Bratislava and Slovakia

Trip Start Sep 11, 2011
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Trip End Sep 25, 2011


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Aboard Scenic Emerald

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

After our evening concert of waltz and opera/ballet classics, we set out the next morning for a half-day visit to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia - a landlocked country situated in the heart of central Europe. The land is generally mountainous, with the Tatry mountains (part of the Carpathian range) dominating the central region and so we had a scenic two-hour drive after departing Vienna at 8 a.m. The country was formerly part of Czechoslovakia until the fall of Communism in 1989. Slovakia became its own federation in 1993 after the newly-elected Czech and Slovak national governments could not agree on a division of powers.

Bordering Austria and Hungary, Bratislava is the only national capital that borders two countries. Its history has been strongly influenced by people of different nations, namely Austrians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Jews and Slovaks. The city was the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy from 1536 to 1783.

The cityscape of Bratislava is characterized by medieval towers and grandiose 20th century buildings but has undergone profound changes in a construction boom over the last decade. Most historical buildings are concentrated in the Old Town where we spent most of our visit. One of the most prominent structures is Bratislava Castle, on a plateau above the Danube.

Highlights:

1.     We passed a windmill farm on the way to Bratislava. There were more than 500 wind-driven turbines that stretch in rows for miles and miles. Each windmill drives enough energy to power 1,000 residential homes. Who needs nuclear power?

2.     We saw Michael's Gate, the only gate that has been preserved from the medieval fortifications and Europe’s narrowest house. We crossed a portion of the Novy Most (New Bridge) across the Danube featuring a UFO-like tower restaurant.

3.     We had a nice espresso and pastry in a café on the main square while waiting for our bus. It was there we encountered a number of bronze statues including a member of Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. Apparently he was there in 1805 after his victory in the Battle of Austerlitz. Too bad we missed him.
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Comments

Kacper Kalin on

Thanks for the fresh news from your Trip. You both look beautiful and certainly enjoying yourself in the charms of your Central European exploration. All The Best and I am waiting to see more news.

Kate on

sounds unreal!

Waldo on

Nice. But where are the FST green glasses? Don't you want to beat me? :)

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