Although, I knew the cancellation of the Interlaken trip was a sign, my need to travel was fueled by the never – ending curiosity of the world around me. I’ve been hit with Wanderlust, I term that I see used so frequently – “the strong desire to travel”. I want to spend time in Prague but I also can’t stay in one place for so long – I need to see other things, new things – time is already ticking. So, last weekend I bought a roundtrip ticket to Bratislava. Slovakia isn’t on everyone’s study abroad bucket list (practically no ones in fact) but it’s always been at the top of mine. I am American, yes, but I identify as half Czechoslovakian. I still say Czechoslovakia because when I was younger – 1. it took me so long to learn how to spell it correctly and I prided myself on that, 2. I didn’t know the difference and 3. When my grandpa was born there it was still one country. The place he was born is in fact what is now Slovakia (so yes, technically I’m half Slovakian)
Anyways, I was only there for 6 hours but I think it was a very successful 6 hours. First we went to a cafe called U Kubistu to fuel up on caffeine and have a snack,(aka dessert). Then we walked toward the city center, passing “the little blue church” on the way. We crossed the bridge and went to the UFO lookout tower that gave us a beautiful view of the city from all sides. After that we went up to the Bratislava Castle, where we also got an authentic slovakian meal at Modrà hviezda. We then went to see Michael’s Gate, which is the only city gate that has ben preserved of the medieval fortifications and ranks among the oldest building in the town. We also spoke to a local artist who told us that there’s a legend that when you go through the gate, if you hold your breath and make a wish, it will come true. Of course, we did just that. Inside the gate (which is more of a small tunnel) is a world Compass, pointing N, S, E, W. At the edge of the compass are different city names and the distance that they are from that particular spot. Prague, for example, was 290 km and New York, 6856. It was at that moment I realized how far away from home I was and as great of a time I’m having traveling the world, I miss it so much.
We saw a few more places, including the Grassalkovich Palace and the Old Town Square. Bratislava was interesting because the physical similiarities of the architecture and the streets were so apparent yet it didn’t carry Prague’s energy. It was Saturday, yet there weren’t very many tourists sight seeing, nor where the street vendors selling food or convincing you to go into their restaurant or store. Yes, there were still souvenoir shops and a couple street performer, but it was a much more quiet town. In some senses I enjoyed that. It’s a place less traveled but still with equal history and importance. I bought a souvenir for myself there – a sticker that says heart to heart – with the american flag and the slovakian flag side by side.