Family Time In Bratislava
Trip Start Oct 21, 2009
52Trip End Jan 12, 2010
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11:30am: Caught the morning train from Prague to Bratislava. Enjoyed a very pleasant train ride with wonderful views along the way – as well as lunch on board in the "fancy" dining car (our Euro Rail passes are first class – hooray!). Also did some journaling and took a short nap.
3:32pm: Arrived in Bratislava to a crazy busy, crowded train platform. Tried to orientate ourselves to the nearest exit, when – from beyond the abyss – we saw my brother Christoph's lovely face emerge from the crowds (another hooray)! Hugs and kisses, then we jumped on a bus outside the train station and took it just two stops to their apartment, which is a fun, loft-style, 3-bedroom place that has its own private rooftop deck overlooking Bratislava Castle
4:15pm: Sister-in-law Taryn arrived home (more hugs/kisses!) from teaching classes, and we all relaxed for a few hours and caught up over munchies. Also, Murray was finally able to register our Magic Jack via Christoph and Taryn’s (aka, C&T’s) excellent Wi-Fi connection; we now have a DC phone number and we can make “local/long-distance” calls to anywhere within the US via a phone hooked up to our Magic Jack, which plugs into our computer’s USB port – nice! So – made a few calls to the U.S.
7:00pm: Enjoyed a scrumptious, homemade dinner (via the loving hands of Christoph and Taryn) of Greek stew (Holden Village recipe)! So wonderful to be in a home again, especially one that contains family.
10:00pm: C&T to bed – while I made one more call to the U.S.
10:30pm: In bed and happy in Bratislava!
We had a relaxing, lazy morning today hanging out at C&T’s apartment. Christoph was up early to teach a few classes, but Taryn has Fridays off so we got to spend some good time with just her. Murray and I also did some laundry (hooray for another home washing machine). Around noon, after Ctoph came home from classes, we went out into the cold, rainy, Bratislava day to have lunch
[Side note: last night, as we were catching up with Christoph and Taryn, I received some feedback from them (maybe because I forced them to give it to me) regarding my travel journal entries. I asked C&T if they thought that the historical information in my journals was too boring and dry (my fear), but they thought the history was good! However, Christoph did tell me that he finds all my writing about food and what we eat at each meal to be pretty boring (teasing me – rightfully, I suppose – about all those “lavish hotel breakfasts” we had while on the Egypt/Jordan tour). Yet – several other people have told me through comments and emails that they LOVE to read about all this food we’re eating! So, I can’t win – but I guess I’m not trying to.]
After lunch (ole!), we walked around Bratislava’s historical city center, touring its Christmas markets and enjoying (sorry, Christoph!) hot mulled wines (Medovina and honey rice wine), Nutella-filled palacinka (pal-a-chinka, like a crepe), and steaming trdelniks (like those sweet tunnels of dough we had in Prague, only these were bigger and doughier – and this time, we ordered a vanilla sugar-flavored one, which was very light and flavorful)
Satiated by lunch and our Christmas market treats, late afternoon we walked to and toured the Primate Palace (Bratislava Primacialny Palac – and yes, I believe “Primate Palace” is the correct translation!). This neo-Classical palace in Bratislava's Old Town was built from 1778 to 1781 for Archbishop József Batthyány. Today it is the residence of the Mayor of Bratislava. The palace and its most famous chamber, the Hall of Mirrors (currently used for the sessions of the City Council), have hosted many significant events. The chamber was the site of the signing of the fourth Peace of Pressburg (Bratislava Peace Treaty) between France and Austria in December 1805, which ended War of the Third Coalition (also, in 1848, serfdom in the Kingdom of Hungary was canceled here). Before leaving, we also saw the beautiful Chapel of St. Laudislas, which is housed within the Primate Palace.
On the way back to C&T’s apartment, we stopped for some chai (hooray!) lattes at Coffee & Co. I needed more sustenance before climbing the eleven flights of stairs to get to their front door (huff, puff – all Baby Boo’s fault!). We also made a stop-over to Christoph’s favorite cheese store, which was, in one word: awesome
After a rest at C&T’s place, we headed out again around 6pm for another walk through more Christmas markets, grabbing a snack before heading to the Slovak National Theatre to hear the Slovak Philharmonic (Slovenská filharmónia) in concert! With Petr Altrichter conducting, we heard a beautiful concert including works by Carl Maria von Weber (“The Marksman”/Der Freischütz); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Concert for piano and orchestra in B Major KV 595, with Jan Simon on the piano); and Nikolaj Rimskij Korsakov (Scheheresade). C&T bought us great tickets, and it was a fun evening. (The pianist featured in Mozart’s piece deemed it necessary to play not one but TWO solo encores before intermission, which were beautiful but did run a little long! We were all laughing about it afterward – so, too, were various members of the orchestra!)
Once the concert was over, we walked to a local restaurant for a late dinner of traditional Czech food (in a nod to my brother, I will not bore you with what each of us ate!). We didn’t get home until 11:30pm, so we all pretty much collapsed upon entry to the apartment. What a fantastic first full day in Bratislava with family!