Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bratislava - Day 1: Getting the Lay of the Land

Our first true day in Bratislava was actually and thankfully pretty uneventful! We spent the day touring the downtown and old town areas with Jan. He is a very good tour guide - both patient and detailed.

He has kindly provided us with a stack of bus tickets to utilize while we are staying here. He has also provided us with a spare set of house keys as he is leaving tomorrow.

Bratislava is a beautiful city - it is not big - but it thinks and acts like a big city. Loaded with culture and cultural events - you can see that it’s history and future is firmly rooted in the arts.

Since it is so close to Vienna - Bratislava sports a very strong tourist trade - with Europeans looking to take advantage of the strong currency exchange. Jan points this out at a mall he takes us to where most of the visitors are foreigners capitalizing on some of the great deals they have to offer.

The architecture in Bratislava is simply amazing - a nice mixture of old and new - with beautiful churches set to the backdrop of gleaming buildings - truly a very metropolitan city. One that everyone is obviously very proud of as it is so clean and free of litter or graffiti. There is some - no doubt - but there always seems to be someone working on picking up the trash or cleaning off the markings.

Our day tomorrow starts early - our first train trip across Europe to Salzburg! Jan is kind enough to arrange a taxi to the station (we don’t want to take a chance on the buses just yet - we have a tight schedule tomorrow) - so by 9:00 PM - we are pretty much out like lights - with a wake up scheduled for 4:30 AM! Europe by rail awaits!!

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