Thursday, July 26, 2012

Underwhelmed by Bratislava, Slovakia.


Before arriving in Bratislava, Slovakia I'd asked a lot of people for tips and opinions. I received mixed reviews. Some people gushed about the city and others just stared at me dryly and said "Bratislava is a S***hole." and left it at that. Because of these various very mixed reviews, I really didn't know what to expect when we arrived there, which I suppose could be considered a good thing. Going into a place with high or specific expectations is the fastest way to make sure you leave disappointed. After a day and a half in the city, I have to sadly admit that Bratislava didn't do it for me.  

Kasey and I stepped off the bus in Bratislava in the early afternoon. If you haven't read the relatively humorous story of how we managed to get on the bus to Slovakia from Hungary, you may want to. It was over 90 degrees at 11 AM but compared to the whopping 105 degrees that Budapest was sporting, we felt downright comfortable. After checking into our hostel (We stayed here, it was very nice and I'd highly recommend it if you'll be in Bratislava.) we set out to do some exploring.

As you can see from the photos, there are some parts of Bratislava that are really quite pretty. What I didn't photograph are the gross, ugly communist era high rises made from concrete and steel that overpower the old town completely. As we learned on our free walking tour through the old town  (which I would also recommend, it was very informative) over 70% of the Bratislava's beautiful, historic buildings were completely demolished in a communist effort to "modernize" the city in the 1970's. 70%! I honestly was so floored that anyone would think that destroying beautiful architecture was a good idea...and then they go and replace it with this!:


Yuck.
I will say, however, that one gem about Bratislava is the food. Am I totally strange for loving eastern European food? I couldn't eat it regularly, seeing as their idea of a balanced meal is eating meat with meat and a side of grease...but yum. The prices in Bratislava were also really reasonable. I had dinner and a soda for about six euro and left the restaurant completely stuffed! 

Traditional Slovak Potato Dumplings with Bacon and Sour Cream.

For me, Bratislava gets two out of five stars. I really wanted to like it, because I'm a huge fan of underdog, lesser-visited places...but some cities just don't do it for you and this was one of them. I think if I'd had the time to stay longer and venture a bit outside of Bratislava itself, the experience would have been much better. 


Have you ever been to a city that just didn't impress you as much as you'd hoped? 

13 comments:

The Suttons said...

Daryl, thanks so much for stopping by my blog, it means a lot. I'm following you back. :)

Yes, I've definitely been unimpressed with Kansas City! Lol. Had to go there for work and it was miserable. But thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures, I'm sorry you didn't have a better time. -Mia

Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home said...

Did you go to Devin castle? That was probably my highlight of Slovakia - the thing is, I think if you take Bratislava for what it is, just Bratislava, then it's a fine city. If you compare it to any of it's neighbors - Vienna, Prague or Budapest, you will be left sorely disappointed.

I also love Bratislava's Hrad - it's very classy and dreamy.

There were a few sweet cafes around the centre, but it didn't have much going on, at all. Nice for a day, certainly no longer.

Besos!

Michelle said...

It's a shame you didn't like Bratislava, but it does look nice in these photographs!

Casey said...

Definitely. Just posted about it yesterday, actually. Florence, Italy just didn't light my fire. Maybe too many people hyped it up to me or the fact that my family was stressing me out the whole day there and it clouded my opinions, but I wasn't thrilled about it like everyone else seems to be. And I totally think that's ok. To each, his own. :)

Great photos, though!

Blue Dog Belle said...

The first pictures make it look gorgeous... but sometimes you just cant fight the fact that you don't have chemistry with a city. But you've seen it. you tried to love it. and now you can happily cross it off the list.

:)

Megan said...

i have heard the same type of reviews on bratislava...still have it high on my list because im strange and enjoy the weird comminess of a city (that made no sense i know!) it gets very lost in the mix for me though b/c it is too expensive to fly to and i have been to almost everything around it, so i havent planned on venturing back that way anytime soon. but the boyfriends wanting to do that area so maybe ;)

a city that left me underwhelmed was salzburg. while it was just gorgeous, the amount of tourists floating around was annoying and made it lose a lot of its charm. but once you're away from that mess it was quite cool. i have also never liked paris. but ive hated that city since i was about 5 years old haha. and strangely, i think oslo is underwhelming. i enjoy living there, but before moving and only having traveled to it...it sucks. but if you compare oslo to oslo, its not so bad. my problem is i compared it to other scandinavian capitals and it sits low in comparison :)

Joslin Williams said...

"meat with meat and a side of grease" HAHAHA! That's my kind of food! I was hoping to make it up there one of these days. Maybe I'll rethink that idea.

Breenah said...

The only time I've been out of the country is on Caribbean cruises, but I'd love to travel in Europe. The potato dumplings with bacon and sour cream sounds DELISH.

Alja and Eva said...

I love the pictures :)

Beauty Blog: Me and my Cousin

Danielle said...

I had an ex-boyfriend who was slovakian..

But anyways, Paris didn't do it for me. Parts were beautiful but overall I was really disappointed.

Kelsea Echo said...

You know, I did go to Bratislava for a day during my study in Prague... but I honestly barely remember it. Which I suppose says something about it too. I did go with my class, though, so that meant some history lessons, which always makes things more interesting (in my opinion).

Oh man, I do have to say that I was not a fan of the food in the area (Central / Eastern Europe). Nearly three months of it was too much for me. I did find it amusing that (in a small town in the Czech Republic) I tried to order a dish with a side of vegetables. What was in the side dish? Well, pickled red cabbage, pickled green cabbage, and pickled carrots. That amused me to no end.

Alex Butts said...

ha I always think of hte movie Eurotrip when I hear Bratislava, so from your pictures I would think it was a lovely surprise because that movie depicts it terribly. The food looks incredible though!

And sadly Venice was my underwhelmer...

Sara Louise said...

Berlin didn't do it for me. I really wanted to like it and I tried to like it, but I was just like, blah.

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