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Subj: Heart of the Danube

Date: 7/29/2003 2:53:16 AM Pacific Daylight Time

 

 

 

 

Hey —

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.

 
However one garden caught my eye — they had a claw foot bathtub turned upside down with a potted plant on each foot.  U can't make this stuff up...  went for the camera but too late.

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…  

 
 
What a totally unspoiled city.  You can see the money pouring in and many places have been restored. 

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
lot different than what we
were doing in the '60's with "projects" however they really max out the conept.

Bratislava castle is now a Slovak history museum.
It has a ton of it’s own history. Been there since
the earliest times.

www.slovakheritage.org/Castles/bratislava.htm

Somewhere while walking thru the place it hit me. It’s really fun being here.  It ain’t Paris or Rome.  It’s Bratislava, Capital of Slovakia and it’s THEIR new little country.

Street art still remains supporting independence.  It’s the 10-year anniversary and they’re putting their stuff out there.

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…

 

 
Gonna head over to Jim’s production studio later today, see how they make movies over here -- meet people, put some faces to the names I’ve been hearing about since he got here.   I’ll hang one day then boat it to Budapest

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...”

 

George

 

Addendum: If u want a more conventional Bratislava look, check out
http://www.stemcvee.supanet.com/bratislava.htm

 

 

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