Bratislava, Slovakia – Three Capitals

It feels like yesterday that we were living and working in Bratislava. Thinking about it brings back some of the best memories. In reality, it is now almost five years since we moved back north, but the Slovak capital is still a place we love to return to.

This was the first time for Little A to see where her parents met. Speaking of fond memories, this is where we were engaged as well. She might not remember her visit, but we have photos to show her once she is older. She will also probably have to join us back here a few more times in the future. We always have Slovakia at the back of our minds when planning our next trip.

The aim of this specific visit was not to explore Bratislava any further. Instead, it was more about meeting old friends and enjyoing the delicious food and wine that Slovakia has to offer.

As it turned out, the bad luck that had started in Budapest, would continue here in Bratislava.

Arriving at Bratislava Hlavná Stanica

We arrived at Bratislava’s main train station – Hlavná Stanica – at lunchtime. Bratislava did not exactly welcome us with sunshine this time. Instead, a few occasional rain showers greeted us on our way to the center. Fortunately, it is not a long way to walk. We decided to make the journey even quicker and hopped on one of the trams. Bratislava is a fairly small town for a capital, but its easy to get around by either tram or bus.

We had decided to grab some lunch at Obchodná – the main street in the center. The street has several restaurants of the simpler kind, so it would not be difficult to find lunch. At the end, we opted for Italian.

From Obchodná it was just a short walk to the apartment we had rented for our three nights in the city. Located next to the Medical Garden – Medická Záhrada – we had most of the city within walking distance and the rest was accessible with bus and tram.

Upon arrival, we faced the second accommodation problem for this trip. Due to damage to the main water pipe to the building, we had no cold running water. There was only a slow stream of heated water. If we wanted to use the toilet, we had to fill the bin with hot water from the kitchen and carry it to the toilet to flush. Well, everything has a solution. Luckily the problem was resolved during the night.

Meeting Old Friends

We spent our first full day in Bratislava in a very long time meeting old friends. Many of our friends from our time in Bratislava have since moved on to new adventures, but a few still live there. Some have started their own families and it was fun to see Little A enjoying the company of other kids.

We tend to walk almost everywhere when traveling and Bratislava is no exception. The morning walk took us to a restaurant close to Lake Kuchajda – a short distance outside the city. The walk took us by several for us familiar places. It was nice to see the development of the junction Trnavské mýto. It was now a clean and modern travel center and anyone that have seen it in the past would not recognize it today. We also passed the Zimný štadión – the home stadium for HC Slovan Bratislava in the KHL and one of two stadiums for the upcoming world championship in 2019.

There are so many new restaurants to explore since we lived in the city, so we were more than happy to have our old friend chose a restaurant named Towers Steak & Salad. It even had a small playroom for the kids. The food was enjoyable and as the kids were busy playing, we had some additional time to catch up.

We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. Bratislava really isn’t the best place for it, as you can find the same shops elsewhere. In the evening, we met another old friend and previous colleague for dinner at one of the more touristy restaurants in Bratislava – Flagship. Sometimes it is just nice to go to places that have not changed in the five years since we moved. Flagship has all the traditional Slovak dishes – such as nakladaný encián – and the wine is good.

Revisiting Memory Lane

During our last full day in Bratislava, we made sure to visit some of our favorite places. Sadly Little A had gotten a cold, so we needed to let her rest a bit as well. That resulted in driving her around in the stroller through the old town while we took a walk along memory lane.

The main stop was Bratislava Castle – with one of the best views of Bratislava. This is a place we showed to everyone who visited us in Bratislava and we also went here to take our engagement photos a few years back. Could it get better than with the whole city in the background? Well, maybe it the castle would have been there as well. From the castle hill you see St. Martin’s Cathedral and the bridges across the Danube – Most SNP, Starý Most, and Most Apollo.

To let Little A rest a bit more in the afternoon we took slow strolls through a few of the shopping centers – we did, of course, have a shopping list of things not commonly available in Sweden. Such items include sweets and some clothing brands.

A Night in the Emergency Room

As mentioned, Little A had been a little sick during the day and we were back early to get her to bed. She did, as usual, not want to sleep early. As the evening progressed her cold worsened and we started to get worried. She was breathing more and more heavily. At midnight it was so bad that we decided that we should let a doctor have a look at her.

We did not know which hospital had an emergency room for children. It was quite hard to google that information and we did not expect every taxi driver to have that information. Instead we called 112 to ask where to go and got to talk with someone who did not speak English very well. Eventually, she forwarded our call to an ambulance driver (who spoke really good English). The ambulance decided to come by and it drove us to the one and only emergency room for children in the city. And which one was it? The Kramáre Hospital.

The hospitals in Slovakia might not be the most modern ones, but they are effective in comparison with Sweden. We did not need to wait long before someone had a look at Little A. It turned out that she had just been collecting a lot of mucus in her airways due to the cold. We were quite relieved that it wasn’t anything more serious, even though it wasn’t a nice experience for Little A. They cleaned her nose with some tubes and soon enough, we were sitting in a taxi on our way back to the apartment. There had been two more kids before us in the waiting room and it seemed like both had the same problem as Little A.

The whole hospital experience cost us 10 euro. The hospital staff spoke little English, but they did their best and we were happy with them.

Moving on to the Third Capital – Ahoj, Praha!

Early the next morning we were tired, but on our way to to the train station. We had one more capital before flying back home and had already booked the tickets for the train to Prague. Traveling with RegioJet we were more than happy that we had booked business seats and had three-quarters of the cabin. The seats were large enough for Little A to lay down and sleep. Considering the adventures of the night before, it was really nice to travel in comfort.

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