Last weekend Chris and I visited the capital of nearby Slovakia, Bratislava.
Slovakia: An Extremely Brief History of the Country From 1000 (no joke) to Present
But seriously, read more about Slovakia. Artifacts dating from 270,000 BC have been found.
Originally annexed into the Kingdom of Hungary (1000-1918), the Slovaks mutually merged with Bohemia, Moravia, Czech Silesia, and Carpathian Ruthenia to form the country of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Under pressure from Hungary and Germany, the country broke up in 1939–portions were annexed by Hungary as well as Germany–with the remaining land mass now named Czecho-Slovakia. Again, under threat from the Germans, Slovakia seceded and aligned with Nazi Germany until Czechoslovakia was reformed following WWII. In 1948, the country became occupied by the Soviet Union (which led to one of my favorite protests in sport by Vera Caslavska at the 1968 Olympics). Following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Czechoslovakia earned autonomy once again. The Czech Republic and Slovakia mutually went their separate ways in 1993 in what is known as the Velvet Divorce (sassy!) although they remain close allies.
Bratislava Castle: Originally a stone palace in the 11th century, reconstructed in 1423, additions made in 1768, nearly completely destroyed by fire from the “carelessness of garrison soldiers” in 1811, and fully reconstructed starting in 1953.
Entering the city of Bratislava is interesting because on the one hand you’re driving on this modern highway but there are literally portions of a castle wall above you as you follow under an overpass.
On Saturday we made the trek up to the gorgeous castle. Thankfully it wasn’t too windy but it was super chilly; I was glad I decided to wear Chris’s super thick work socks.
The view of the city was amazing. Apparently on clear days you can see all the way to Austria and Hungary.
Christmas Market: I Lose Out on a Beautiful Antique Pitcher Because I’m not Aggressive Enough
No seriously. This lady totally swooped in and took the pitcher I was interested in. I didn’t realize how cutthroat European markets can be.
The markets were held all across Old Town.
St. Elisabeth’s Blue Church: Built in 1907-1908 and Consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary
Our last morning in the city we visited the Blue Church. So gorgeous! We weren’t able to tour the inside because there was a Sunday service, but it was amazing to just stand outside.
Cafe & Restaurants: I ❤ you Slovakian Food
As noted at least a thousand times in previous blogs, breakfast is my favorite. We went to Urban House because they had an amazing coffee menu and VEGETARIAN ENGLISH BREAKFAST. Which I’ve always wanted to have but with, you know, the meat and questionable pork content in baked beans, I’ve never had the option.
During the trip we had drinks at a couple of places, although the Irish Pub and KGB Pub were clear favorites. Slovenska Pivaren was also great; get the potato dumplings in goat cheese and sour cream sauce. Trust me.
Chris could smoke inside at the Dubliner and do I need to explain why I skipped down the stairs to the underground USSR-inspired bar?
After visiting the castle we stopped by Eleven Books & Coffee which is hands down one of the best places we’ve visited and absolutely a must-see in the city. A small used bookstore that serves coffee, tea, a couple of beers, and wine, it was a perfect stop after a chilly two mile walk.
I also picked up a couple of books that I can’t wait to start reading. They came with bookmarks and chocolates that say “Books and chocolate are the answer! Wishing you a sweet reading experience.”
For Dinner we ate at Re.Fresh which was gorgeous and super filling. We were a little meh when we saw that it was a “club” but then realized the club and restaurant were on separate floors. I mean, I’m definitely pro-European Discoteque but alas Chris (surprise, surprise!) is not.
I’m so glad we went. They have great vegan, vegetarian, and meat options. Plus Saturday’s special was mushroom paprikosh! YAAAAASSSSS. The Slovakian version is with potato dumplings, not spaetzle (Hungarian/German) or traditional flour dumplings (Hungarian/Russian), but it was a good take on [my favorite] dish.
On our last morning we stopped at the very adorable and delicious U Kubistu cafe on our way back from the Blue Church. We made it just in time for breakfast. Our server was AMAZING. The coffee was great and so were our dishes. A limited menu that changes daily depending on seasonality (yaasssss), it was one of my favorite places since moving to Europe. Plus when our coffee arrived, Superfreak was playing, so bonus points.
A few other pictures:
Listening to: Jackie Motion Picture Soundtrack by Mica Levi
Dessert Obsession: Eleven Books & Coffee Dark Chocolate