Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bratislava, Slovakia: Hotels Cost More Than a Nickel

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, Bratislava is NOT like this

Synopsis: After having a blast in Warsaw, Agnieszka's friend, Gabi, has so kindly offered to host me for a weekend in her home in Bratislava. If she is anything like Agnieszka, this trip is going to be amazing.

Trip Overview:
Day 1: Leave Charleroi in the early afternoon and land in Bratislava to be met by not one, but two lovely smiling ladies. Gabi, and her friend, Nelly. We catch a bus to Old Town and walk around a bit, taking photos and seeing the sights. We stop for some traditional Slovak food. Then, we head to Gabi's place to drop off my stuff. Her friend, Barbara, is having a house party so we head to meet another friend, before heading to Barbara's.

Everyone is really friendly and we all end up going out after the party to a bar. This guy sitting at the bar discovers I am American and asks me every possible question imaginable. Go ahead, imagine a question...yup he asks that too! After hanging out for a few hours, I catch a cab back to Gabi's. Agnieszka comes in by bus really early in the morning, about 4am, shortly after I get back.

Thoughts: Gabi speaks English, but Nelly doesn't. She and I were communicating with google translate, each time we went somewhere with free wifi. Then, with no wifi, we just used non-verbal communication and pretty much got the gist of what each other was saying. It was quite fun trying to communicate. People are what make a lot of my trips so much fun and interesting. This one is turning out to be very much about the people.

The gold package: Met at the airport by two lovely ladies

In the town center doing a photo shoot....cuz we look like models

She served me traditional Slovak food... I think

Eating again, but with a new friend

Small party to celebrate Barbara's birthday

United in arms

We are going out for drinks, but first, let's take a selfie

Day 2: Three ladies are preparing lunch when I wake up. Have I died and gone to heaven? We eat lunch and then take Smiley to the bus station, since she is going home to Padany, in the south of Slovakia. Gabi, Agnieszka, and I continue on and head up to Bratislava Castle. It's overlooking the Danube, the EU's longest river, and separates Slovakia and Austria, which is clearly visible in the distance. Head back down to Old Town for a bite to eat.

From there, we head over to the Slavin War Memorial, where we meet another one of Agnieszka's friends and observe an excellent view of the city at night.

Thoughts: Today we did quite a bit of walking, but it wasn't so bad when you are with fun people. Austria is all about green energy, as you can see wind turbines for miles, from the top of the castle, yet none in Slovakia.

The girls and I doing my couchsurfing pose

On top of Bratislava Castle

The view from Slavin

At the base of the memorial

Day 3: Barbara told me the first night that they go to crossfit on sundays, and I made sure I stayed in contact with her so that I could go with them. Gabi drops me off at Barbara's place and we go from there to the box. We walk onto a farm-like compound toward a large barn and then turn into a shed...and that is the box. Suddenly 20 more people show up and we have a huge class in a small place, ready to get fit.

After training functionally, I catch a cab back to Gabi's house, where she and Agnieszka, have been preparing food, which I assist in the eating part.

Thoughts: The cab ride from one side of the city all the way to other side was only 15€! If you yell "taxi" in Brussels, your credit card is immediately charged 5€, whether you use the cab or not.

"place for functional training"

The 3 ladies to my left were beastmode

Joseph, Hana, Barbara, and I survived the wod

The trainers, Tomáš and Matúš, with me

Gabi was always cooking for me

Day 4: Leave in the morning to the airport. Gabi rides with me all the way there. She is so thorough.

Thoughts: Another amazing trip followed by a half day of traveling to Charleroi to Gare du Midi to my place.

Final Thoughts: Gabi was a hospitable and fun host. She cooked for me, introduced me to other great people, and made Bratislava a fun trip. I spoke to Barbara recently and she has opened her own ice cream parlor! Pretty cool.

On three separate occasions (Budapest, Warsaw, and now Bratislava) I have been shown the video below, without ever bringing it up, of how Europe sees Americans. Thank you, Jeff Foxworthy, for showing the world how smart we really are.

Location: Bratislava, Slovakia


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