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!:
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!