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Journey to Bratislava in Slovakia – Day 56
Friday 25th September 2009 – Slovakia
Had a brief chat with my room mates before leaving today. Had my breakfast and showered as usual, then packed my things to leave, destination Slovakia, to a hostel called Downtown Backpackers in Bratislava.
I took the subway on several different routes before making it to Vienna West train station where I would continue my journey. It was a little misleading along the way, as I had to leave the subway and walk a little to find the station. Roadworks hampered my already poor judgement, but I got there in the end.
I asked a lady in an information kiosk about how I should travel to Slovakia, and without making any eye contact with me, and giving only one word answers in a very blunt fashion, and in a very disinterested manor, I finally figured what I should be doing. I needed to get a train, simple really. I walked my legs over to the ticket office, the rest of my body followed reluctantly. The lady behind the counter was even more unhelpful, and I thought she was going to hit me for my lack of German language skills. I got my ticket at any rate, and made for the platform where my train was already waiting for me.
The ride was fairly short, and I was actually glad to be leaving Vienna, but then I arrived at the Bratislava train station. I think I arrived into a bad dream. It was heaving, and the signs for the tourist information were leading me in circles. I asked several people before joining a queue for the tickets, figuring I could get my next ticket and ask for the info desk here. It was my turn at the desk now having already waited for 30 minutes, and the girl didn’t speak a word of English. To my luck, a Slovakian guy who was before me did, and he translated for me. We deduced from an awkward conversation that I could get a ticket, but only once I had visited the tourist info desk to get the details of the exact train that I wanted. The guy who had translated then took me to the info desk and wished me luck, cool guy.
I entered the office and asked my questions, the girl being very straight faced, but got the information I desired. I headed over the other side of the corridor to the actual tourist desk where I could ask about directions and sights etc. This time the girl was very helpful and gave me the map and all information, all with a smile on her face. I got some money from the cash machine thinking I needed Slovakian money, but got Euros instead, as this is the currency now, since recently I guess.
I then had to queue another 30 minutes for the ticket again, but when I asked about the train I wanted, she just waved her hands at me and told me to go away in a not so polite manor, in Slovak of course. So off I went, not really knowing what I should do, then found another queue for tickets, how it was different I don’t really know, but I queued for a further 20 minutes before finally getting my train ticket. This was all with my bag on my shoulders, which by now felt like it weighed as much as an elephant, although I couldn’t be completely sure as I have never held an elephant before. I was glad to be getting out of the station as I was very stressed at this point.
If my first impressions of Slovakia were a little negative, I soon changed my mind. It was a little walk to the hostel, and I had to put my bags in the storage room, as I don’t think the rooms were open yet. I didn’t really know what I was to do then, so I set off into the city for some food.
The walk took me to a castle that looked down upon the city, I decided I may as well do some sightseeing while I was out and about. It was very soon that I realised Bratislava is a cool place, lots to see. Most of the women walking by had supermodel looks, and it was a lovely hot day. I soon forgot about my initial reception to the country.
I walked for a few hours, taking in the sights and buying a couple of little bracelets. I also had some lunch and sat watching the supermodels walking by the window, one after the other. I was fully fed and walked further to see more sights, including the river, and the huge new part of the city over the river, with many buildings and office blocks etc. After sitting on a bench for a short while, I made my way back to the hostel to see if I could go to the rooms yet, but first caught up on my diary.
I was able to go to the room and so I made my bed, and made myself at home. It is a room with 8 beds, and a small room to the side with another 2 beds. It is not full yet so I might be alright. I met a couple of people from the room and they seem quite cool. There are two people from London and a kiwi. I got chatting to the kiwi as I made my dinner in the kitchen. I had a spaghetti bolognaise, but from the microwave in this very small kitchen. The rest of the evening was ordinary, just chilling out mostly.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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