It is possible to get a direct train from Vienna to Budapest, but it seemed rather more adventurous to change in Bratislava. We then had almost 3 hours to look around the capital of Slovakia.
Careful planning had identified the right bus from the station to the old city and mostly by signs we purchased the right tickets. I followed our journey on the 'magic map'. “Next stop” I predicted. Alas, the bus raced straight on South and over the Danube. The next stop was in the midst of a complicated interchange, but we managed to find a way to a bus stop going in the opposite direction. The next bus stopped just where we wanted, but there was no provision for a corresponding stop for Southbound buses.
However, we were now on the edge of the mediaeval part of the city, and it was quite charming. We wandered around the cobbled streets. Some of the first buildings we found were considerably dilapidated, but in the centre of the town and adjacent to St Martin's Cathedral everything was in good repair.
|And the down-pipe goes .... ?|
|Off the main drag.|
|St Martin's Cathedral side entrance.|
Sometimes you stumble across something not in the guide books. In this case it was a photographic exhibition. The camera-hound had set himself the target of snapping every church in Slovakia – all 4,124 of them. Along the way he collected some statistics on the country's places of worship. The one I remember was “Mosques – nil”.
There are dozens of cafes in the old city, and it was easy to find one with an inexpensive daily special. That day was potato soup, well laced with garlic, and chicken with buttered dumplings. Reading the menu was worth price of the meal. It listed 10 reasons for drinking beer, starting with the claim that beer protects you from heart attack. I have photographed the page and will forward the image to anyone who wants this valuable information. Another page, titled the “Ten Beer Commandments”, offered a range of dishes involving beer, such as 'Sausage prepared on beer' and 'Beer cheese served on a toast'. The menu also listed some novel beverages, such as beer brandy.
A modern feature of the city is the quirky sculptures dotted around.
|According to the guide book, this was the first of the unusual figures.|
|How's that for happy?|
We would have liked to explore the castle, but did not have enough time.