – 81%, went to ‘Chuck Norris’. The really cool thing is, if it is named ‘Chuck Norris Bridge’, Chuck Norris said he will come here personally to open it! I like Slovakia already.