A DAY SIGHTSEEING IN BRATISLAVA, CAPITAL OF SLOVAKIA:
Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise – Avalon Waterways – Day 13
This morning we woke up to find our ship already moored in Bratislava. This is a new destination for us and we were very much looking forward to the guided morning tour of the city as it would provide us with a good introduction to the capital of Slovakia.
We had little red tourist trains to take us on our tour of the Old Town. The first stop on this morning’s city tour was Bratislava Castle (Bratislavský hrad). Locals call the Castle the “upside down table” as from a distance you only see the four corner towers sticking up, like the legs of an upside down table. It was a good thing that we had the tourist train to take us up here as the castle sits at the top of a rocky hill, about 100 metres above the Danube.
Bratislava Castle is the seat of the Slovak National Council and within it are collections of the Slovak National Museum including exhibits of ancient treasures and historical artifacts which we unfortunately were not able to visit – no reason provided. The only area opened to us was the castle courtyard, the giftshop (and toilets!). This was disappointing as there was nothing of interest to see within the castle grounds. One consolation was the breathtaking views from the castle terrace. Positioned on the hill, Bratislava Castle overlooks three countries – Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. But being early in the morning, it was a bit chilly and most of us were ready to leave before our planned departure time.
Bratislava Walking TourFrom the castle, our little red train brought us back down to the historical centre where we had a quick tour around the city’s major sights before continuing our sightseeing on foot.
An important historical monument we stopped at was St. Martin’s Cathedral which was consecrated in 1452. From the quite plain exterior, you wouldn’t imagine that 19 coronations took place in this cathedral. On the pavements near the cathedral you’ll see little golden crowns. They mark the route that was taken during the coronation procession. If you wish to re-enact the walk by the medieval kings and queens, the route starts at St. Martin Dom.
A City of Music
At No. 10 Panská Street is the Pálffy Palace. Mozart was only 6 years old when he was invited to give a concert here in 1762. This building was occupied by the Austrian Embassy at the time of our visit but these days it is the Bratislava City Gallery.
In Venturska Ulica you’ll also see a plaque commemorating Franz Liszt. He too gave a concert in Bratislava, at age 9.
Exploring Bratislava Old Town
After the city tour we had the choice of going back to the ship for lunch or staying in town for the afternoon, which we did. During our morning visit we walked past the Paparazzi Cafe at Laurinska 1 where Tony spotted a “fellow photographer” and so we headed back there to have lunch.
Bratislava was not as frantic a place as some of its neighbouring capital cities and here we took time to relax in the old city centre which was more interesting.
Bratislava is located on the banks of the Danube and as our ship was moored close to the city centre, it was an easy walk back.
Back at the ship, our eventful day in Bratislava was followed by an evening filled with musical performance on board. Before midnight, we set sail for Budapest.
Background information on Bratislava here: Bratislava Info-briefing
Photos of Bratislava: Bratislava Photo Gallery
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