Hrad Devín

Trip Start Sep 23, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2009

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Flag of Slovakia  , Bratislava,
Friday, September 25, 2009

We decide to check out today, and get the bus to Krakow.  It doesn't leave until 10.15pm though, so we have the whole day to play with.  We decide to get the bus to the nearby village of Devin, home to a huge, beautiful castle known as Hrad Devin (Devin Castle, of course).  We get off in the village itself rather than at the castle, so we could see a bit more of the normal Slovakia.  Judging by Devin village, they aren't doing too badly for themselves!  Stunning cottages, little orchards, with massive Villas on the hill side.  Nice.

We eventually make our way to the castle entrance, and separate for a few hours.  Helen likes the history aspect, I like the aesthetic aspect, so it's easier to go solo for your own interests.  I head straight to the top, fighting my way through school groups to get the fantastic views of the River Danube, Austria and the valley that Devin sits in - not to mention the castle itself.  I play up in the battlement, mainly fiddling with my camera to come up with arty shots and suffering from epic fails.  The top of the castle is closed at the moment for various building works, so I check out the small exhibition they have on some of the finds they have found at the castle.  Helen meanwhile reaches the top (it's twice as far for her little legs) and tells me more about the History.  Although I've read all the information boards, I'd forgotten it a minute later.  Check out Wikipedia for more information. 

Afterwards we take a slow walk around the base of the hill the castle is on, sitting alongside the Danube in the sun watching the river traffic struggle upstream.  It's a bit of a fast river!

Back in Bratislava for late afternoon, we spend more time just taking it all in.  Although there isn't a lot to do, there are lots of little alleys and back streets to wonder down and get lost, check out the old buildings etc.  We also visit the local hypermarket - Tescos - for snacks for the coach journey.  It's a lot, lot cheaper than the UK, even with the current poor currency rates. 

After a quick meal in a local bar, we venture to the Bus Station, just out of the main city centre, and attempt to figure out which of the 30 odd platforms is the one we need.  We had booked a Eurolines bus, but it's operated by Jordan, so we assume to look for one of them buses.  20 minutes before our bus is due in, a bus going to Wien (Vienna) turns up, and a few minutes later the driver approaches us (as we are wondering around still) and says "Krakow?".  Of course that's were we are heading, but that bus isn't the company we want, plus it says its going to Wien.  Regardless, the driver points at the bus and says "Krakow", so somewhat confused we jump on.  Ten minutes later, having just settled down in out front seats, we stop at a large service station full of other buses and trucks, and the driver says "Krakow" and points at another bus alongside.  So it turns out this bus was just getting us to the main service that doesn't actually stop in central Bratislava like it's advertised, but at some random service station miles out!  This is the bus we want though, tickets are checked and we are given the front two seats again - we are the only people getting on in Slovakia.  Next stop will be in Poland.
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