Khertvisi Castle, Khertvisi, Georgia

Friday, August 10, 2012

Side trip to Bratislava

I made it to Vienna on Saturday, August 28 and was finally back with Sam.  Sam's mom, sister and brother were in Vienna to visit him and to take a nice European vacation, and we spent Sunday together enjoying the city, going to the Music House Museum (a very cool museum, if you're in Vienna), eating lots of delicious food, and watching the new Batman movie ('cause what else are you gonna do in Vienna?).  

On Monday, Sam was in classes for most of the day, trying to get a handle on the whole German thing (it's so weird for him to be studying a language that uses the Latin alphabet!), and the rest of us took a quick day trip to Bratislava, the capital city of neighboring Slovakia.  It was just a short 75-minute cruise down the Danube to reach Bratislava, and the ride alone would have been worth it, even without a very cool city to see on the other end.  

Some old ruins visible from the boat

Just before arriving at the dock in Bratislava, we passed under this bridge, with statues that I mistook for jumpers from further away

The same bridge, from a bit further away

We got a great view of the Bratislava Castle from the river

Our boat!

We docked and then took a speed-walking tour of the city (European 24-hour timetables caused some confusion in purchasing tickets, so we only had a couple of hours in Bratislava before having to board again back to Vienna).  We could have easily enjoyed ourselves in Bratislava for many more hours or days, but it was nice to get a quick taste of another great city.

The National Theater building in one of the town's main squares, lined with lots of restaurants and cafes down the pedestrian boulevard that runs in front of it

Heather and I managed a decently successful self portrait on my camera before she showed me that her iPhone lets you see the picture you're trying to self-portrait.  Hers turned out better, but it seems like cheating to this self-portrait purist

Scott, scoping out the distances to various other cities from this particular spot in Bratislava

Cool statue and cool church.  Not sure what they're called.  There was no time for learning names of things.

I have no idea why that statue was adorned with a hat, but it was.

This guy's hat might have been cooler, though.  I don't think I would have felt very comfortable sitting on that bench for long.  Would you?

Bratislava's old town is really beautiful, and wonderfully pedestrian friendly

In our last few minutes in Bratislava, we decided to try to hike up the hill to the castle (which we could see best from the river).  We got quite the workout in doing so, between the stairs, and the hill, and the sprinting to make it there and back before the boat departed.  It was definitely worth it, though, for the view and to see the castle closer up.  If (when) I go back to Bratislava someday, I'm going to definitely take a tour of this castle.  It looks so cool!

Almost there (puff puff puff)

Turned around view from in front of that gate above.  We walked up a pretty steep hill to get here!

The view of the Danube from the castle.  The river forms the border between Austria and Slovakia here.

A building inside the castle and part of the castle wall

Main castle building

Ceiling inside the gate

Walking back down the hill to make it to our Vienna-bound boat, which we did indeed catch

It was a short trip, one that I had not planned on before coming to Vienna, but one that I am very glad to have taken.  Sam's family did some amazing things during their central Europe trip.  In addition to really doing Vienna justice and seeing tons of museums and sights there, they also went to Bratislava, Slovakia; Prague, Czech Republic; Budapest, Hungary; and Salzburg, Austria.  They got their money's worth on this vacation, I think!

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