Our Euro trip began from New Delhi where we boarded Air India’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Vienna. After the longest flight travel of my life till date we landed in the Austrian capital and completed immigration. The young man with a handlebar shaped mustache said “Welcome to Europe” !!
We then took a 1 hour drive to the Slovakia’s capital Bratislava. We finished with dinner and checked into the hotel. I inquired the receptionist regarding any night exploration if possible in the Slovak Capital. She suggested to explore the Old town and UFO bridge area for a perfect spot if I am willing to walk a few kilometers. The lady explained me how to take the tickets before boarding the bus. The ticket vending machines were present in the stand itself. We crossed the square and headed to the bus stand. The bus number 35, routed towards our destination was about to come at 10.30 pm. With two minutes in hand, it was a crisis situation as everything was written in Slovak language and there was no one to help. With no clue of proceeding for two tickets at once, i had to put a Euro in the vending machines hoping to get a 24 cent ticket. The vending machine successfully delivered the ticket with remaining change. In the meantime the bus arrived. So we had to resort to Bollywood style to stop the bus and get the second ticket and hopped on to the bus. After validating the tickets we headed to Au Park, the last stop of the bus.
In 15 minutes we reached Au park. Only MacDonald’s was open that late night. We walked across the boulevard and reached the bridge and climbed up to reach the road over it. There was no footpath. The UFO tower bridge had a revolving restaurant on its top which provided a panoramic view of the city and castle. The Bratislava Hrad was right in front. ‘Hrad’ is the Czech and Slovak word for castle with a lot of stress on the hrrrrr. We walked along the narrow area on the road. A police van (Policia) stopped us to inform thatwas not a walking area and we should take the walkway below the bridge. We retraced out path and headed under the bridge along the walkway. The castle was right in front overlooking the Danube river. We crossed river and headed to old town area.
The underpass leading to the main square had a lot of graffiti. In front was the iconic St. Martin’s Church. We walked along the old town streets and crossed to the other side. It was 12 am in the night and all the cafes were shutting down. The party goers were on the way back home. We walked till the main road. Spotting India’s flag on the streets of Bratislava added more to the joy. It was the Indian Embassy. In the next 30 minutes we followed Google map and made our way back to the hotel at around 1.00 am. It was a good introduction to our daily night ventures in the coming days in Europe.
More on the East Europe trip coming tomorrow.
How to reach–
- Bratislava is centrally located in East Europe.
- Vienna (Austria) is 80 km (1.5 hr) drive in regular traffic.
- Budapest (Hungary) is 200 km
Sightseeing in Bratislava–
- Bratislava Castle
- Old town square and church
- St Martin’s Church
- St Michael’s Gate
- Plenty of museums around the city
- Danube river cruise