Not practically neighbours with Berlin

Trip Start Mar 07, 2006
Trip End Jun 30, 2006

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Flag of Slovakia  ,
Monday, June 12, 2006

That title is for anyone reading this who might've taken "Eurotrip" a little too seriously. Hello from Bratislava, which is - obviously - quite far from Berlin, and no, you can't get five-star treatment for $1.83... but it is pretty inexpensive.

I caught the train down on Saturday, arriving late afternoon to one of the coolest hostels I've encountered so far on this trip. Maybe I'm just happy to be back in hostels after two weeks of luxurious but boring hotels. But this place is more like a house, and everyone is really friendly.

Bratislava doesn't actually have a whole lot to see or do, but it's been great just chilling out and relaxing here for a few days after being on such a whirlwind tour for two weeks. The city is full of soccer fans of every nationality, as well as loads of Brits here for cheap stag parties (apparently it's the fashionable thing to do). The two groups, as you can tell, are not mutually exclusive.

Saturday night, I went out with some of the other new arrivals for an excellent dinner for the equivalent of less than five euros, followed by a few drinks in a sports bar, and then a massive dance club until the small hours of the morning. Who knew that Bratislava was so happening?

Needless to say, I slept in rather late yesterday, before taking time to meander around the Old Town and walk up to the Bratislava Castle for great views over the city. The town itself is a maze of pretty squares, cafes and restaurants, and a lot of outdoor performers and atmosphere. A bit more of the same today, with lots of soccer in between. (However, they do love their hockey here, and people have actually heard of the NHL and some sports bars even carry the games late at night).

Shortly I'll be heading out for dinner and to try some of "my" beer; they have a beer here called Sari's and it's served in a Stein, which makes it a must-drink for me even though I don't normally drink beer.

My impression of Bratislava is that it's a city in transition. It lacks the beauty of Prague or Vienna, but also the commercialism and the crowds. It's more down-to-earth here, and easier to meet locals and get a sense of daily life. Literally everything is under construction, and it's obvious that in a few years, this will become just another tourist trap. But for now, it's actually a pretty cool place to be.

Tomorrow I'm catching a flight down to Dubrovnik, which should be great. More from the coast.
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