Trip Start Sep 14, 2012
Trip End Oct 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
IBIS Budget Wien Sankt Marx
What I did
Bratislava, Slovakia and Belvedere Palace

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Poor sleep with the warm duvet; c'est la vie. Up at 0530 and powered along to complete yesterday's diary, the blog content and upload pix. Still down first for brekkie with Peter.

Off at 0845 to take the U3 subway to its Simmering end point. We took a train to Bratislava, leaving at 0932. Saw with Rachel who was fine after one got her chatting about travel. We reached our destination by 1045.

Took local bus 93 a couple of stops to near the exterior of the old town, the imposing castle up on the hill. A bit of orientation from Peter and on our own after 1140.

We first went as a group [grrr] to see the Danube River, not its most picturesque area. We then climbed the hill to head to the castle, more for the views since the museum there was closed on Mondays.

We all decided to lunch at the Slovak Pub, a student hangout. Tried halusky, a local potato, cheese and semi-bacon rind bacon concoction, the latter delicious but the dish otherwise having a consistency of cottage cheese. The Zlaty Bazant was light and fine but the monks' beer last night is still in the lead 6 E. The banter is improving which is good re taking the mickey out of people.

People wanted to take the 1436 bus but the large snake of our group got split up, somehow all back together at the train station, only saved with the incoming train being 10M late. Sat with Arjan and Rachel for the return leg. Many wind farms on display. Don was busy reading his guide books.

Peter got off at Gasometer and we all carried on to the end of the train line to go to the nearby Belvedere Palace, the home of Eugene of Savoy, the chap who turned back the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in the late 17 century. The place is now a portrait gallery. The stuff therein was fine, the Gustav Klimpt picture of 'The Kiss' not something I would race to hang up anywhere 11 E.

The gardens at the Belvedere Palace were reminiscent of those at the Schonbrunn: designs and the like but not very florid. I suspect trying to organize any group dinner will be tedious.

Walked to a subway station for a ride back into town 2E, leaving the others to seek out cheap food nearer the Danube. Watched people passing, hoping I would see Jozef. A cigarette machine seemed to be making the most sales.

Our rendezvous was set for 1900. I decided to give him an extra 10M and there he was at 1907, the writer soon thereafter a recipient of a Jozef bear hug. He brought along a friend named Mathias to help with his English. Walked to a little way to a pub where I had a Gosser special beer: nil especially good or bad about it.

We decided to eat dinner there. I had a small wiener schnitzel with a small beer this time. Jozef had brought along an album. It is amazing how many similar places we have been to over 4 continents. The dinner was a complete success.

Rode back with Jozef on the U3 line, his stop before mine. I think he enjoyed the reunion and hopefully he will visit me in NF down the road.

Got back to the room around 2200. Lots of emails to review and respond to before hitting the diary. Will complete the blog portion tomorrow am as it is approaching midnight and I need some beauty sleep.
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