Thursday, 27 November 2014

bratislava at christmas

Bratislava is one of those cities you tell people you're going to and they say "oh cool!...where is it?". It definitely doesn't get enough credit, especially since it's cheap and if you go in December it has one of my favourite Christmas Markets. There's also towers to climb, castles to see and a too many cafes and bars to choose from over a 3 night stay. 

Clock tower in Bratislava Old Town Square

My Mum is entirely obsessed with everything winter Christmas related. She was pretty much born in the  wrong hemisphere and I'm afraid her exposure to the delights of Christmas in winter have just fed the beast. Unfortunately (or fortunately, it's all about perspective!) her love for all things Christmas has rubbed off on me and now instead of just going along with it for her I find myself excited entirely on my own and going out of my way to have joyful winter Christmas experiences myself. *GASP*. I've been infected!

The clock tower and Christmas tree lit up at night

Pork bun. Bought from some entertaining guys who spoke no English whatsoever
And so we found ourselves in Bratislava, almost a year after we first planned to go and Ryanair put their foot down and decided we were not allowed. We tricked them this time and arrived by Polski Bus. Highly recommended, given we went from Krakow, via Katowice, and it came to the pricey amount of 132 zloty, also known as 12 pounds each.
Walking the old alleyways of Bratislava

Part of our 2 course Slovakian lunch for about 4 euros

More of alleyways! Can never get enough of these!

Mum in the Old Town

And again!

Bratislava, like many European places, has an old town that is small and walkable and pretty much the only place we spend our time as tourists. Apart from the castle on the hill of course. Our apartment here wasn't so fancy but was within walking distance from the Old Town. It also had a supermarket on the corner which really should have placed their instant coffee in a different place so that I didn't first buy coffee beans and then coffee grounds in an attempt to be more alive in the morning. In other news I invented "fry pan crushed coffee bean coffee that may be slightly weak". Coming to a store near you...any moment now.

Up the old tower over the entrance to the Old Town

Bratislava views!

Me and the castle in the background

In the square once again

Back at the Christmas market once again!

Christmas tree selfie

Chimney cake! Nom.

Then I found this penny-farthing...

It provided much amusement

Mum and I continued our taste testing with pork and chicken buns, fried potatoes with garlic sauce, dumplings and meat with Slovakian carrot sauce, crepes, chimney cake and several kinds of extremely strong gluwein like black cherry and plum. Most of the time we ate at the Christmas Market because it was cheap and had an awesome atmosphere. I was surprised by the amount of good looking bars and cool cafes around the Old Town and I would love to go back and explore more. It was actually better than Krakow for that in a way since they were all in a concentrated area and easily found. I reckon it would be a pretty cool night out as well, and although Mum and I didn't go out like we did in Ireland, we popped into the Irish Bar (someone find me a city without an Irish Bar and I amazed) and I sampled the local beer.

Amazing crepes at a cafe called Punky

These are all over idea why!


The view over Bratislava from the hill

The castle

Staying in Bratislava also gave us the chance to train to Vienna, which is only an hour away. Despite this the change in architecture and price is huge! But I'll cover that  in another post.

Another highly recommendable city, especially if you get the chance to go when the Christmas Markets are on, or just for a weekend getaway. We went our last bit of time there eating goulash with dumplings and delicious cake in preparation for our overnight train to Berlin. A long trip is always an excuse to eat whatever you want! Not that I have trouble finding excuses...

Love the delicious weird dumpling thing they have in this part of the world

CAKE. Nom.


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