“So how was Czechoslovakia?”
“Where did you go again?”, “Czechoslovakia, or somewhere right?”
These were just a few questions I had to answer with people who are a little geographically challenged in my life. Trying not to roll my eyes I responded, ” I went to Prague, Czech Republic. I also visited Bratislava, Slovakia. They have been two independent countries for over TWENTY years.” (Big smile on my face)
Yes, the Czech Republic is a little underrated and Slovakia is not exactly at the top of most people’s bucket list. Nonetheless I thought it was terrific for the program to include a half day trip through Bratislava. If I am learning about the Czech Republic I must know a little bit about Slovakia. The Czech Republic and Slovakia are a package deal. You cannot spoil one and ignore the other! That is not fair!
Here is a short clip highlighting how beautiful Bratislava is:
I only recommend spending a day or two in Bratislava because it is a little small and they use the Euro which can get expensive after awhile. If you are backpacking in that area I would suggest that you take a bus or train to Bratislava, hop off, and catch a later transit to wherever you were in-route to go to.
There is some interesting history and nice people out during the day. I have read some stories about Bratislava not being the safest country, but for my short experience there it was nothing but hospitable and friendly.
I had a delicious lunch at Slovak Pub that provided excellent service and then I walked around the small downtown area.
While I was observing the architecture I wondered why it did not have as many pretty buildings like Prague. That is because the communists destroyed most of the historic buildings by replacing them with big, ugly, square cement buildings.
The communists had a horrific impact on Bratislava, and that is why I think it is worth visiting. If you are a traveler then it is good to understand the dark history of certain countries rather than only seeking out the beauty for personal satisfaction. I read an interesting article about communism tourism with Bratislava being one of the main ones in particular from The Daily.Sk, The Communism Past; Tours with a Difference by Joanna Eckersly and I think Jo Brown’s post, Bratislava – juxtaposition of old, new and communist explains her experience in Bratislava beautifully.
My tour had officially ended which directed me back to Prague. My next post will be about Munich, Germany. I visited Munich a couple weeks later during the World Cup 2014. You can imagine how intense that was right before they won the World Cup!
Here are some links to help guide you on your trip to Bratislava, Slovakia: