What can I really say about Slovakia? Sum total I spent less than 48 hours in the country. It is challenging to get any sort of vibe in such a short amount of time, yet Slovakia certainly left an impression on me. I experienced Slovakia on my Eastern European Extravaganza which took me through most of central Europe. In the winter of 2015. Josh, Joey and I stopped in Bratislava for a day between Vienna and Prague. Slovakia turned out to be a pleasant surprise, being much more beautiful and modern than imagine. Rolling hills, small villages with beautiful churches painted the landscape on our bus ride in. Even though it was the middle of winter you could still experience the greenery and open spaces that the sparsely populated country has to offer.
I always thought Bratislava would be drab. A monument to Eastern Europe and to communist ideology, architecture and lifestyle. What I found was nothing of the sort. Bratislava, although being small and homey, had all the pleasantries of any European capital city without much of the traffic. They have a lovely old city boasting traditional eastern European architecture from hundreds of years ago. I truly enjoyed the small, ice covered winding streets and alleys that made up the inner city. A real labyrinth of stone and frost. On first impression you can really tell that the restaurants and shops are catering much more to tourists than locals. Many of the old local shops have been replaced by tourist trap restaurants, Mexican and Irish bars and souvenir shops.
Possibly the most interesting part of the city is the large white castle that sits perched a top seemingly everything. The castle is immense and pristine, with a glorious view of the Danube River and much of the new part of town.
What I can tell you is that the city is damn cold in the winter but strikingly beautiful.
While Europe is quite expensive I can say truly that Bratislava is as cheap as EU cities come. The hostel was a whopping 8 Euros a night right in the center of the city. We had a few really good meals of traditional noodle and meat dishes for under ten Euros. The best part of the trip may have been the bus station beer that cost a grand total of 80 cents for a half liter. That my friends, simply can’t be beat.