Even though I just arrived in Bratislava in Slovakia yesterday afternoon I was on to another country this afternoon.
Bratislava isn’t really a place people stay for a prolonged amount of time.
Not that it’s bad or anything like that. It’s just always treated as a day trip from Vienna.
That day trip aspect of Bratislava was readily evident this morning as I headed out of my hostel into the old town.
Tour group after tour group had invaded.
I missed them yesterday because I only arrived in the late afternoon after they had all returned back to Vienna.
With the walking tour of the old town yesterday I had seen pretty much everything in the old town.
There were, however, a couple of castles to see outside of the old town…
The first castle – Hrad Bratislava – is actually just on the edge of the old town and just a half hour walk away.
Mind you the walk is all uphill but at least it wasn’t raining today.
Hrad Bratislava is the castle you see in every photo ever taken of Bratislava.
It’s the castle I mentioned yesterday that had survived attack after attack only to be burned down by drunken Italian soldiers in the early 1800s.
It actually wan’t rebuilt again until 1953 and now stands as the most recognizable building in the country.
So I did the hike up to the castle and I knew I had arrived when I saw the tour buses parked outside.
Anyway, I’ve read many times to not bother going inside and, instead, just take in the beauty of the building and the view of the city it affords.
The other castle, Hrad Devin. is further out of town. Actually quite a bit further as you have to catch a bus for half an hour to get to it.
Unlike the first castle, Devin is actually just ruins of a 1000 year old fortress. It used to be a strategic stronghold as it’s on a hilltop at the fork of the Danube and Morava rivers.
For me, I’ll take ancient ruins over a reconstructed (albeit beautiful) standing castle any day.
Because it’s out of the city and not on most “to-do” lists for day tours to the city the place only had a handful of tourists and for most of my hour there I was on my own.
After getting back into town and grabbing a sandwich from a little shop, I headed back to the hostel to get all my stuff together to leave.
By 4pm I was on a bus heading to Vienna which is actually only an hour away.
A couple of months ago I had bought a ticket to a 7pm performance of the Vienna Boys Choir and I timed it so I would get to the hostel with enough time to drop off my stuff and head leisurely over to the theatre.
The bus actually took a half hour longer so I only checked into my hostel at 6pm. No worries though as I still had plenty of time to get to the theatre.
I dropped off my stuff, dressed up in my “nice” travelling clothes, and went straight back to the metro station.
It was only as I was pulling into the metro station where I was getting off that I thought to double check my ticket.
My heart sank…
The performance was at 5:30!
I got off the metro and just kind of stood there on the empty platform.
So stupid! I felt so defeated! Not only did I just throw $60 away but now I had absolutely no plan for tonight.
After gathering myself together I popped back on the metro in search of dinner.
I thought going to the central station in the middle of town would be a good idea as there would be plenty of restaurants there.
Problem was I forgot that the center of town also means it’s the most touristy area which means a lack of true Austrian restaurants and instead an overwhelming amount of high priced “touristy” places.
After I walked around a bit I decided to just head back to the area where my hostel is as it’s out of the main center of town.
I went back to the hostel and they pointed me to a restaurant just down the street.
For the second time this week I sat down at a restaurant only to leave it a few minutes later because of all the people smoking in it.
Ick, smoking is so gross!
So, after literally more than hour of walking back and forth and still not eating I gave up and just went to a little Kebab/Pizza/Schnitzel place next door.
I order a Schnitzel burger with fries and a coke for 5 euros ($7) and just sat there revisiting the frustration of how the night ended up.
It didn’t help that I was also feeling overwhelmed by how fast these days are going and that I’m going city to city so quickly.
To give you an idea of where my head was at – I had to still figure out what to do during the day (my only day) in Vienna and then I had to book my hostel for tomorrow night in Budapest plus figure out how and when I’m getting there.
Yeah, so I had all this stuff swirling in my head added to the frustration of the night and I was probably at my lowest point of this trip.
After dinner though things started to turn around…
The task of figuring out what to do in Vienna tomorrow was solved when I saw a glorious poster on the wall at the hostel promoting a free walking tour done through their sister hostel in town.
Now, I had looked and looked online for a free walking tour before I headed here and just couldn’t find one so when I saw this poster it was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
Yay, I have Vienna figured out.
Now there was only the matter of booking my hostel and transport to Budapest.
Done and done.
I’ll tell ya – the day started off amazing with the castles and then I hit that major bump this evening but now I’m back on track and ready to tackle the day tomorrow.