Travel Journal

A burger in Bratislava

(Saturday 25 October 2014) by Mariken
Hello Bratislava!
Hello Bratislava!
I ate a burger last night. Wow, stop the world. Yes, but normally I eat pasta with tomato sauce and sardines or a variation thereof. Except for those times that I have a real kitchen at my disposal, and then I try to cook healthy. But last night I ate a burger. And it was good. Surprisingly, sinfully good.

Like Bratislava. I like Bratislava, even though it is the capital of Slovakia, which I do not like that much. Although I know Slovakia and the Czech Republic are nowadays two fully independent, sovereign nations, to me Slovakia feels like the schmutzige little sister of the Czech Republic. But even though Bratislava is not as polished as its Czech counterpart Prague, I like it. Maybe because it is not as polished. Wedged between Austria and Hungary, Bratislava is largely bypassed by tourists. That does not mean that we are the only visitors, certainly not. And Bratislava does have its fair share of backpacker hostels, booze shops and cheesy nightclubs. But the large tourist crowds go to (one of) the 'big three' - Prague, Vienna and/or Budapest - instead. And that leaves Bratislava in the middle, largely untouched (by tourists at least, do not get me started about the damage communism has done here), like the eye of a storm.

Originally, we intended to skip Bratislava as well. As said, we are not big fans of Slovakia, and we did not feel like driving in a big, unknown city again. We had our share of stress in Brno already and that was enough for our tastes, even though Brno turned out to be worth it. Instead, we went to Hungary, which - for the three days we spent there - left a positive impression. However, we quickly learned that 23 October is a major Public Holiday, and since that would be a Thursday this year, many Hungarians would take the Friday off as well, to celebrate a long weekend of festivities. We were told that accommodation prices would rise to sky-high levels, that is, if accommodation would even be available. Therefore, we decided to swallow our prejudices and head for Bratislava to survive this long weekend and return to Hungary after life had returned to normal again. And I am happy we did.

The Peeper
The Peeper
Although surrounded by huge, concrete reminders of the communist days, Bratislava has a nice Old Town, which is small enough to cover from east to west on foot in 10 minutes. Add another 10 minutes and you have walked from north to south, thereby crossing the main square for the second time (:-p), as well. In it are crammed about a million cool coffee bars in every style imaginable, from grandmotherly cosy to urban chic. Tea and chocolate are largely available as are cooking books in all shapes and sizes, colours and flavours. I am in heaven (during the day at least because, having turned back time 10 years or so, we are currently sleeping in dorm beds again and our dorm contains a huge snorer. Part of the fun, so to speak. Fortunately, we got vouchers for a free drink which turned out to be a shot of heavy liquor, always a good anaesthetizer.), even though it reminds me that I am suffering from a culinary frustration.

So, to make up for that frustration (hah!), I ate a burger last night. And is was good. Like Bratislava, unexpectedly, surprisingly good. :-*

  • oog by Marianne
  • Overal peepers by Aafke

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