Our first stop on our interrail trip after leaving Prague was Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We were planning on couch-surfing, but couldn’t find somewhere to crash. Either people were out travelling themselves or already had someone else staying. Guess that’s what to expect when you go in the summer holiday. You won’t be the only one. So we had found Summer Youth Hostel Mlada Garda that rented out rooms over the summer online. We had already paid online, so we just had to show up.
So far so good. Only when we arrived the people there didn’t really have any English. Or any other language that we knew (like some German). We tried to explain that we had already paid, showed our online receipt, but apparently there was some miscommunication. In the end we just decided to pay it again. It wasn’t like it was too expensive, and I doubt we’d ever have made our point. Part of travelling is getting by even with the language barrier.
We got a room with two beds, and it was alright. We already had our sleeping bags with us, so we were alright. There weren’t a duvet or anything, but we had kind of expected that. The room wasn’t too bad, even though it was a little bit dirty. The rooms are so that two rooms share a bathroom, which was fine. Only it turned out we couldn’t lock the bathroom door, let alone close it. Even when we held it closed, there was a huge gap (see photo). It made for an interesting experience, which meant we would always have to hurry and shower. The room that we shared the bathroom with turned out to be a guy. I will say that he was nice enough and it wasn’t really an issue. I found the halls more creepy, white, dirty, and reminding me of some old asylum or something. Also the promised internet didn’t exist, so we went to the nearby McDonald for that.
It was a rather interesting place to stay, and have provided us with a story about what we’ve experienced when travelling. It was definitely not a place that I would recommend to everyone, since you had to be prepared for a little bit of everything. But it proved fine for us, since it was easy to take the tram into the center.
Our first day there we went into town to find a map over the area. Funny enough, we ended up stumbling over one in a fitting room in one of the stores. Then we found internet and figured out all the things/places we wanted to see. Then we looked up the places and information about it, and just took a screenshot of it on our phones. So when we arrived we didn’t need a travel guide or something to tell us about it. We had it ourselves.
Sights we saw:
- Slavín: Took the bus and walked the last bit to the memorial. Seems a little bit like in the middle of nowhere, but has a pretty view over Bratislava.
- Grassalkovich palace
- St. Michael’s gate: The only city gate left from the old fortification of the town.
- Bratislava castle: When the weather is good you should be able to see both Austria and Hungary.
- Franciscan church and monastery: You can find the Saint Reparat relic here.
- St. Martin’s Cathedral: It has some pretty stained glass windows. If you’re not into that you can also go down to the crypts, or see the replica of the Crown of St. Stephen. The cathedral was a coronation church back in the days.
- Bridge SNP: It is also called the UFO bridge since it looks a bit like a UFO hovering over it. SNP stands for Slovenského národného povstania, which means Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising (according to wikipedia).
- Old Town Hall: If you stand outside and look at it, you will find a cannon ball embedded in the tower wall. It date’s back from when Napoleon bombed the city, and is still there today. Keep an eye out, it’s not as big as you might imagine.
- Primatial palace