We woke up with the sound of the waves lapping up against the boat. There was nothing really wrong with the hotel, and for the price/location it was perfect. We went to sample the breakfast which was very basic and set off to climb the hill that looms above the city. A quick tram journey back up to where we had started our tram journey the day before and we were at base camp.
The walk up is pretty simple if you just take every turn that is heading uphill. We were walking up to see the war memorial Slavin. Dedicated to thousands of soviet soldiers who liberated the city in WWII. It was opened in 1960 and I imagined it was a stark reminder of who the Slovakians should be grateful to for their ‘freedom’.
Politics aside the walk up is nothing to write home about, lots of interesting houses and little shortcuts upwards. We had somehow walked round to the back of the memorial and were struck by the size of the memorial. You could feel the history of the place with the graveyard and monuments scattered about the hill.
I think that coming up the way we did was better, as we walked towards the huge steps leading up to the memorial at the front, Bratislava unfolded before us and you could see for miles in the sunshine.
We walked down the steps and worked out a route through the city that would take us past some more of the sights. Grabbing a quick snack we walked through the gardens of the presidential palace when it started to rain! We took shelter and as the rain passed overhead we continued our journey to the front of the palace.
Our wandering took us through another park with what looked like a huge water feature which was in complete disrepair. It all looked very Soviet-bloc era, a lot of the surrounding city had this vibe to it, away from the kitsch old town.
Our wandering took us past the church of St Elizabeth, a bright eggshell blue church that looks really cute. I’m not one for religion but some of these buildings are so pretty in the midst of chaos.
From here we walked past some dilapidated towerblocks and towards the shopping mall for a coffee, just as we entered the heavens opened and it started to absolutely pour down. We spent some time walking the length of the place which was super modern and with an impressive water feature. Then took the time to have coffee and cake, this was lomg enough for the rain to cease and we walked out into beaming sunshine again.
After seeing a lot of the city we had heard about a beach type pop up bar that was meant to be pretty cool, so we crossed the danube and found ourselves walking along it’s banks on the opposite side to the city.
The Magio beach was down as one of the top things to do in Bratislava and in the sunshine you could see why. It looked like something I’d imagine was in Ibiza with trendy chairs and pools dotted about on decking with chillout dance music pumping out.
We sat and got a couple of beers and started to sweat in the afternoon heat! It was boiling hot and so nice to have the cool river breeze around us.
After a couple of beers we decided to move on, if I was there with a few friends etc I think it would be a really cool place to hang out and enjoy.
Carrying on up the river we found ourselves in a huge green park with the floor dappled from the sunlight creeping through the close knit leafy ceiling. As we walked round we noticed the crowds of people of all ages playing pokemon go. There were a couple of nice statues and a lovely fountain which shimmered in the bright sun.
Finding ourselves crossing back over the danube into the old town we came across a man peeking out of his drain in the floor, completely made from metal of course. Then we went for the ice cream, it was pretty good, but I think we had built our expectations up the day before!
We sat and enjoyed soaking up the sun and the city atmosphere before gettong a beer on one of the small streets when evening set in and we went back to the boat to relax and get ready to go out for dinner.
We had a beer on the boat sat outside looking over the river, and walked back to the big square to find food. We settled on a lovely place with huge wooden tables with thick planks, surrounded by trees and the sound of water trickling through. As dusk fell the trees lit up with lanterns strung between them. It was magical surrounded by the old buildings and people walking past laughing and chatting.
We ordered drinks and starters and i had a huge tasty pizza while Peter had steak for the 2nd night in a row! Again we over ordered and were stuffed by the end, I think I got chips on the side too! So we tried to walk it off and looked for somewhere to have another drink. As we walked round in the dark it became increasingly clear that we were too fat, tired and lazy to stay out so we agreed to go back to the hotel ready to be fresh for our trip up the danube to Vienna.
For more information on Bratislava, check out this blog post over on MapsandMerlot : http://mapsandmerlot.com/2016/11/30/bratislava-slovakia-photo-ops/