Our European Odyssey

This blog covered our month-long trip to Eastern Europe -- specifically the countries of Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bratislava's (Un)beautiful Block Buildings



We've seen remnants of Communist rule in Eastern Europe over the past month, but nothing like this. These concrete slabs masquerading as apartment buildings are packed into the outskirts of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We saw these eyesores in the other countries we've visted but never in such great numbers. They have no beauty; they're just horrid.

Also an ugly Communist remnant is New Bridge with its UFO-like topper. In the background are nothing but the cement apartment buildings.



We are actually staying in one. When we got off the bus and realized this, we were a bit leery. But the husband and wife we are staying with have furnished their apartment very nicely. Our bedroom overlooks a beautiful red field of poppies. (Our hosts were quick to assure us that no one is making heroin around here.)

Although their apartment is the nicest and cleanest we've stayed in, we unfortunately didn't know beforehand that they're heavy smokers. We hope we don't reek too badly.

Last night we watched the U.S. get crushed by the Czech Republic 3-0 in the World Cup. Apparently, Czechoslovakia's split wasn't too divisive because our host had to restrain himself from rubbing the score in our faces too much.

Despite the lifeless Communist-era buildings, Bratislava has a very nice Old Town. We started our day by strolling past several of the city's whimsical statues. Andrea had fun embarassing Jake by making him pose. He tried to embarass her back, but she's happy to ham it up for the camera (including by playing the part of the paparazzi, like the statue).







After that, we visited Bratislava Castle. We're not sad to say we won't be visiting any more castles high atop hills for a while.



We checked out the exhibit inside the castle, including a temporary one from Italy on Leonardo Da Vinci. It was about his inventions and scientific drawings, not his art. We saw copies of his drawings along with notes written in his backward handwriting style. We also saw models of some of his inventions, including his flying machine and an underwater breathing suit. The exhibit was obviously sponsored by several European companies because mixed in with the Da Vinci stuff, we saw displays that were little more than advertisements, such things as "What do Leonardo and BMW have in common?" Capitalism at its best...

Next we climbed St. Michael's Tower for the views of the castle, Old Town and the breathtaking Communist apartment buildings towering everywhere.



All the climbing left us ready for lunch. We headed to Slovak Pub, recommended by our hosts and our guidebook as a good, cheap place to get authentic Slovak meals. "Cheap" might be an understatement. We paid $10 for two entrees, an appetizer, two drinks and the tip. Eating is easy on the pocketbook here.

Jake ordered dumplings with bryndza (Slovak sheep cheese) and sausage. Andrea tried the pierogi stuffed with meat and served with a cream and bacon sauce. Jake couldn't resist trying the "fat" bread with lard and onions. It was OK but nothing like the lard we enjoyed in Warsaw. To drink, Andrea had a red wine, and Jake accidentally ordered the Slovak national soda, which is a cola-like beverage with a licorice aftertaste.

After filling up on our traditional Slovak lunches, we visited the Primate's Palace. Unfortunately, it was no monkey's mansion, just a former palace of the archbishop. We had read that it is the most beautiful palace in Slovakia. If that's true, then we will pass on seeing the others. There wasn't much to it, and it wasn't very beautiful. (Oh well; it was free for those younger than 26.)

Tomorrow we take a train to Budapest, where we'll spend one more day before we fly home. We are looking forward to returning home after a month on the road. We can't wait to take a good shower, eat a home-cooked meal and -- yes, Doug -- even start our new jobs in the real world.

2 Comments:

At 1:04 PM, June 13, 2006, Anonymous ginger said...

Looks like fun! Half the fun is taking random pictures like the ones you showcased today. Just remember you can be crazy as you want because more than likely you will not be seeing any of those people again. Oh, the beauty of overseas traveling. I don't even talk about all the wild things I did in France. Ha - just kidding, kinda:).

Have a beautiful day,

Ginger

 
At 1:05 PM, June 13, 2006, Anonymous ginger said...

Looks like fun! Half the fun is taking random pictures like the ones you showcased today. Just remember you can be crazy as you want because more than likely you will not be seeing any of those people again. Oh, the beauty of overseas traveling. I don't even talk about all the wild things I did in France. Ha - just kidding, kinda:).

Have a beautiful day,

Ginger

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home