For the last couple of years the corners of our vehicle’s windscreen have been decorated with country-specific vignettes, the annual highway access sticker common in much of Europe. This year it’s the Austrian vignette in the upper right; the Czech vignette in the lower left; and for the first time ever, the Slovakian vignette in the upper left. We’re ready for any border crossing; with Hungary we pay-as-we-go, since many destinations can be reached without use of the main highways.
But enough of the boring stuff. A travel goal this year is to explore more of Slovakia, the “gateway to elsewhere” it seems. On Saturday we started working on that goal.
The drive toward Slovakia certainly makes one wish they were elsewhere. The large OMV petrol refinery greets drivers leaving Vienna first.
A few kilometers later windmills dot the landscape. They are only marginally interesting any more to me, and even then, only when they’re spinning.
Old border crossings never, ever disappoint. This is a crossing from Slovakia into Hungary.
Our destination was Čunovo and its modern art museum that juts out into the Danube; on our return we trespassed a little in Rusovce.
We are fans of modern art not because we understand it, but because it makes us smile. This museum made us smile, and its setting was worth the visit alone. Plus, the outside garden and walking paths are dog-friendly! We were so impressed with this little museum that we purchased an annual ticket, to return again and again, and with Clayton Theodore in tow to chase the many birds along the rocky shore.
This is my terrible iPhone panorama from inside the main salon. We could have perched upon the benches and watched river traffic for hours.
The curator discovered we were American, and from Washington, D.C. and was excited to share impressions of his recent visit to the Smithsonian, and his upcoming visits to NYC, Boston, and Chicago. This piece is heading to London shortly, and he suggested we enjoy it before it leaves.
And speaking of NYC, this “Evolution” caught our attention.
As did this world map.
A final snap from the garden before we departed.
So about that trespassing. On the return we decided to take the scenic route into Bratislava for a later lunch, with a brief stop in Rusovce to see an old Hapsburg mansion. Seeing something like this from the road just wouldn’t do, so we quickly drove past the “Do Not Enter” signs on the open gates and parked inside for a quick peek. Others were doing the same. Safety in numbers.
The estate was once the home of Hungarian Prince Lonyey and Princess Stephanie, the widow of Crown Prince Rudolph of the Habsburg Empire. In exchange for the exiled safety afforded by the abbey at Pannonhalma
after the war, the prince left the estate to the Benedictine Order. Nazis and Communists had offices in the building, of course. Efforts by remaining family members to return the mansion to the Benedictine Order are being thwarted by the Slovak government, so until there is resolution this beautiful mansion will remain a forlorn treasure tucked into a little village.
Across the lane from the mansion was the Yankee Pub. We passed, opting to sit for lunch at a small and charming local place.
Fooled you! This is not Zander, but Forelle. Still delicious, though.
Afterwards, motoring toward the capital were the panelaks of Petrazalka and the beacons of Bratislava. Soon thereafter, a “quick stop” at the Tesco for dinner (and three bags of other stuff).
Not what you think in the car window adjacent to ours. Miroslav Šatan is a hot shot footballer for one of the Slovakian teams (I had to Google that).
And then, home.