Leah Sikes

Designing on the Danube

It's Quiet Uptown: Bratislava

Before I arrived in Vienna, I had done a little bit of research as to where I might want to travel in my spare time. I found a tour to Bratislava, Slovakia, that left Vienna by boat and traveled 45 minutes down the Danube to Bratislava.

Once I got here, I asked Bailey if he would be interested in taking this little day trip with me, and he agreed! I bought the tickets and the whole thing was planned - that is, until I got a call from the company that said the Danube was too high to travel on by boat, so we would be receiving a refund for our tickets and wouldn't be going on our trip after all.

Well, I was disappointed. But after doing a little more digging, I found that train tickets to Bratislava are so cheap, so I bought myself tickets and did some digging about what I might want to do in the city. I found their zoo, and decided to start there and then move to the city center in the afternoon. I know what some of you are thinking - why would I go to a foreign country and go to their zoo (I did this in Prague, so I know some of you are saying that because I have HEARD you say it). It's simple. I love zoos. They're fun, and I get to see cute animals. It's a win-win situation. 

So, I left a little after nine and got to Bratislava's main train station a little past ten. My initial intake of the city was not a good one - their train station is nothing to write home about, and I had trouble navigating the area. I just wanted to buy public transport tickets, but I had a really hard time getting anyone to help me. Finally, I figured out where to go and bought a ticket (though, I think I bought on that was too much for what I needed - oh well).

The zoo was right off the highway (just like OKC!). I walked in and the first thing I see are a bunch of meerkats running around barking (or whatever noise they make). It's a pretty good sight, in my opinion. The enclosures in this zoo were a little different than anything I have seen in other zoos, as most of them had low fences around the animals, so you could see through easily without any bars or glass. I feel like I got way closer to some of the animals than I ever had before. 

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There were several times when I had the animals all to myself - there were very few people here, and I was more than likely one of the only tourists - everyone else was a local out with their children for the afternoon. Though it wasn't a bad zoo, I can see why it wasn't on the list of top things to do on a day trip to Bratislava. Nevertheless, I always enjoy walking around zoos so it wasn't a waste. 

They had red pandas, white lions, white bengal tigers, zebra, giraffes, goat - it was a pretty good zoo. They also had dippin' dots, though they were not called that...

They also had another exhibit that didn't go by a name I was used to.

DinoPark was essentially Jurassic Park - the entrance even looks similar as the one in the movies/at Universal Studios (photo for comparison). Though a little silly, I really enjoyed walking through the animatronic dinosaurs - they had done a great job of setting the area up so it felt jungle-like and you were really hiking through a dinosaur habitat.

Having survived the dinosaurs, I made my way to the Historic City Center, which was quite a change from anything else I had seen in Bratislava thus far - a good thing. I loved the streets and all of the little shops and eateries. Plus, there was SO MUCH good design. I wanted to eat and shop at all of these places that had cute names and modern logos.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you look at it) there were too many to be able to do that in a day. I did, however, make into Moods Bakery & Coffee, Arthur Ice Cream, and ReFresh Music Club for dinner. Somehow I missed taking a picture of ReFresh, but I took pictures of other places I liked.

I did some shopping, general site-seeing, and made the hike up to the Hrad Bratislava (the Bratislava Castle) and walked around the grounds there for a while.

Bratislava, as the title of my blog implies, was refreshing compared to the hustle and bustle of many of the other tourist areas I have visited. It was nice to have a little quiet uptown... In fact, there were times when I was literally (yes, for real) the only person on the street or in the area. It was a nice change of pace. 

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My last stop was at the Moods Bakery & Coffee (already mentioned) where I picked up some lemonade to hydrate myself. I drank this whole liter of their house-made lemonade pretty easily, and was so happy with the size of the jar.

I once again had trouble figuring out how to get back to the train station, and subsequently missed the train I was trying to catch. Thankfully, trains to Vienna go out about every 30 minutes so it wasn't an issue. I made it to a different train station than the one I arrived in (this one was much cleaner and closer - I should have gone there first).  

After my trip to Bratislava, I have officially been to every country touching Austria, minus Lichtenstein, which, as it is a 7-hour train ride and travel reviews are not good, I might have to settle for the title of almost. 

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