9 November 2009

Budapest to Bratislava [Day Five]

Today was a day of amazingly crappy weather. We have pretty much been rained on the whole day. Not much fun really.

We started off our day in Budapest with a bit of sight-seeing. We tried to get around the major sights on the Pest side, starting off with St. Stephens Basilica. We had seen this last night, but hadnt realised it was the same church until we walked around the back. Smart eh. Still just as impressive from the front though.

We then made our way up Andrassy - seeing the Opera House, Heroes Square, Vajdahunyad Castle and the Museam of fine arts.

The weather was miserable so we decided to head back to the apartment and do a bit of planning for the rest of our trip.

At around midday we headed to catch the train to Bratislava - a two and half hour journey. When we arrived at the station we had no idea where to go, but luckily we stumbled upon a helpful train man that could (just) speak english. He seemed concerned that we did not have reserved seats, which got us a bit worried. He showed us to a cabin and said it should be fine (so the whole way we were expencting to be thrown out!). He then held his hand out and said 'for a beer'. I gave him what change I had left - about 300Zt (£1). He seemed happy enough.

We weren't quite sure what to expect from Bratislava. One thing we have learnt is not to judge the city by its train station, because if you did, you would probably get on the next train out of there! Bratislava was no exception, although it was slightly better than others we have visited. They are normally run down, dirty, dodgy and have really unhelpful grumpy staff. Another observation is that the english skills in Bratislava aren't quite as good as some, which can make things difficult.

We made our way to our apartment - not quite as slick as Budapest, but it'll do. Nice and central which is good. Only one complaint - there was basically no curtains, meaning anyone walking past can pretty much see right in. Not ideal. We then headed out to grab some dinner and have a bit of a look around.

Another conclusion I quickly came to, this place is awesome, despite the weather. Amazing buildings, nice people. First we found the 'New Bridge' which spans Danube river (yes, the same one that ran through Budapest). We wandered around for quite a while (in the rain!) and found so many stunning buildings - including the huge Bratislavsky Hrad (castle) which looked ghostly white and the enourmous St Martins Cathedral. Both definately worth a visit.

As we were wandering we found a band playing what we can only assume was traditional Slovac music. There were also lots of stalls set up, mostly selling mulled wine, but some selling little trinkets and other bits and pieces. Later when we came back past the band had stopped playing, but everyone was getting VERY merry, and all singing some crazy songs. Good effort for a Sunday night...

Soaking wet, we headed back to the apartment for a relatively early night. Tomorrow we are going to see the rest of Bratislava, then its off to Vienna :)

Next Post - 'Bratislava to Vienna'

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