Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bratislava: Seeking attractions

Know what the hardest job in Europe might be? Head of the Bratislava Tourism Authority. Most of the times I've been to Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia and a mere 40 miles from Vienna) lately have been for cheapo Ryanair flights that fly out of its airport. Ryanair actually advertises these flights as leaving from Bratislava (Vienna). Now, it's bad enough when, say sports teams who play in New Jersey insist on calling themselves the "New York Jets" or the slightly-more-geographically-correct-but- nevertheless-appalingly-stupid "New York-New Jersey Metrostars." But in Bratislava's case, Vienna is in another country all together. And what's more, Bratislava is a national capital of a European country with about 5 million people, which would technically mean that Bratislava should be about as famous as, say Copenhagen, which also is the capital of a European country with 5 million people.
Anyway, yesterday, Nolwenn (my girlfriend), two of her friends, and I set off for a day in Bratislava. We arrived in Bratislava at 2:30pm. Nolwenn had wanted to stay until 11 originally, but I convinced her in advance to take the 9pm bus back. In the end, we took the 7pm bus back, having, well, seen basically all that there was to see. Bratislava has a lovely, well-restored old city, but its main square is basically the same size as the main square in my hometown of Ridgewood. It also has really touristy restaurants with lousy waiters who serve garlic soup in breadbowls that have the constituency of iron and the most garlicky pesto I've ever had.
So, let's put our heads together and come up with some possible tourist attractions that Bratislava could use. Answers will be posted in this space next week.

1 comment:

lucyrm said...

Bratislava has a thousand and one attractions.
Obviously, you didn't have the right guidebook.
Get a copy of my Bradt City Guide to Bratislava (Lucy Mallows, available from Amazon or at many bookshops in Blava
ISBN-10: 184162229X
ISBN-13: 978-1841622293),
but wait until December 15, because the second, totally updated and re-designed edition comes out then.
It is packed with insider info and many tips on where to eat. Slovak cuisine is fantastic and there are so many non-touristy places.

I know the head of the Bratislava tourist authority and she works really hard.
The Bratislava tourist office is a million times more helpful and friendly than the equivalent in Budapest.
Give Bratislava another chance.
It sounds like you barely scratched the surface of this wonderful city.
Cheers, na zdravie,