Trip Start Jun 08, 2010
79Trip End Aug 26, 2010
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Because they were both in the EU, nothing special occurred to indicate when the train crossed the border. At one point, I began to wonder if were in Slovakia yet, and I looked out the window just in time to noticed the Esztergom Basilica once again looming in the distance. Although I could clearly see the Hungarian landmark, I knew that meant we were in Slovakia as Esztergom was pressed up against the Danube, which in that area formed the border between the two countries.
I arrived in Bratislava in the early afternoon, but didn't do much sightseeing. I mainly just hung-out with my friend. We tried to go to Devin Castle, but it was raining, so we decided to see a movie instead. He suggested the Tom Cruise movie "Knight and Day". I was curious about how that name was translated into different languages, since it contained a pun. The Slovakian title was "Zatiaľ spolu, zatiaľ nažive", which translated back into English as something like "Stay Together, Stay Alive". Didn't seem close, but maybe "Spolu" and "Nažive" are last names in Slovakian. The Hungarian title of "Kéjjel-nappal" I couldn't find a translation for the first part. "Nappal" was "Day".
After the movie, we went over to Vienna to meet another friend. We had a about an hour to fill while we waited for him, so we drove over to Schönbrunn Palace. It certainly put Eszterhazy Palace to shame, although give the latter another 20 years of renovation and then we'll see (nah, probably not). It was early evening by the time we arrived, so we just walked around the gardens. I'll be going back to Vienna after I finish with Slovakia, and I expect I'll take a tour of the inside then.
After meeting our other friend, we all went to dinner at a Chinese resturaunt. It was odd going to a Chinese resturant and having everything in German. I suppose that's not any less weird than having everything in English, but it's perspective.
I had an Orange 7up to drink, which I hadn't seen before. Usually I drink water when I eat out, but it's so expensive in most European countries to get water with your meal that I go for soda because I have trouble getting myself to pay for water. My friend said that in Austria, they made a law that the cheapest drink on the menu had to be non-alcholic since for a long time beer was cheaper to order than water.
My hotel had an odd 70's disco lounge decor, including a casino and "gentlemen's" club. (I'll have pictures tomorrow.) The room seemed fine, though. I didn't chose it myself, my friend suggested it because it was across from his apartment. I think next time I ask a friend for a hotel recommendation, I'll do a little looking myself...