Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bratislava, Slovakia

While Drew was away, I re-watched the 2004 movie, Eurotrip. After being in Europe for 2.5 years, it still makes me laugh. The dollar has significantly increased since we first arrived in Europe, but I wanted to go somewhere where our money was worth more. So we decided to go to Eastern Europe. Vienna was supposed to be the main point of this trip, but somehow it turned into us spending more time in Bratislava. Which in hindsight was better for us, since we're not museum people and that's about 90% of what to do in Vienna.


Bratislava is 6 hours away from us. Honestly the drive wasn't so bad, we stopped off in Vienna to break up the drive, but I'll save that for my Vienna post. We stayed at the Hotel Apollo. At first I was looking at hotels in Vienna, but prices in Vienna were astronomical compares to Bratislava. That's why we decided to stay in Bratislava. I found the hotel through booking.com. But after heading to the hotel's website I found that they offered the better deal, parking, breakfast was including and WiFi, & A/C (it was 90-100 degrees when we were there) they were also pet-friendly! 

We had to take Rylie with us, we didn't think it was fair to leave her when she's been missing Drew as well. They even had a salt cave, I'm not really sure what the significance of it was, but One procedure (45 min.) in the Salt cave is considered the equivalent of 2-3 days by the sea. The pure, ionized environment of the salt cave aids us in bettering our health condition and in the treatment of: Upper and lower respiratory tracts, Reduced functioning of thyroid gland, Heart/arterial ailments, dermatological ailments, dysfunctions of the vegetative nerve system, neuroses, stress and exhaustion, rheumatic ailments, enhanced burn-off of fat, wrinkle smoothing, slowing of aging process. We did feel better after it. Plus free entrance was included in the room. 

 Pics inside the Salt Caves

Our hotel was amazing. It was a 15 min walk from the center of town, and I'm pretty sure we were upgraded to a suite. Our hotel room was larger than the others on our floor AND we even had a balcony! I can't say enough good things about this place. They even had a restaurant and had dinner there both nights. Because we were guests at the hotel, we got 20% off! I would suggest looking into this hotel, the food was amazing!


Since it was a driving day, we were up early and the 100 degree weather sure didn't help the tiredness. When looking at things to do in Bratislava, the Be Free Pub Crawl came up. I'm not a much of a drinker, "party girl" is not what comes to mind when people talk about me. But when I mentioned the Pub Crawl to Drew, he wanted to go, and since he had just gotten home I figured we could go. Only we were both exhausted. After dinner we decided to take a nap, Drew napped, my brain wouldn't shut off, but I eventually fell asleep. The pub crawl started at 9:30p it was 13 euros per person, it included a free hour of beer/wine at the first bar, a free shot at every bar we went too, and free admission (since it was a Friday night) to all 4 bars. Since they didn't leave the bar until 10:45, we decided to sleep in a little later and then head out, we ended up missing the free hour of beer/wine, but we didn't miss the pub crawl. It was a great time. Bratislava is the place to go if you're looking for a party. Drinks are cheap, between Drew and I, including the price of the pub crawl, we spend 80 euros total (we had 3 drinks at every bar). Of course we didn't end up crawling back to the hotel until 3am, but all in all it was a good time. I was NOT a happy camper in the morning. Drew was fine, but I think he enjoyed the fact that I was "Super fun Teanna" again.





Thankfully, it was so hot out the next day, my pores sweated out all the toxins from the night before, so around 11 (after walking around the city for an hour) I felt 100x better.

We started our exploration of Bratislava at the Blue Church, it's called the Blue Church because it's Blue! Fun fact: It was created for Princess Elisabeth, and painted blue because her parents thought she was going to be a boy! From the outside it was a pretty cool looking church, normally you can go inside, but there was a wedding going on so we just admired the building from the outside.
 



Bratislava is such a cute city. But if you're not in the Old Historic town, you can still see the reminisce of Communism. Drew and I kept joking about the fact that technically we're older than Slovakia, since until 1993 it was Czechoslovakia. Haha. There are so many cute statues and water fountains to take pictures of. I think Bratislava is a photographer's dream!

Entrance to the Old city






 We made our way through town, stopping at an outdoor market where we found our souvenirs. Drew got his Beer stein and I got a magnet and shot glass,  I think he gets the better deal with souvenirs. I did find a little tea light holder that had Bratislava on it, the only other place we've been able to find a little tea light holder is Prague and the Christmas Markets in Germany. 



 

I spy a Happy Rylie!

Main Square



  






The Hrad Castle or Bratislava Castle was where we were headed too, Rick Steves said that the best views of Bratislava were from the top of the castle. It was a hike to get there! When we got to the top we saw a little train looking bus that takes you from the city center to the castle, I'd suggest doing this, especially on a hot day! I was excited to see the views and knew that it had to be worth it. Only when we got to the castle, there was a big sign that said dogs weren't allowed! So there we were with Rylie and she wasn't allowed to go in. I was pretty mad, nothing I read said dogs weren't allowed, so I sat with Rylie while Drew went exploring the castle. 




UFO

The massive rectangular building with four corner towers stands on an isolated rocky hill of the Little Carpathians directly above the Danube river in the middle of Bratislava. Because of its size and location, it has been a dominant feature of the city for centuries. The location provides excellent views of Bratislava, Austria and, in clear weather, parts of Hungary. Many legends are connected with the history of the castle.




We headed back to the center of town, it was so hot out, I was thankful for the water truck that was giving away free water. They even gave Rylie a cup of her own! For the most part Bratislava was pet friendly, while we took a break, all the tourists wanted to take a picture of Rylie or pet her! 


The last thing I wanted to see (Because there's still a lot to see in Bratislava) was the most famous bronze statue entitled "Cumil". The statue is of a man peeking out from under a manhole cover. This guy, residing in the Old Town, dates back only to 1997, but Bratislavians and tourists love him. Children like to abuse him by sitting on his head. More than once has he been damaged car drivers. Heated discussions have taken place as to what actually the man is up to - you have to decide whether he is simply resting, looking up women's skirts, just cleaned the sewer.




I did want to see the UFO tower, You could see it from the Bratislava Castle, apparently it also gives great views of Bratislava, but I didn't want to walk all the way down there. So I settled for seeing it from a far. 
I really enjoyed Bratislava. I'm glad we decided to stay n Bratislava, 1.) Because of how cheap things were there 2.) Their nightlife is pretty exciting. There were more people out at 3am then there were at noon. 3.) Eastern Europe really isn't what it seems and I definitely need to explore it more!

I was a little sad when we had to leave, although Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia I feel that a lot of people over look it, it's a hidden gem and if you're ever in Europe, I would suggest stopping off, especially if you're near Vienna!