Once again we are back where it all started – the Slovak Capital Bratislava. Even though we spent a year and a half in the city between 2012 and 2014, there is so much new to explore during each visit. This time we headed out to visit an old friend and her family in the village of Vajnory. It’s actually just a short drive from the center of Bratislava. We were lucky enough that our visit coincided with the annual Vajnorské dožinky – the local harvest festival.
A Morning Walk in Bratislava
During our visit in August 2019, we stayed just a few hundred meters from where we used to live in Ružinov. It was the same street, even. Hotel Apollo was just a short walk down along Košická street. It’s the place where our family usually stayed during their visits. That is, the times they didn’t stay in our apartment. It is a weird feeling when returning to an area where you once lived. Not much has changed in 5 years, but still, everything is so different. Parts of Bratislava develop rapidly, and other areas are a window into the city’s past.
After arriving late on Friday evening, we started off our first morning with the hotel breakfast before it was time to head out. It was already getting really hot outside. As it turned out, the temperature would continue to rise a bit over 30 degrees Celsius. Besserwisser fact: Anders Celsius was a Swedish scientist. Our main objective of the day? To enjoy the view across the Danube river, shop our necessities and meet up with my old-time friend. So we headed towards the Stary Most and there we could eventually confirm that the city was at least still standing and we had the whole weekend to explore it. The view over the Danube and the Old Town, including Most SNP, Bratislava Castle, and the St. Martin’s Cathedral, is something that we both still remember fondly from our time living here.
Background – It All Started in Petržalka
When moving to Bratislava in September 2012 I first rented a room of a Slovak woman in Petržalka. She let two rooms in her apartment. A Russian woman stayed in the other room; she had also just arrived in Bratislava. My first week in Bratislava was mainly focused around getting to know the city as well as a few people. These people included Finn and a Dane, as well as the two people I shared the apartment with. We had a great time in the apartment and I’m happy to have been able to stay in contact with at least one of my former flatmates.
The Russian woman and her family are now living in Vajnory and we really looked forward to meeting them, seeing their new home as well as to let Little A play with her two boys. We might write more about our moves to Bratislava soon, as the 7-year anniversary is coming up.
Vajnory is a borough in the north-east of the center of Bratislava and it is close to Bratislava Airport. It stands at the foot of the Little Carpathians. Vajnory’s population is around 6.000 and it has been a borough of Bratislava since 1946. Even though it is a part of Bratislava, there are distinctive borders separating the former village with the rest of the city.
If you think the name reminds you of a certain drink, you’re right. The first written mention of the area dates back to 1237 and back then it had the name Pračany. The Heiligenkreuz Abbey owned it for a while during the time that towns were sold and bought, and it was the abbey that gave it the name Weinern. This name stemmed from the main occupation of the villagers, making wine. And wine they make still!
There are multiple bus lines connecting Vajnory with the center of Bratislava. However, we were lucky, and my friend picked us up. That meant a pleasant car drive to their house followed by a great lunch and some playtime for Little A.
We were really happy that my friend suggested this instead of us continuing with the initial plan that was to visit the Bratislava zoo. It was just way too hot to spend any longer time walking outdoor and the zoo would probably have been packed with people.
Vajnory also had one more treat for us – the Vajnorské Dožinky. This is the annual harvest festival and even in small villages, this is usually an interesting event. Local producers line up with their goods and you can find anything from Trdelnik (a must-try spit cake) to Burčiak (the “young wine”).
At the scene, there were constant presentations. Sadly, we didn’t really get what they were talking about, but the crowds were filled with people in traditional dresses and clothes. Susann tried some burčiak and the kids played for a while before we decided to get some ice-cream.
Ending Our Day in Ružinov
Our friend dropped us off at the hotel in the afternoon and we were quite tired from the heat and decided to relax at the hotel. After a short walk to see our old neighborhood we ended our day with dinner at the hotel restaurant. It had been way too long since my last Slovak Goulash.
Once Little A had fallen asleep in the evening it was time to watch the show going on outside. Lightning lit up the horizon and soon the thunder was rolling over Bratislava. The fierce rain was really accompanied with constant greetings from Thor and we were happy that the storm had waited until late in the evening to arrive.