Thursday, 13 September 2012

Bratislava - a capital place

Bratislava Hrad

Bratislava’s centre is another of those cities where the old buildings have been largely preserved and become museum pieces that have little to do with the day to day life of most of the people who live around it. There are signs of prosperity outside the tourist centre, however there are also signs of the soviet legacy.
I quite liked the centre as it is not too big and not too showy. Although, as usual, the castles and churches are a reminder that in the past the wealth and power rested with the rulers and the church and were probably built at the cost of the lives of the rest of the people.
The main squares and the streets around it in the ‘Historical Centre’ were lively with tourists, craft stalls  and street musicians. 
Everyday scene in the streets of Bratislava

Bratislava Hrad from across the Danube

P95 and 6.50 Euro
One major soviet legacy is the busy dual carriageway that chops the city centre in two – separating St Martin’s Cathedral from the Bratislava Hrad (Castle) quite brutally – and introducing a continuous roar of traffic. The road as it crosses the river has a restaurant at the top of a tower – I decided against bagging the tower as it is only a P95 and costs 6.50 Euros. 

So, instead, I cycled alongside the rivers  Danube and Morava on the Slovakian side to Devin castle, up on a crag overlooking where the rivers meet. Although the idea of following those rivers sounds romantic it wasn’t that much different an experience as cycling the towpath on the Huddersfield  Narrow canal. However, you cannot look across to Austria from Marsden. 
Just one word of advice to anyone thinking of using the Bratislava campsite near Zlate piesky - don't. It was dirty, noisy and they obviously have serious problems with security - it has its own police station - not even with wi-fi as a compensation. Shame, as I used a couple of other campsites in Slovakia and they were fine - and really cheap.

Devin and the Danube
Devin Hrad
A shop for baggers.

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