Dear God I am in Eastern Europe!

Trip Start Jun 08, 2008
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17
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Trip End Jul 09, 2008


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Flag of Slovakia  , Bratislava,
Friday, June 27, 2008

Looking back on our past public transportation disasters, we should have seen this one coming.  We had the lovely experience of a three hour train delay, and when the train finally did come they decided to switch tracks without announcing it.  We had to hop across the rail road tracks and dodge incoming trains to just barely make it onto the train, which isn't that easy with 40 or so pounds on your back.   
 
I'm not to sure why we decided to add Bratislava onto our itinerary.  I mean, there were more cities we could have visited in Czech Republic or we could have gone to Austria for a while instead.  My family in Poland was even quite confused as to why I would go to Bratislava.  I'd like to say that we ventured into Slovakia to experience the unknown, but honestly I think it had more to do with the movie Eurotrip.  During our entire three hour delay and several hour train ride  all we did was repeat lines from the movie such as, "Enjoy Bratislava, it's good you come in summer, it can get very depressing in winter" or "yes train is coming very soon, they are building it now" or "Dear god, I am in Eastern Europe."  We must have looked like idiots to the other commuters.
 
But I have got to say that Bratislava is without a doubt a beautiful city, with a exceptionally preserved Old Town area.  It's a charming little city with your usual amounts of street performers and musicians.  It actually reminded me a lot of Prague, but in a miniature more subdued way.  Though it felt like you could see everything in Bratislava in one day, we spent three full days roaming the city.  The people were quite friendly in their own laid back way, giving off the persona that if it will be it will be; quite the different experience from the persona Czechs give off.
 
Our days in this city were spent exploring the Old Town area and even making the trek up to Bratislava Castle a few times.  Unfortunately, the castle was under renovation and we didn't get to see it all but it seemed like quite a nice place to stroll about; in fact you can even see Austria from on point of the castle.  One day we stumbled upon the EuroCultured festival, taking place directly in front of the Slovak National Theater.  There were upwards of twenty graffiti artists doing insane collaboration pieces on this huge planks of wood, they did some great work that one would be hard pressed to find in the states. 
 
Perhaps the most exciting part of my stay in Bratislava was when we walked into the middle of a Lemko wedding in the middle of the park.  Being Lemko myself I immediately recognized the Lemko language they were all speaking, which is a distinct dialect or sub group of Ukrainian.  The costumes, the music, and the dance all were from Lemko traditions and I became greatly excited.  I proceeded to explain our history to a seemingly unenthused Johnny and any other passing tourist who would listen to me.
 
Our nights in Bratislava were spent going on pub crawls, where we would try to have a beer and a shot in each pub on the main strip.  This led to several drunken nights where we had some gems of conversations...
 
Me:         "How much is the beer here?"
Johnny:   "49 Slovakian krowns."
Me:         "Shit, that's a lot."
Johnny:   "Dude, you're an idiot.  That's like two bucks."
 
In a random pub we wanted to order some shots, we saw Um on the menu and decided to order that no knowing what it was.  He got confused looked at us, looked at the menu obviously not knowing what the hell Um was and responded with these words, "Mozhe byt."  If you understand any Slavic language you'll understand why it's so funny and why it sums up the people of Bratislava perfectly. 
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