**My internet is down right now, so I can’t research the history of the places we visit like I normally do.
Bratislava, Slovakia is an easy hour long drive from Vienna. As I mentioned in the Vienna blog, there is a boat that goes back and forth between the two cities also, but we opted to drive. It was a pretty drive (honestly, I fell asleep during part of it), mostly flat.
It’s interesting going to Eastern European countries because they just have a different feel than Western Europe, most likely because they were under communist rule for so long. They still have pretty churches and stuff, but for the most part, buildings are very “block-ish”. Not ornate, not much detail, pretty much all the same, ugly.
We drove in to Bratislava through a very industrial looking area, that was much more modern than I thought it would be. I guess since the part of Italy we live in is sort of “behind the times” in certain areas, I assume countries like Slovakia will be the same, but it wasn’t. We followed the signs to city center and eventually found our way to old town, which is what we wanted to see.
We saw these row houses when we were driving in to the old town area and they really reminded me of Innsbruck. I love all the colors.
We found a place to park in a little underground garage. I should have taken a picture of it. The parking spots here are definitely designed for tiny European cars. Our smaller SUV has issues getting in to some of the spots and trying to get kids and strollers and stuff out without banging your door into another car is quite a challenge at times.
We parked basically underneath this church and Abbie wanted her picture taken in this doorway. I need to edit it, but I just don’t have time right now.
Abbie loves to lead the way when we’re exploring new places. Luckily she’s pretty good about not getting too far ahead and stopping when we tell her to. Usually.
We stopped in this tiny church (you can see the entrance on the left in the picture above). It was beautiful and it had this round window at the back, which showed that the wall was about 2 feet thick.
I have no clue what this bear was for, but Abbie wanted her picture by it, and she was very intrigued by the stick pigs. She was over there numerous times saying hi to them.
Slovakia was the sixth country Ben’s visited in his 9 short months. (Italy, US, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Slovakia.) He loved it, as you can see. He’s a great little traveler, but kids are pretty easy to travel with at this age in general. They get much more difficult when they’re mobile and have a mind of their own.
We passed through this little market and bought a magnet for our collect, and on the way back to the car we bought the kids t-shirts. Some day I will make a quilt for them with all of t-shirts from all of the places they’ve been when they were younger. Someday.
This was one of the main squares in old town. Abbie was all about getting her picture taken but we took Benj out of the Ergo for a picture on the bench.
We had our little Maclaren umbrella stroller with us on this trip and we decided that this was the last time we try to travel with it. It was a pain in the butt to push over all these cobblestone streets and it’s shorter than our Bob’s, so it’s uncomfortable for Mark to push. Lesson learned there.
If you get off of the beaten path a tiny bit (but still in the old town area) you run across this type of architecture. There is graffiti all over Europe, and some of it is really neat, but the buildings are what gave Bratislava a different feel.
But back on the main path, where things were much better maintained, it was a beautiful city. Even the run down parts were beautiful in their own way.
This little boy is a ham and a half. He loved having lunch at this Irish pub. While we were there, a short parade of some sort of religious group walked by while singing and dancing. I’m not sure if he was terrified or excited, but he was very interested in them. They made a lot of noise.
We should have taken a ride in their little tour “bus” thing, but we didn’t. We were hoping to head home during the kids naptime so they’d sleep in the car, but they didn’t. Oh well.
Apparently there is a restaurant/ look-out area on the round thing on top of the bridge, but I have no clue how you get up there. The castle would have been neat to tour, but we ran out of time. Maybe next time.
Slovakia was a neat country. I would have loved to see more of it, but we wanted to explore Vienna more. On the way home we passed LOTS of people on bikes that were biking a trail right along the road. Novel concept that the Italians don’t quite get. They’d much rather take their half out of the middle of roads, or better yet, ride 2-3 abreast to block the entire lane. It’s great… And that 4-wheeler in the picture on the right? Mark slowed down to let him pull out and the guy actually waved in thanks. It took Mark and I by surprise and made us realize, yet again, how different Italy is from the rest of Europe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one Italian wave in thanks in the almost three years we’ve lived here. That’s just not their style, which is why I much prefer Austria.