I decided to go to Bratislava, which is Slovakia’s capital and one of Europe’s touristic cities. It is situated in Central Europe, so it has a history of different nations crossing each other here, making it a mix of cultures even since very early times. After World War II, the balanced changed as more than 90% of the city’s inhabitants of today are Slovaks. The language spoken here is Slovak, which is part of the same family as Czech. Did that make it any clearer? Czech is a language that has many consonants and signs on their letters.
In order to go to Bratislava, I had to take a City Shuttle train from the Hauptbahnhof in Vienna, Austria. The Hauptbahnhof is still under construction and I have been told it is planned to be one of Europe’s biggest railway stations.
There are many people on the train, even though not as many as I would have expected. There are sixteen trains going back and forth between Vienna and Bratislava every day and when you buy a ticket, it is also good for public transportation for a day in the Slovak capital. I’m not sure what it’s going to be like at the border, but I imagine I’m not going to be asked for my ID.
I have never been to Slovakia or any of the surrounding countries before (the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia etc), so I don’t know what to expect.
The journey lasts about one hour from the Austrian capital to Bratislava.
There are some tourists on the train as well, so I’m not the only one. I don’t like to call myself a tourist, let’s say a traveller. Fine, tourist is OK too. By looking out the window you can really see these people like to work a lot. After Simmering, which was the first stop, I saw many cranes, many constructions and many new buildings. Interesting how nobody asked for my ticket, I could have ridden fraudulently one station. I noticed a few days ago that I has some Slovak Euros. For those of you who don’t know, many countries in Europe have the same currency, called the Euro. However, each country has different-looking Euro-cents, which are the coins. Even though they are different, you can use them in any country that has the Euro or change them in countries that do not.
On the way, there are many, you guessed it, constructions. I also saw a bunch of wind turbines, which are a very Austrian thing.
Minutes later, you are in Slovakia (nobody asked for my ID), where everything is a little different and in Slovak language.
This city is red and punk. It is really a bright city with a population of a litle over 400 000 inhabitants. I visited the Hrad castle and saw the panorama of the city. I then walked around and enjoyed it, but got lost, so I had to follow a tourist bus to get back to the city’s center. It is a very nice city, unlike Bucharest which is dirty and dangerous. I’ll admit, I got lost again and asked for directions, but people don’t much speak English here. Or at least the people I talked to.
Enough fluffy tourist. Now I’m going to the real Bratislava. I took a bus because my ticket had public transportation included.The bus was supposed to take me downtown, but I got lost even more. But I didn’t mind it, because it’s a nice city with nice people. or at least this is how it appears. I finally got to a place I had seen before and took it from there. And I have to say it worked, as I finally got to the historic center.
Even though Slovaks claim in their city guide that Slovakia is a blooming democracy, I’m sure they struggle with the remains of the communist regime, as the country, which was united with the Czech Republic and named Czechoslovakia, was under USSR rule until the big year of 1989. To me, even though they had a hard time, it appears as if they did their best.
I also noticed that they have beautiful words. If you take the time to look on the walls, you can see their beautiful words. To me, they seem to be like miniature melodies.
And then, besides the bridges, I discovered the boats. The boats on the Danube… You could build me a house there. The sun was making the water spark, and the soft air made it perfect to take pictures. There’s a lot to see in Bratislava, but my day came to an end. I took a bus to the train station, which they call Hlavna Stanica. All the streets here end in the the letters “ska” or something. I bought lunch from a supermarket and walked around the town.
I’m ready to go, even though I would have stayed longer, to be honest. I am getting on the train which comes at track 1 and cross the border the second time on a day. Breaking the border would be better said though.