Diminished team Friend, semi-rested, bravely boarded another train to visit the bordering country of Slovakia. Wait, weren’t we just there? No, that was sLOVEnia, Slovakia is entirely different. The train gods smiled upon us today and delivered us to the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava within a decent timeframe.
Slovakia used to be part of the country with the name Czechoslovakia – but they broke up and now it’s just Czech and Slovakia. This small country was under communist rule for many years until gaining independence in the early 90’s. Since then it has been transforming itself; Bratislava is known as the Detroit of Europe. Except while Detroit is in decline Slovakia is thriving.
Bratislava is centrally located in Europe with a ready workforce. It has attracted a number of businesses, most notably, car manufacturers. The city is expanding in all directions and the unemployment rate is very low, something like 3%. It has all the prerequisites of a charming European town River, castle, old town (with wall remnants) and quirky architecture.
We just had to visit the top of the UFO. The central bridge across the Danube has a big UFO structure on top. It looks like something out of War of the Worlds. It serves absolutely no purpose. It has a restaurant and a lookout. We visited briefly until the blustery winds forced us back down. We all had a small dessert in the restaurant and enjoyed the view of the city below. If you closed your eyes you could feel the wind making this oddity slightly sway. Brody decided it was time to go when he could see the hanging lights swinging.
The picture below is the view from the UFO toilet. Those architects are quite the jokesters.
Although the weather was not very cooperative today it was a perfect way to spend our last day in Europe. Exploring previously unknown cities never gets old. While they all have similarities there are still unique characteristics that make every trip worthwhile. Bratislava had a unique student population. We visited on a day where a number of students groups marched through the city streets in groups of 12-15 being very loud. Vuvuzelas – a global instrument. The best we could gather is each group was collecting money for something. The language barrier really hindered our understanding. The pictures and signs they carried as visual aids did not help at all. Now, loud students is how we will distinguish Bratislava from the others cities.
Now for a good night’s rest before the marathon day of travel back to the United States. We are fed, packed and the cab has been ordered.