City walk

The night was warm and a new bed to get used to. The fan was on the whole night. I want my air condition back. My alarm went off at eight. I have nothing in the house for breakfast, so reading newspapers kills the time before a nice shower and then the 10:00 meeting with the Free Waling Tour group, just 50 meters from my AirBnB. Perfect placement. Again the first day and getting an impression with this city walk. But before the meetup my first geocache in Slovakia and a new country (no. 36) on the list.

The weather is overcast and not too warm which is a welcome change. There are quite som people meeting up, but this is for two different tours. I have booked the essential tour to get to know Bratislava. The tour will take about 2,5 hours.

We start at the main square (where I live) and then walk through parts of the city center towards the opera house. A lot of history in this city. From the opera house to the cathedral, learning a little bit about Easter traditions for the young people. Then along the city wall.

Standing on the bridge over one of the main roads passing through Bratislava. The road was were the communists build it – and removed the Jewish quarters for it (and only that). And to make it “perfect” they build a ramp for cars just to remove the Synagogue.

On the other side we start climbing up a hill towards the fortress. We found the steepest hill and then some stairs on top of it. Of course there is a nicer way on the other side that we go down. Free training. There is a very diverse history of the city and Slovakia. It is impossible to repeat all of it. A great vie over three countries. We can see the Austrian alps and Hungary from there.

The inner city/old town that we did not go through too much (because that is a different tour) is compact and very walkable. It is also very touristy and you find a lot of souvenir shops and restaurants/cafes.

A short trip goes back down through the pedestrian zone towards the place we started – in front of my AirBnB. Jakob our guide gives us some tips for places to eat at and some tips for things to do. And I go my way after tipping.The weather forecast is good for the rest of the day – so time for a little tour.

Hrad Devin

My plan is now to go to Hrad Devin or Devin Castle in English. The castle was built between 864 and 15th century and has a long history. To get there I have to buy a ticket for the bus. Easiest is the IDS BK app for local public transport. A 72 hour ticket costs 9,80 Euro and is bought fast. Easy app. I have to take bus no. 29 from Most SNP. The ride is about 15 minutes (10 km).

I arrive at Devin and it is still a 1,1 km walk through the small village. You can see the majestic castle sit on the hilltop watching over the Danube river and Austria. You have to pay an admission fee of 8 Euro to visit the castle. Definitely more expensive here than in Portugal. And another mountain to climb. Why can’t they build nice castles on ground level…

Thinking about the weather forecast and looking towards Austria – there is a black wall of clouds on the way and I hear some rumbling. No, not with me, I just payed the admission and I will visit the castle. Of course I left the umbrella at home because of the sun that we should have. I wouldn’t have helped.

When I am finally up the hill – huffing and puffing – I feel big drops of rain in my face. I directly walk into the small exhibition at the first castle building and as soon as my foot is inside the sky opens and empties water over the whole area. A lot of water. People are running to get inside. The slowest are soaked. And all the people in the exhibition raises the temperaturen inside.

I was lucky though and after 10-15 minutes they open the doors again (they closed them because the water came in) and I can finally visit the castle (ruins to be precise).

The castle is the oldest in Slovakia and it has been part in so many fights and of so many empires, that is is best to read on the internet about it.

A beautiful view from the top. The Danube and the Morava river (the border to Austria) run below with dark green water. The thunderstorm that cam through with the dark clouds makes a nice background.

Having a good look around. But then it is time to get down again. A new black cloud is coming nearer. There is a beer garden at the parking lot. A piece of cake in the afternoon as my breakfast, and a radler. And then the sky opens again and it is pouring rain for about 20 minutes. My little umbrella that I left at home wouldn’t have had a chance. But a good reason to stay there for a while.

And after the rain is gone and I paid for my food and drink the sun is out and it is suddenly burning hot. A little walk along the river for about 1,4 km. Very nice. But when I check on Google Maps how to get to the best bus stop I have to go the same way back to where I came from. More walking.

The bus back to the city center and then to the other side of the old town to get to a supermarket to buy some stuff. And then it is time for dinner. Right outside of my AirBnB are two restaurants and one of them was recommended by my guide for two typical Slovakian dishes. The first would be dumplings with sheep cheese, but I had bad luck with that before so I decide to try the second dish he recommended. Fried cheese (it is as healthy as it sounds) with some fries. It was good. And heavy.

When I pay I hear someone calling behind me. My guide from the morning and another guide are sitting there eating what I had. So he was not kidding when he recommended the food.

Time to get upstairs and let the day end with some internet, videos and writing the blog.

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