Arrived in Bratislava we take an expensive taxi to the Fukas office at Medená 10, near the Danube, to get the keys to our apartment. From there we take tram 8 and walk along with the presidential palace to Lermontovova 3. Our apartment is spacious, with a large bed, a dining table, a big fridge, and the toilet and bathroom separated. Only the television doesn’t function yet.
It is warm: 34,5 oC! We walk to the old city: Michael’s Gate, Trinity Church, a bridge with love locks, a pop concert, and the town hall. Helas, at 19:02 the tourist office proves to be closed two minutes ago.
We dine at Bratislava Flagship, as advised by the Fukas lady, on its terrace near the green SNP square. The elder waitress is from Novi Sad, we speak Serbian, and she brings zemiak gulky (potato bullets) filled with minced meat, a goat cheese salad, and pastries for dessert.
We start at exactly noon, walking to Slavín hill. This is a big WW 2 monument, the Vojenský pamätník, for nearly seven thousand fallen Soviet soldiers. A wall bears five thousand names and the officers have got an extra tombstone, sometimes with a portrait. An extended labyrinth on the hill brings us down into the town.
The tourist office provides us with the train schemes to both Vienna and Košice. Near the Danube bank, we find the Hviezdoslavovo square: all along under its trees stretches a ditch with fountains. We each drink half a liter of citron cider and Tania will shop for souvenirs. In that hour I discover the city: a book antiquarian, a vegan tea house deep down in a shelter, and houses where Mozart and Liszt performed at their ages of six and nine. We find each other again near the fountains. At Panská 8 we dine, trout and chicken in Roquefort sauce, together with a family from Catania.
Musicians heard: a Hungarian girl very quick with her xylophone, and a man very slow with his harp (‘270 euros pension a month’). On Rudnayovo square a sixties rock band plays Born to be wild.
We return to our apartment with apple cider and pear cider. (e.h.)
Hrad has been restored recently in brilliant white color after a fire took place ... two hundred years ago. We walk in a circle, from the north side to the entrance at the south side. The inner court is quiet. For the museum they ask ‘ticket Madame’, at the chic terrace we drink a liter of berry lemonade. On the east side finally, we cross a highway, to admire a huge portrait gallery of a dozen kings and the St. Martin’s church.
Lunch we take again in ‘our’ restaurant, at Panska 8: a kalte Platte and a greek salad. Tania will shop again: a toy bee for Mascha. I will relax again at the Hviezdoslavovo square, with my bare feet in the cool water of its hundred yards’ fountains and with a few ice creams. Here are concerts by the xylophone girl (Vivaldi and Bach) and a fanfare oompa. Tania returns, and then a group of US youngsters arrives, drumming and jumping, shouting: ‘Enjoy our culture (!)’
At the bridge with the love locks, we attend a literature quiz. Bye, stare Mesto. (e.h.)