A friend visited Bratislava at New Year. I hadn’t heard of the city before, and I knew very little about Slovakia, the country of this capital.
But hearing those unfamiliar words was like catnip. Slovakia, I thought. Why on earth had I never considered going to Slovakia before?
Of course, Bratislava’s proximity to other great cities – Vienna, Prague – was certainly a plus. I rode from Vienna to Bratislava this May, 79km, almost purely because I was entranced by the name.
I’m very glad I did.
Of course, not all of Bratislava was pretty. The city is not dirty, just worn. Roads and pavements bubble and crack, while public gardens go untended. Some parts are plain ugly.
But the old town is incredibly beautiful. Buildings like cakes; cobbled street after winding cobbled street, all set on hills, lending Bratislava a fairytale atmosphere. Churches swell the ranks and the architecture is even better than that of Vienna. Candy colours and elaborate detail mean I couldn’t stop taking photos.