Trip Start May 07, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2012

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Flag of Slovakia  , Bratislava,
Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday morning and the shortest journey of the trip, 90 minutes from Brno (Czech Republic) to Bratislava (Slovakia). These two countries split in 1992 from the old Czechoslovakia and are both in the European Community doing fine with differences, e.g. Slovakia has the Euro and a smoking ban, whilst the Czechs have kept the Koruna and smoke in pubs and restaurants.

Another great hotel next to the station, the Mercure (ridiculous v.f.m. at 55), and a 15 minute walk to the centre. Weather bright but rather cold again. Walked up to Bratislava Castle which is very impressive and gives great views of the Danube and the landmark bridges.  Also happened to be walking past the Presidential Palace just in time to see their Changing of the Guard – didn’t have quite the same impact as the one at Buck House…

Encountered further coach loads of Taiwanese tourists who have appeared everywhere we’ve been so far. Same format every time: coach stops, they all leap out, take lots of photos and then 5 minutes later jump back on the coach and disappear to the next sight. Assume they haven’t a clue what they’re taking photos of.

It may seem repetitive to some of you but in the evening we went to a recommended cellar bar and then had dinner. Eat in the Slovak Pub which had a good atmosphere and was showing Ice Hockey. Didn’t know that this is Slovakia’s National Sport and the World Championships are well underway in Finland. During the afternoon we heard yells and cheers from bars around the City as Slovakia beat Canada in the quarter-final and this evening we watched the Czech Republic beat Sweden. The Slovaks now play the Czechs in the World semi-final on Saturday which is a mega local derby and would be good fun to watch in Brno or Bratislava (however, we’ll be in Budapest!).

Friday and at last woke up to clear blue sky and a lovely warm day. Hallelujah!! Did all the sights in the Old Town and really enjoyed wandering around Bratislava which is full of pedestrian streets, alleyways and squares. Lots of people strolling around and generally enjoying life. We didn’t realise that the City has become very popular for stag trips from Germany and the UK and we saw the first drinkers getting established pre-noon so could be a bit lively in the centre later on. Sat on a bench by the Danube for a while enjoying the strange phenomena called sunshine.

If any of you watched the recent Hairy Bikers ‘Bakeation’ series on BBC2 you may recall they visited Bratislava and the famous Shtoor Coffee Shop to see their special fruit tarts being made. This afternoon we enjoyed repeating the Shtoor experience although it was one further attack on our groaning waistlines! Back to the hotel for a rest.

It was the House of Beer in Krakow and now it is the Beer Palace in Bratislava. How can you ignore such places? We didn’t! Evening dinner in a well designed split level Brewpub restaurant for nice meal but dumpling overload has now occurred. Took a last wander around the Old Town and saw more signs of an Anglo/German stag influx. We have enjoyed Bratislava very much but on to late night packing then knock out some z’s before the morning trip to familiar territory…..Budapest.
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Bob S on

I am expecting a comprehensive dark beer review when you get back. Perhaps a booklet we can all take when we're all in a position to do something like this. (ie gentleman of leisure JT!!)

keep 'em coming - good stuff

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