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July, 2015

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Bratislava was the first stop on our rail tour of Europe. Despite being the capital city of Slovakia, it feels compact and it was certainly easy enough to walk around without having to use any form of transport. (There is a land train around the old streets for those that cannot walk much) It is the ideal place for a short break with some fine-looking buildings, museums, galleries, restaurants and cultural activities. The great advantage also is the reasonable price of everything.

You cannot miss the castle, which sits on a commanding position overlooking the River Danube. Apparently there has been a fortification here for over 2000 years and the building has recently been restored.There are some marvellous views from outside the castle and inside there are museums, Slovakian artifacts and paintings.
The old town square is enclosed by the Old Town Hall and the Primacial Palace. Signposted from here is a “must see” building the stunning St Elizabeth’s Church or Little Blue Church situated on Bezrucova Street. It is decorated with bright blue majolica glazed tiles and it is said to be the most beautiful Art Nouveau building in the world.

St Martin’s Cathedral situated on the edge of the old town boasts some unusual woodcarvings – in fact throughout the city there are numerous bronze sculptures, which are the favourite subjects of tourist photos. Don’t miss the curious statue emerging from a manhole! St Michael’s Gate is in a quaint street lined with shops and restaurants – it is quite lively at night. We were able to walk through the gardens of the Presidential Palace with its well-kept flowerbeds and another range of sculptures.

We walked on the pedestrian route underneath the Novy Most, the modern bridge over the river, then took the inclined lift to the top. Here we got some fantastic views of Bratislava from the Observation Deck. Up there we not only enjoyed the panorama but also the delicious afternoon coffee and cake in the UFO Restaurant.

All in all we were pleasantly surprised during our brief visit to this charming and relaxed city. Then it was time to take a short train journey to our next destination Vienna.


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