Bored with the heat in Vienna a couple of weekends ago and curious about just how wonderful the “Bratislava Tesco” was supposed to be, we caught a morning OBB to Slovakia’s Capital City.  Slovakia is EU, which sadly means we didn’t get a stamp in our passport, as there was no passport check at the frontier line.
In fact, there was nothing near the frontier line. 

Welcome to Slovakia (The Little Big Country.) The main train station may not have seen a face lift since 1989, but it sure was bustling with passengers, tabaks, and Imbiss’.
 As well as a few remnants of the past. 

One of the top tourist agenda items is a visit to Bratislavsky Hrad, the castle.  Of course, the castle is undergoing renovation and is not presently tourable. We choose to admire it from the bus, instead, and in doing so missed our stop for Stare Mesto (Old Town) and headed out to the ‘burbs. Whoops.

 Back in Stare Mesto we walked through surprisingly pretty quiet streets for a Saturday.

The Slovak language bears some similarity to Czech and Polish, which means we were as tongue-tied here as we were in Krakow this past spring.  After eventually making our way to the big disappointment that was Tesco, we decided to have a bite to eat.  We chose a “Traditional Slovak Restaurant” along a very touristy street for lunch.  That is to say, the food was Slovakian, the prices were Tourist-ian. The food was very good, and very plentiful. We asked to take the remainder of our lunch home, because apparently it didn’t occur to us that a heavy plate of hot food on a 95 degree day was not a good idea. 

There’s no better way to walk off a big meal than with a stroll through the Old Town, though. Along the way we passed by a new store, just opening (with a couple of vagabonds sitting in front) selling linen clothing handmade in Serbia.  I was drawn to a beautiful cocoa colored skirt with hand-embroidered trim, and remembering the regret I felt from our trip to Tuscany many years ago when I did not purchase a cypress print that I adored, the skirt became mine.
 

A walk past the castle moat and pretty sights, and we were back on the train for our return trip.  Bratislava, it seems, has come a long way since 1989, and we’re looking forward to the next visit to our new neighbor.