Bratislava – Authentic Slovakia
Go behind the scenes in Bratislava from the relative comfort of a vintage Skoda seat! We didn’t go in the Skoda as it was too cold so we went in their 1992 VW van instead which still had a pleasingly retro feel to it but was, apparently, and I’m happy to take Brano’s word for it, warmer than the Skoda. I am really drawn to the idea of touring around in a funny old Skoda so may well have to return next year.
Whilst Prague is pretty and old, Bratislava has quite a bit of communist-era layout and buildings which is something really new and intriguing for me. Driving and the getting out and walking a bit and talking about the different neighborhoods is such a good way too see Bratislava as things are a bit spread out. There is a really pretty old town but that is extremely compact and easy to explore alone on foot.
We drove and saw the very first of the quick-assemble utilitarian concrete prefab Soviet apartment blocks in an area that is now, as much as it defies logic, gentrifying. We took a walk up many steps to the imposing Soviet-era Slavin cemetery and monument with its sweeping views across the city. No Mans Land between the old USSR and Europe was eerie and peaceful and quiet, belying the tragic and violent and sometimes slow deaths of people trying to reach the West.
Ours was perhaps the perfect small group tour as we got to meet other fellow travelers who were so interesting that Brano extended the drink break in a very local cafe as we were all chatting so happily together.
Bratislava has definitely made an impression and I think a summer visit is essential to get a different aspect and also take in one of Authentic Slovakia’s hiking or biking tours.