About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


Bratislava, We love You!

During this trip, we had also the chance to visit the neighboring country, Slovakia. The train ride to Bratislava was 1 hour and we decided it was worth it to see another place with the kids. So we took the metro (U-Bahn) to the Vienna central station. There was a train leaving every hour to Bratislava, so we bought the tickets from there and took the next one. The train tickets were quite affordable (12 Euro return for adults and 6 Euro for kids under 15).

It was a comfortable ride with enough space to put our baggages and large windows to get amazed by the view. Once we arrived to the main train Station in Bratislava Hlavna Stanica, it already felt familiar, it reminded us of Yerevan and other post-soviet cities' train stations, where you could find yourself in a renovated place but still with reminiscences of soviet times. We looked for the bus 93 towards the city center. Once finally on the bus with all our bags, we tried to figure out which stop would lead us to the hotel. Suddenly at some point the bus stopped for a longer time and an older man started shouting "centrum, centrum..." and some other stuff in his language that we couldn't understand but probably wanting to tell us that it is the last stop in the city center. We were a little late to move with all the kids and the bags so we ended up somewhere further on a highway, trying to figure out which way to come back to the city. The kids were a little tired, my younger one was crying and complaining that these bus drivers don't know how to help us:) and taking us to the wrong places. We tried to explain to him that everything will be ok, that we will find the way, but he couldn't stop complaining during the whole route back.

It was freezing outside and each had a bag to carry, so it was a quite challenging day. We were walking slowly a little on the side of the highway, then found a way to cross from an under passage and took the other bus back. Finally we ended up right in front of our hotel with a bunch of angry kids and two exhausted parents with zero patience. But the hotel was warm and friendly and we had reserved 3 separate small rooms, so the kids were excited to finally have their own room and sharing it just with one other person, so were the parents!

We had booked our one night at a budget Ibis hotel near the old historical town of Bratislava, just under the castle, to experience something different from the apartments and give each other some space. The hotels have great deals after new year if booked earlier, and this one was really cheap for the place and the location was amazing and accessible to the most interesting parts of the city.

After resting a little, we dressed warmly and walked towards the old town. Bratislava is a charming little city and the old town is beautiful with historical places, houses, monuments mixed with soviet-style buildings.

Once inside the historical city, we separated a little; the older ones went alone to discover the city, while with the younger ones we decided to take a break and try local food at one of the Slovak restaurants including a garlic soup in a bun which apparently is a Bosnian recipe, delicious for garlic lovers!

After spending several hours in the old city, we decided to take the bus to the nearby shopping center to get warmer and do our final shopping. It was a real treat; kids got their musical instruments there for a good price and I got to spend some time in a bookstore and enjoy good coffee.

After putting the younger ones to bed and asking the older ones to babysit (the pros of having lots of kids in different age groups!:) we decided, Raffi and I, to experiment Bratislava by night. We walked around the central part of the town, and finally found a nice pub/café in the underground of a historical building where we spent some time alone away from the kids, enjoying a glass of wine and relaxing. The cafe, called Pod Kamennym Stromom was unique and had a great ambiance with friendly people and great service.

We would definitely return one day to this quiet, charming place. Bratislava was also ranked higher on the scale of my teenagers, one of them preferred it to Vienna and definitely wants to come back!

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