Friday, November 2, 2012

Bratislava, Slovakia

We spent most of last week in Bratislava.  Cam had to go for work (Bratislava is Dell's europe hub), so Andy and I tagged along.  We got back from Paris on a sunday night and then headed out to Bratislava monday night.  It was no small feat to get out the door on time considering we had four loads of laundry to do and each load takes 4+ hours.  We literally finished the last load 20 minutes before we had to leave. But we made it! Flying on a decent airline (klm) was a dream compared to our last several easyjet experiences.  They were just so...nice.  Andy was really good.  We were bracing ourselves for the worst because he refused to take his afternoon nap and we weren't getting to our hotel until 11:30 PM or so, but it couldn't have gone better.  He slept most of the flight, most of our taxi ride from Vienna to Bratislava, and stayed asleep while we carried him from the car to the hotel room.  Amazing, right?

Andy and I didn't see much of Cameron during the week because of a lot of events and work, but we had a lot of fun, just the two of us. Tuesday, we spent a lot of time in old town, which is really quaint and beautiful. Our hotel happened to be next to a little playground where we spent a lot of time, both tuesday and every other day.  It was nice to be staying somewhere Andy could run around a little better! A bunch of pictures of old town:
Slovak National Theater
St. Michael's Gate 

More Saint Michael's Gate
Main Square
They had these cute markets around old town.  I liked all the lace they sold.

President's Palace
I'm not sure why this is so famous?  Everyone was always taking pictures of it.
St. Martin's Cathedral
Bratislava Castle
Wednesday, we went to the zoo, thanks to a tip from my friend Allison who used to live in Bratislava.  I'll be honest--I wasn't expecting much.  Especially when I got to the entrance and they only charged 3.50 to get in.  And there were only three cars there.  I thought there might be a few goats and chickens...stuff like that.  Wrong!  Pretty much the coolest zoo ever!  They had so many animals I hadn't seen in person before.  My favorites were the lions, the leopards, and the white tigers.  Andy's favorites were the wild cat and the monkeys.   We headed back into old town after Andy's nap to get hummus and pita at a lebanese place Allison recommended, which was delicious.  It was a pretty good day, but it didn't have the best ending.  I got lost and headed the completely wrong direction right before sunset and by the time I realized where I was, I was a good 45 minute walk away from the hotel.  I was panicked because I didn't want to be out by myself after dark.  But...we survived! :)

Most beautiful lion ever.  Stunning. And it was so close!
Isn't it a pretty zoo?  There were animal exhibits on both sides of this road. We had it all to ourselves.
Thursday morning we took the bus out to Devin Castle.  It's just about 30 minutes away from Bratislava and was amazing!  The castle itself is beautiful, but my favorite was the view.  Especially with all the fall colors everywhere.  It was a little bit of a hike, but definitely worth it.  Thursday afternoon I took Andy to this really fun play room that was inside of a toy store right by our hotel.  You just pay 2 euros to go in for an hour (it's not babysitting--moms go in, too) and they have all these cool toys for the kids to play with.  Andy loved being around all the other little kids, too.  I wish we had something like this in Amsterdam!  That night, we went out to dinner with a few of Cam's work friends.  It was so fun to meet them, and the ribs were incredible!
Devin Castle from the parking lot.

The Danube. 

At dinner.  It was fun to see Elizabeth and Laura--they're both FDPs living in Bratislava right now.  Evidently, Andy was having a great time. 
Friday morning, Andy and I headed back to the playroom.  Afterwards, we headed up to a lookout point/monument called Slavin.  Yes, the view was beautiful.  Getting there...was a different story.  The way the hotel told me to get there included stairs for about 20 minutes.  Yes, I had the stroller with me, so, I had to carry Andy AND the stroller all the way up.  (Just wait til you see the view in the pictures--we got that high purely from stairs.  No hills or anything.)  I was shaking and dripping in sweat by the time we got to the top.  Was it worth it?  NO.  Why didn't I just quit on the way up?  No idea.  After Slavin, we spent a couple hours more in old town until we met Cameron at 5 to leave for Vienna.
Cute Andy in the playroom.
At the top of the horrible stairs.  I wish you could see the stairs all the way to the bottom so I could really get some sympathy.
The view from Slavin.
The hard points of the week:
-Navigating a foreign city all by myself and trying to figure out the bus system and tram system.  There was one time I didn't know how to tell the bus driver to stop at the next stop, so we ended up going too far, having to figure out how to get back, etc.  It was a party.
-Getting lost!  I know I already mentioned wednesday's episode.  Sadly, there were more.  I'm going to blame this on the horrible map the hotel gave me instead of my navigation skills.
-Trying to figure out what to feed Andy.  Tacky, I know, but I started shoving sandwich meat into my purse at breakfast so I'd have something to feed Andy for lunch.  
-Andy throwing food everywhere at the fancy hotel breakfast.  This happened every day and was very embarrassing.

The good points: 
-Milka chocolate and McDonald's sundaes.  Both of which I had plenty of.
-Everything was super cheap!
-The nice, albeit chilly, walk along the Danube to get to our hotel.
-How much Andy got to play in the playground.
-Our super nice hotel.  Best breakfast ever. And they even had a driver to take us around to a few different locations around the city.  And other than the poor directions to Slavin, they always gave me excellent directions and were very helpful.
-Andy loved the bath in the hotel.  It had an extra little nozzle that he found especially entertaining.  I loved that you could just set the temperature digitally. Who knew such a thing existed?
-The bed in our hotel had separate comforters for Cam and me.  This was amazing.  We've decided we're going to have our own covers from now on.
-People spoke more english than I thought they would.  I could almost always find someone who I could communicate with.
-It was so nice to visit somewhere that isn't touristy!
-Even though it was hard being alone with Andy, it was nice to have a change of pace and be somewhere new.  It gave us more motivation to explore and fill our days.  We're so glad we got to visit!

To complete this post, an adorable picture of Andy in the tub:


  1. I am just so impressed by you. I have so much anxiety just reading this post. I couldn't imagine navigating a city all by myself, WITH a baby. You are amazing. I am thoroughly impressed.

  2. yep, i agree with the above commenter! you are a rockstar, navigating a new (and foreign!) place with your lil' guy in tow! looks like you are having so much fun though, i'm totally jealous!! i want to travel the world!

  3. So glad the zoo turned out to be good! And very impressed with all the places you got to by yourself! It took me weeks to figure out the public transportation!

  4. Ok that picture of Andy in the bathtub is SO cute!!! I just can't get over him. Also, the lion and white tiger and beautiful! I'm jealous you got to see them. And I agree with everyone else.. it's quite impressive that you got around by yourself with Andy...I would have been in tears!

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