We left Vienna at 8 am on the 14th of April. Our final destination was Budapest, Hungary but we would be travelling through Slovakia to get there. This would be the shortest driving day of the entire trip at four hours. Our stop in Slovakia was its capital Bratislava.
The first place we stopped was at Bratislava Castle so that we could get the view from the castle as well as see it. We did not go inside it but the quick stop we made gave us a chance to take photos and look around.
This view from the castle shows the bridge we had to cross to get there. This bridge is called Most Slovenského národného povstania or in English the Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising. This is a bit of a mouthful so most people call it Most SNP or the UFO Bridge. The UFO flying saucer shaped disc at the top of the bridge is actually a restaurant which is appropriately named UFO.
The site of Bratislava Castle was occupied throughout the Bronze and Stone ages but it wasn't until the 10th century that a stone castle was actually constructed. The castle changed styles over the centuries and became a prestigious royal seat under Queen Marie Theresa. In 1811 the castle was destroyed by fire and lay in ruins until being rebuilt in the 1950's. So the castle that we saw was not as ancient as it looked.
We got back onto the coach and were driven down into the city where we were dropped off for a few hours so that we could explore in our free time.
In order to get to the main squares we passed under Michael's Gate which is the only city gate that has been preserved of the medieval fortifications and ranks among the oldest town buildings.
Josie and I headed off from the group in search of cake and some warm drinks. Not knowing much Slovakian. I managed to order a ginger ale but did not get the dessert. Giving up on it, we wandered through the city admiring the buildings, fountains and abundance of weird statues.
A child on his shoulder and a snail at his feet! Who could his be? Hans Christian Andersen, of course...
I found a store selling some Mucha items and couldn't resist picking up a fan, music box and tiles with his works on them. Happy with my souvenirs, we headed back to the bus to head for Budapest.