Having recently ventured as far east as Vienna, it seemed a shame not to take the opportunity to go all the way “east” to Bratislava, and cross the borders that really divided east from west for much of the 20th century in this part of Europe. Time for some good old Soviet nostalgia.
The last time I was in Bratislava was just after the fall of the Iron Curtain, so I expected the city of today would be much changed from the exuberant city I last saw freshly opened up to the west.
One Day in Bratislava
From Vienna it’s a surprisingly short trip down the Danube to Bratislava. Near the center of Vienna you can board a catamaran that will ferry you directly to the center of Bratislava in just a little over an hour.
Planning my itinerary, I wanted to stay away from the fake trolley cars that take hordes of tourists through the old part of town. I was looking for a way to meet locals and find out how their world has changed since the fall of communism.
I came across a great company called Authentic Slovakia that specializes in off-the-beaten-track tours in and around Bratislava, showing the city’s past and its more recent developments.
I emailed them and quickly got a message back from Brano, one of the two brothers who own the company, suggesting that we meet him at SNP Square. We would recognize him by the blue vintage Skoda he drives.