In early December 2011 I had a chance to travel to Europe (Bratislava, Slovakia) for work, and I ended up staying the weekend in Bratislava and in nearby Vienna, Austria to do some sightseeing.
Here are some pictures from Bratislava, Slovakia, a very beautiful old city that I recommend as being well worth a visit. The weather was overcast and cold, but I was still fascinated to be there.
This first one shows a series of tall poster images on the support pillars holding up the Novy Most (New Bridge) as it’s about to join street level. I thought the colouring very interesting in the sodium lamps, as well as the seriousness of the faces. I don’ t know who these men are.
The second is of carving of a bearded Knight set into the outside wall of a large church, and a crypt (presumably that of the knight in the carving) located outside the walls of a very old church in Bratislava. This one struck me, as it’s a remarkable combination of ornate carving and a rather odd looking physical posture of the knight who looks like he has difficulty standing (I presume from some old wound or too much time spent astride a horse).
I was very happy to be in Bratislava just in the period leading up to Christmas, as throughout the old town there were Christmas Markets (a very European tradition) comprised of a great number of of small huts, each selling sweets, tree ornaments, decorated cookies, hot cider and wine, Schnitzel and Onions (which smelled amazing, but as my digestion was completely off (due to jet lag, I presume) I didn’t attempt any “street meat” while there). I regret I didn’t try that, but I couldn’t risk feeling any worse.
Throughout the town there were Christmas Carols playing over loudspeakers everywhere, really lovely and beautifully sung. I would have loved to know where I could get some of that music, as it was very melodic, and it would be a great addition to our Christmas tradition to have that playing in our “mix”.
After a long walk (all of it uphill) I got to Bratislava Castle which overlooks the Dunau (Danube) river from atop a rock palisade above the old city. By the time I got there, the drizzle was starting to freeze, and my photo equipment was starting to get more than a little damp. I walked around among the few tourists who had just completed the tour of the interior, took a number of photos outside, and tried to look into the interior but was shooed away by a guard. The castle is comprised of two areas, one of which seems to originally have been a very extensive horse stables, and the other part the castle itself in the shape of a hollow rectangle with a central courtyard. After my long hike uphill, I was damp inside my overcoat and beginning to feel the chill so I headed back into town to find some hot chocolate.
Back in the old town, I did find a cafe that offered hot chocolate. Wow! I thought I have had delicious hot chocolate in the past, but anything I had tasted in the past couldn’t hold a candle to what I had in this cafe!!
This was more like slightly thin chocolate syrup, with a delicious dense chocolate flavour, very much tasting of cocoa . This was something to spend some time savouring, to be eaten with a spoon rather than being drunk like coffee, as we do with Canadian hot chocolate. I was very grateful for a place to sit down and in which to warm up a bit, so I sat by the windows of this cocoa shop watching the locals and the few other tourists milling in the Christmas kiosks set up in the main square. Truly lovely. A Spanish couple sat nearby, so I enjoyed trying to eavesdrop on their conversation.