Big Euro Adventure
Subj: Heart of the Danube
Date: 7/29/2003 2:53:16 AM Pacific Daylight Time
Elanjian here in Bratislava, Slovakia.
FLASH: Come before it turns into Vienna.
Wasn't sure what to expect due to the economy and former commie stuff.
BUT — what a great place.
The difference between Vienna and here is much greater than you'd expect from the 45-minute train ride.
As soon as I got on the train, the people looked different — more salt of the earth…
As the train pulled into Bratislava it went thru a residential area. u can see blocks of former commie apartment buildings — on a scale unlike any "project" housing in the US. Ugly stuff.
Comparisons — train station in Vienna — big, lots to see and do however don’t eat the pretzels, especially if you’re from Philly.
The train station in Bratislava had one little coffee cart hosted by two teens flirting with each other.
Cab ride to the Vienna train station — Mercedes. Cab ride from the Bratislava train station — I haven't a clue what it was. Roll up windows and no air — but the nicest cab driver — a sweet, humble man.
And what the hell was that thing on the bridge?? Like some flying saucer…
From what the cabbie said, I gathered it was restaurant reserved for the commie big wig, which recently closed due to hard times after the big fall. Cabbie adds — “You see Slovak castle, no? On hill… very old.” Cabbie was proud of his castle.
I checked into the hotel. A deco place built in '47 — cool. Why are the women around here so tall? Went for a walk and tall women everywhere. MY FRAGILE MALE EGO CAN'T HANDLE IT…
Had a Zlaty Bazant, an excellent Slovak beer — great how they serve beer in the brewer’ s glass.
Kicked back — did some people watching. What a great place, very happy to be here. Old world charm everywhere — until I saw TGI Friday's. Next will be a Gap or some other stupid US commercial creation.
The old section of town is where the money is going and it shows. The architecture is stunning.
The place is getting a great facelift — the buildings have such a sense of history. I just hope they don't do a complete makeover and screw it up. If it were LA, we woulda torn ‘em down and made a mini mall… with ample parking, I might add.
Met up with Daniel and Carmen, Jim’s kids. They’re the kids I’m hauling back to LA in a couple of weeks.
Saw my friend Jim and we all had dinner. Took Ava, their Slovak nanny — nice to have someone who can speak the language.
Next morning went the tourist route. Made my way through town — heading toward the castle on the hill for a good looksee over the Danube.
Once on the hill you get a view of the area. On the other side of the Danube is the city of Pertzalka and the commie housing project.
My gosh, what a legacy to the Red style of mass urban planning — unbelievably vast, it’s the entire horizon…
I supose it ain't a whole
Not as much compared to the more established capitals of Europe however it’s theirs. They are really proud of it making it all the more interesting. One area of the museum — each room awash of neon color…
Ended the day with that classic Slovak dinner — duck and beer. So very good.
Why do i feel like Joseph Conrad and Heart of Darkness — “deeper and deeper into the Danube...”
Addendum: If u want a more conventional Bratislava look, check out
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