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Bratislava & Slovakia according to Berlitz & BootsnAll

While focusing mainly on Prague and the Czech Republic, the Berlitz Pocket Guide Czech Republic was also illuminating about Slovakia and Bratislava. A few pages near the end of the destination details outlined some of the basics, and while they got my appetite going, I also nipped into BootsnAll a bit too, for some of the info a local had sent us about Bratislava.
Da links:

  • Berlitz Pocket Guide Czech Republic
  • Bratislava, Slovakia Travel Guide –

    Now, the Czech Republic, Prague and Slovakia, are places I’m getting more and more excited about. Maybe that’s just a mix of innocence and ignorance, fired up as I get tucked into more info on them. Then again, the overall vibe I get from my reading and from conversations and emails and such with other travelers, is the beauty, culture, and up-and-coming-ness of these places.
    So I’m going to err on the side of trusting faith, and wide-eyedly dive in.
    Here's some of the skinny on Bratislava which, if things go somewhat resembling as planned, I should be hitting around 17 or 18 September according to the ol’ draft itinerary

  • 35 miles from Vienna, 75 miles from Brno, Czech Republic.
  • “During the 18th century it was one of central Europe’s most important cities and a leading cultural centre.”
  • Population of about half a million people, so Bratislava is about the same size as Edinburgh, Scotland, or Portland, Oregon, for that matter.
  • North bank of the Danube is the most happenin’ area. You can see the major traveler stuff in a day, on foot. Walkable city – who can I meet in the hostel to go around with?
  • Here’s one that really surprised me: Bratislava is known for its wine. I had no idea (but then again, my nose usually gets stuck in any bottle Oregonian or Australian). Inside Bratislava’s city limits alone, Berlitz says you’ll find over 2,500 acres of vineyards. That’s plenty for me to get stuck in to.
    That’s a day trip – or a nighttime wine-bar crawl – all its own!
    Seeing Bratislava’s sights

  • City square at Hurbanovo namestie (nearest hostel?), on the old town’s northern edge
  • St Michael’s Gate
  • Old Town Hall
  • St Martin’s Cathedral
  • Park near Bratislava’s castle – sounds like a good place to hang, have lunch, try to strike up conversations with people?
    Well, that’s a good start.
    I also wanted to have a look at what BootsnAll had to say about Bratislava:
    Bratislava, Slovakia Travel Guide
    Here’s some highlights:

  • “Calling itself (as all central European capitals do) the heart of Europe, Bratislava remains in the inner circle of Central European society through its history.” Maybe instead of a heart, it’s a ventricle. Either way, the place’s importance historically doesn’t seem to have diminished. That’s great for sight-seeing and getting that “wow this place has seen a lot” feel, but what’s going on now? (Oh wait, that’s what I’m going over there to find out)
  • “Eastern Europe has been dramatically changing and before long there will be no difference between West and East.” There’s good and bad to that too, and what’s good and what’s bad will vary from person to person, as these things do. For my mind, I just consider that more reason to go now. Or later, as Marek first sent us this guide in 1999, so it will be interesting to see how that “westernizing” has progressed, or changed, or who knows.
  • “The most obvious scar is the SNP Bribge, with its spaceship-like saucer hovering over the Danube.” Berlitz spoke kinda highly of the skyline, and of the revolving restaurant in the “saucer”… but that may also be where Berlitz’s sensitivities diverge from my and Marek’s, in the sense of more mainstream tourist info, to the more independent “call it as you see it” raised eyebrow.
  • “Bratislava is safe as long as you use your common sense.” Sounds about average for a European city.
  • Mountains, bustling city, and lots of change on the air – and that’s not just Communist-era pollution. “The people are quick with a smile and go to great lengths to be hospitable” – that works for me.
    My curiosity is pretty stoked; I mean, granted there’s nothing in what I’ve read so far to send me shouting out about heading here, but what I’ve heard overall is that there just has been a lot happening in Bratislava. Time is also a factor here; Marek’s guide is from 1999, the Berlitz guide from 1996 (so its info is probably another year or 2 older). This is all to be taken with some salt, and followed by a good beer.
    I just can’t wait to see the place for myself, wide-eyed innocence, ignorance and all.

  • Berlitz Pocket Guide Czech Republic
  • Bratislava, Slovakia Travel Guide –