I got a bus from Prague to Bratislava on the 30th of January. They leave pretty regularly. It is 10 euros cheaper than a train. I had a pleasant ride. I sat next to a Czech man going to Spain to surprise his girlfriend that lives there. We had a great conversation.
I was invited to spend New Years eve in Bratislava with one of my German friends, B, and her friends. Everyone was so confused,
But it was fun and a nice city.
I waited at the bus station for my friends in Bratislava from Prague. We got an airbnb that was a bit out of town and so we went directly into the city. We saw the remaining Christmas markets and some other sites then went to Lemontree Sky Bar. A really lovely place with a great view of the city.
The cocktail prices are average to western Europe/North America standards, but for central/eastern they were a bit expensive. But delicious!
We had some soup and took pictures of the view then went back to the apartment.
The next day, we roamed around. Bratislava is a small town and one can easily see everything in a day. We went up to the castle for a nice view of the city, but the castle itself was rebuilt in 1953 so it was pretty new. We also then saw the main cathedral.
We tried getting some typical local food, but the waiter at the restaurant told us they were out of it so we had to get something else, but it was still delicious!
We went back to the apartment and got ready for New years Eve. It felt so backwards the order in which they celebrate here. Because the nightlife in Europe is later they watch the fireworks first then go out versus in the States we go out then watch the fireworks.
So we went to the old green bridge and watched the fireworks then went out. A good night of laughs and dancing.
We were negotiating the price to enter and so my friend and I decided to speak Spanish because they know English. One of the bouncers spoke Spanish so that was slightly embarrassing, but we got the price cut.
That morning, it snowed. A beautiful way to bring in the New Year. Everything was so white and calm. My friend and I bid farewell to the other two friends as they were heading to Vienna and we were heading to Munich (I was to get off in Salzburg). It was awesome because I was able to be on the same train as my friend for the whole way.
I had a great time in Bratislava with them! They were trying to teach me some German words and we came to realize that there are a lot of German words that have no English equivalent or we have a phrase versus one word. The guy friend asked,
“Are there any words in English that we don’t have in German?”
It was so funny because I have no idea since I don’t speak German.
Sometimes, due to logical process of elimination, I would understand when they spoke German. Simple things like don’t fill it up all the way. Or we were talking about water sports and the guy friend said a German word that I assumed was pool so I said it. Everyone was surprised.
“Yeah, it means pool!” This led them to believe I secretly knew German.
My hostel in Salzburg was ok. It was huge and more of a hotel type. They really encourage you to eat at their restaurant for breakfast and dinner. There was barely a kitchen. The showers were really nice, but the toilets could have used more work.
The rooms were quite small, but the beds were comfortable and they had huge lockers. I was feeling under the weather so I did a lot of sleeping. Which was great most of the time. I had some inconsiderate roommates, but that’s what happens at a hostel.
In terms of the actual city, Salzburg was amazing! It was snowing there too and everything was beautiful. It’s the hometown of Mozart and Sound of Music so I visited those places. Mozart has a museum at his birth home then in his childhood home. Sound of Music filming locations are open to the public for free in various spots.
I got the Salzburg card for 48 hours, which gave me free entrance to numerous things and free public transportation. I easily made up the price. It’s worth it.
I went up to the castle on top of the hill and it offered a nice view of the city and the museum inside was interesting, but basically typical medieval stuff. There was a room on torture etc, but like I said it was free.
I saw some churches. One church is on a hill across from the castle and that had a lovely view. The climb to that is quite steep. There is a climb to the castle, but it’s pretty flat or you can ride the tram, which is included in the card. Near the castle is the site of Maria’s convent from the movie.
I also went to this mountain about 25 minutes outside of town and rode the cable car to the top. Unfortunately, it was very foggy and I couldn’t see the view, but it was cool being in the snow. I just wanted to go skiing! The cable car is 23 euros, but it’s included in the Salzurg card.
Schloss Hellbrunn is on the way to the cable car so I also stopped there. Here is the pavilion from the Sound of Music- 16 going on 17. The actual palace was closed, but I could walk around the grounds. Again, the snow made it so beautiful.
Finally, I stopped at another palace, in the city, Schloss Mirabel, which was the place of the doe re mi steps in the movie.
It was crazy though because I couldn’t withdraw money in Slovakia, but when I got to Austria I was able to. There might be some hold on that country with certain American banks because my company didn’t put a hold on my card or anything. And when I was walking around the city center with all the tourist shops and regular shops, it took me 20 minutes to find one ATM! It was ridiculous. Usually, they are everywhere.
My original plan was to go to Augsburg, Germany after, but I couldn’t find easy hostels online there. Another idea was Innsbruck, but it’s a popular ski place and the prices were really expensive along with it was slightly out of the way. So I decided to go to Munich and spend more time with my friend.