Embracing my inner Slovak: Bratislava

Bratislava, Slovakia

After what seemed like ages of planning and waiting, my friend and I embarked on our Bratislava/Vienna trip in February 2013. We spent four days of embracing our inner Slovak’s (with fur hats and everything!), and it was every bit as amazing as I imagined!

Cold, dull, dreary: perhaps how you’d imagine Bratislava to be? I believe that there’s a lot of prettiness behind what’s deemed to be ugly and for three full days, we wandered round the snowy streets of Bratislava, eating mountains of cake and drinking melted chocolate, and then we did the same in Vienna too!

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a typical “Elle and Laura” holiday if we hadn’t had some minor ‘hiccups’ during our stay… taxi con men driving us somewhere we never wanted to go to, soaking clothes resulting in us seeking refuge in a shopping centre for SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS (and buying matching wellies); and an inexplicable inability to master Slovakian  transport (I’ve lost count the number of times we got on a bus to find out we were heading in the wrong direction) were all featured in our four day stay.

The Danube

Hard day’s shopping

The strangest occurrence of all, which has been relieved many times since then was the thieving gypsy pick-pockets on our last day in Bratislava. My friend and I had been innocently looking around a souvenir shop, but found we couldn’t get out of the shop. Two gypsies had blocked us in, and I turned around to see one with her hand in my bag with my passport, phone, money, everything…

As soon as I realised what was happening, I did the first thing that came to mind: karate chop her. It worked though, as they swore at us before moving off to probably find some more unassuming victims!

What may sound like a disaster of a holiday was actually a whole lot of fun – it was one of those holidays where you just had to go along with it and have a laugh. The amount of cake/cookies/pick’n’mix/melted chocolate we consumed was a huge highlight of the trip; as was a trip to the three storey shopping centre Aupark (where I managed to buy a pair of (fake) fur trimmed boots,  a pretty floral bag, black embellished shorts with Slavic detailing and a delicate cream top all for 140EUR).

We also visited the zoo (which was ridiculously cheap), where we got to see meerkats, tigers, zebras – and hear a lion roar!

What amazed me too was how cheap everything was… we were eating two course meals with a drink for 8EUR (in comparison to our breakfast in Vienna – banana bread and a hot chocolate; which was the same price)… and we got a panini and a melted chocolate for 2.50EUR!

Presidential Palace

Presidential Palace

Our apartment was really impressive too; and even nicer than the pictures showed (which is something that NEVER happens). We booked the apartment on the basis of the swan towels, and were pleased to confirm that they were indeed there. We had chandeliers, a huge bathroom, a balcony… I could easily have stayed there and adopted it as my own private apartment and lived the rest of my life in Bratislava! Plus it was right by the Presidential Palace, which was rather fancy!

Our last night in Bratislava was spent fine dining at an Italian restaurant called Paparazzi, before drinking cocktails at The Sky Bar (complete with a vodka and gummy-bear based cocktail served in a teapot!).

Stepping off the plane back in the UK was fairly depressing, but at least I knew it wasn’t long until I was jetting off again somewhere else.

So you reckon Bratislava is cold, dull and dreary? Granted it’s not the most beautiful city in the world, but it’s well worth a visit, and the lack of tourists means you can experience the city like a local.

I’ll certainly be going back and when I do, will be embracing my inner Slovak once again (fur hat and all!)

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