While living in Budapest and looking at train routes, we decided that we needed to see Bratislava, S
It was only two and a half hours away by train and we knew several people back in California who
Arriving in Bratislava it was a short walk to our hotel from the train station. Dropping off our bag we immediately set out again.
Our hotel was a short distance down the street from the presidential palace, and just past that was the historic part of town. We wandered the streets for hours taking in all of the major sites. We strolled along the ancient city walls, past St. Martin’s Cathedral, through Michael’s Gate, and on to St. Catherine’s Chapel. We found the building for the Philharmonic, the Old Town Hall, the Slovak National Theater. On and on, we wound our way through the maze of streets lined with restaurants and shops of every type.
Climbing our way up to Bratislava Castle, we entered through the elaborate Vienna Gate.
We explored the castle grounds, making our way through the gardens, past the castle guards, and eventually ending up in a park within the castle walls. By sheer chance, the Najväčší Piknik V Meste (which means, The Biggest Picnic In Town) was being set up for the next day. Our love of wine is well documented, so it comes as no surprise that we immediately knew what our plans for that next day were. Vowing to return, we made our way back down to the city below.
Exiting through the Sigismund Gate, we wandered until we came to a pedestrian street near the Danube River called Hviezdoslavovo Namestie. It was there that we saw a long line for a gelato place and we knew that we had to stop.
It’s strange because we hate long lines. But whenever we see a long line for someplace delicious, we always line up to see why people are willing to wait. We were not to be disappointed. Luculus Gelato was so good that we went back two more times that trip.
That next day as planned, we went back to the castle to attend the food and wine festival.
There was a booth from a wine company called ChcemVINO that we gravitated to immediately. The owner of the company, a woman named Viera, quickly realized that we were kindred spirits. She enthusiastically started giving us samples of different wines to try, and we enthusiastically tried them. Sampling wine throughout the day, we hung out with Viera while enjoying panoramic views of the Danube River below. We couldn’t have asked for a better day of drinking wine with a new friend and a great view.
For our last day in Slovakia, we took a cruise on the Danube River. The boat took us to the amazing Devin Castle.
While Bratislava castle had been more modern looking as castles go, Devin Castle was right out of a storybook. Construction of Devin Castle had started in the 13th century and had been added onto between the 15th and 17th century. The old fortress walls were perched on top of a formidable looking cliff. It was hard to imagine an army bold enough to try to capture it but in 1809 Napoleon did just that. The damage his troops did has since been restored and Devin Castle is now a place for tourist to conquer. Perched over the Danube River it still looks like something out of a fairy tale.
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