An Unexpected Trip to Bratislava
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. Other than it was once known as the better half of Czech Republic when they were still Czechoslovakia, I absolutely know nothing about Slovakia. That's why when we visited Bratislava, the capital of the country, I immediately succumbed to the idea of traversing it using the older but more effective method of walking endlessly to cover what we can given our limited time in the place.
We started our journey in Hviezdoslavovo námestie, one of the two main squares of Bratislava. We set foot at the side where the Park Inn by Radisson Danube was and then walked the whole stretch until we reached the magnificent and historical Slovak National Theatre at the end. The half white, half brick structure was even made more beautiful with the whiter snow that looked structurally clumped together at its foot and the striking blue skies that was adorning its crown.
Since we do not intend to watch a play or skate to our hearts' content in the rink across the theater, we just navigated to our left and took the road more traveled that is Rybárska brána. The street was teeming with people walking along the surfaced, tiled and narrow inside roads of the Old Town. A little walk from it led us already to one of the most sought after artwork in Bratislava: the man in the manhole. This is just one of the many interesting and quirky artworks/sculptures you can find around here. If I may suggest, you can possibly initiate also a hunting game with your travel mates in which the person (or pair) who would be able to find the most number of sculptures around the vicinity wins. This warrants proper documentation but of course. So better tow your camera with you always or partner with someone who has a camera to up your stakes at winning. In our case, we only saw a measly four artworks which I think could easily be surpassed by anyone who is neither immersed in a very cold environment nor a hot one.
We walked some more, idly passing by Hlavné námestie and the colorful bear and going through Františkánska to see the Kostol Uršulínok at the end of it. Turning right to Uršulínska did we spot a pale pink and white infrastructure at the end which we later found out was a palace. Primate's Palace in Primate's Square is what it is called and it is a neoclassical palace constructed for the archbishop József Batthyány from 1778 to 1781. In current times, the palace houses large portraits of the Hapsburg royalty and jaw-dropping chandeliers which are all treats to see especially if you are into grandiose interiors or an ardent fan of the Hapsburgs.
Moving on along Uršulínska and reaching a dead end did we find ourselves standing in the middle of Laurinská. From there we turned to our right to finish the last leg of our tour and so that we could just circle back to where we started. You will find two more sculptures along this street; one of a cool girl leaning on a pole and one of a man looking at his watch. Hint: You can find them near a pharmacy which name had already escaped my mind. Looking back, I think it was the only pharmacy along that stretch so I bet you won't have a problem looking for it.
Finding Rybárska brána again and walking back along the lively Hviesdoslavovo námestie, I was able to caught sight of this amazing infrastructure perched on a hill. Because of its location, anyone would immediately think that this structure is of utmost importance. Well, it is more than just important. Much like every castle in Europe, the Bratislava Castle takes command and warrants attention from atop. Going there is no easy trek, so you may want to skip the walk and opt to ride instead. A vehicle is your bestfriend and best companion to reach the castle. Once you are up there, all you can ever think about was the magnificent view ahead of you. Contrast to the chaotic nature of the tourists taking picture at the top, everything was just calm from up there looking down. With the cold breeze lapping on my freezing cheeks and the negative degree weather gnawing on my bare skin, I still feel the warmth and coziness that this place has been born with. Although our trip lasted for just a few hours, I was happy to be able to meet you, Bratislava. You are more than what I could have ever asked for.