Sunday, 5 June 2016

Sun 5 Jun 2016. In Bratislava (Slovakia)

Sun 5 Jun 2016. In Bratislava (Slovakia)
Music pounded all night from late camper who set up their tent near us, until abruptly stopped at 4am - just when birds began to wake up! (sometimes it's a good thing we don't carry a gun). GirlRob was waiting when staff arrived to open reception, insisting she be given key to washing machine. Fortunately the new girl didn't demur. Washed two loads. Given the prospect of further rain today, BoyRob strung crossed lines under awning which was just enough to hang out the washing. 
Got instructions re #4 tram and bought tickets in reception, said hi to curious horses, and walked up uneven surface of highway overpass. Stood warily waiting at tram stop with it's remnants of night-before drinking session and wobbly participants (even the locals didn't sit on the seats). 

Tram dropped us near Old City, much improved in cleanliness and community respect, no graffiti. Went into Maccas for coffee and wifi, paying some renovation bills at home and topping up debit cards. Tried to FaceTime the little granddaughters in Vancouver and Brisbane, but no luck. Went exploring and saw Town Hall, Roland Fountain (oh - the head didn't revolve for us lovers!) and cute Man at Work statue. 

Caught little red train through narrow cobbled streets seeing St Martins Cathedral, hearing about rise of Austro-Hungarian empire, and the crowning of all the Monarchs that led to Bratislava being known as "Coronation City", with its gold crown tiles in streets. 

Coronation city

For lunch shared an entree of goats cheese and radish scallions and herb bruschetta, then a dessert of goats curd balls rolled in dark green something in strawberry liqueur sauce. Yum. 
So many bald, thickset men pawing younger beautiful women, its appallingly noticeable, and everywhere full of cigarette smoke, so unpleasant. Had just left cafe when down poured torrential rain and hail - cafes and streets cleared unbelievably fast. We sheltered in an alleyway for half hour, it dried up but sun didn't really reappear for rest of afternoon. 

Took energetic walk up hill to see the restored Bratislava Castle, uneven steep granite steps slippery underfoot. Views from battlements were spectacular over flooded brown Danube, fast flowing under SNP bridge (Slovak National Uprising) and the amazing UFO building perched atop it. Even though now painted in pastels, the unbroken panorama of soviet concrete box apartments was confronting. 

We marched up to the front door of the castle to be met by groups of people going back down to the front archway shaking their heads - we found out about Slovak logic when asked to go back down the hill to get our free ticket to enter!!!! Sadly there's not much inside the restored "Hrad" beyond gilt cornices and an art collection, many artists "unknown", "in style of..." etc. GirlRob wasn't allowed to photograph Visitation painting by unknown artist in their collection, but was thrilled to see Mary and Elizabeth in similar colours and attire as the Masters painting we found in Paris, that was the model for our modern interpretation by Jan Hynd hanging at home. 

A GirlRob selfie special!

Had an early dinner of traditional pork ribs and curly peppers, watching families in a walking parade blowing bubbles. Don't know what they were demonstrating for - there was a police presence but the groups were totally peaceful. Headed "home" walking through St Michael’s Gate to find a tram before everything stopped running for the weekend. 

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