Bratislava is not a city that takes long to see. But there are so many more places in Slovakia I should have visited as well.
I originally wanted to visit Bratislava back in May when I met some friends in Edinburgh who invited me to stay with them. However, while I was still in Romania I texted them and found one was surfing in Spain and the other was on a pre-booked rafting trip throughout Slovakia. I tried to find some other couchsurfing hosts but didn’t get any responses. After the ridiculously cheap camping in Budapest, I decided to continue the same and checked into the Zlaté Piesky campground. The showers and toilets might not have been as good as Arena Camping in Budapest, but the place was huge and it’s right on an artificial lake.
The next day, I couldn’t resist spending the day relaxing at the campground and having some fun. The artificial lake connected to the campground has a wakeboarding rig set up on it. This is basically a series of cables which pulls you around the lake while you’re on a wakeboard, kneeboard or skis. This isn’t simply being pulled by a boat. The ropes don’t slow down, and you’re yanked out at top speed to show off your skills. For more experienced riders, there are even jumps and tricks set up on the lake, just like a snowboarding slope. For only €18 an hour (€23 for experts who want to use the obstacles), it’s definitely worth the fun. Even with the horrible muscle pains that lasted for several days after. I just wish I hadn’t landed wrong on my neck in my last crash.
I’m not going to lie, I actually didn’t spend that much time in the town itself. After wakeboarding, I went with some friends to their hostel in town to use the wifi and make some future plans for my travel. Using my six-year-old cracked Ipod wasn’t the easiest, and the browser would crash every couple minutes. After a couple hours I finally had a hostel booked for Vienna, just in time to get the last tram back to the camp ground. But on the way to the tram I had quite an adventure. The hostel manager said I should take the bus two stops to the tram, so I purchased a ticket and got on the bus with a bunch of locals. Who didn’t validate their ticket. So neither did I. A moment later a plainclothes man walked up to me and said I had a fine for not validating my ticket. I talked my way out of it, but I certainly learned my lesson. Foreigners are definitely treated differently than locals. Yes, and another lesson. Always validate your ticket.
My final day in Bratislava, I dropped off my bag at a hostel and went to the free walking tour, violating my advice that walking tours should be the first action you do in a city. Luckily there isn’t much to Bratislava, and the tour really did cover a majority of what was interesting in the town. We didn’t go to the castle, but I’ve definitely seen better castles in my travels, especially the one in Edinburgh! We did cover the churches, the Monument to Plumber Chumil, the old city walls and the famous Safarikovo Square, location of the The Bare-chested Man in Front of the Occupiers Tank photo.
And that was my two days in Bratislava. It’s not the biggest town to explore, but it’s worth the trip. After all, it’s only an hour away from Vienna and it would be silly to go to one and not the other. But to be honest, if you’re going to go to Bratislava, continue into Slovakia and see the rest of the country. Friends who explored the rest of the country have been sending me photos since I left, and the scenery is definitely gorgeous. Of course, that just goes along with what I keep saying: The bucket list only gets longer.