Slovakia July 2014
This is an extract from a multi-country report to read the full report use the following link:
The trip was in two parts, the first bit being solid trains and the second bit being a relaxing week, with a bit of trains, drifting from Zurich to Budapest via Prague & Bratislava with my girlfriend and a cracking week it was too; with weather that couldn’t have been better but was verging on too hot.
Booked direct through Norwegian Airlines
DY2497 1535 Budapest 2B – Gatwick – £78.80 each
Bratislava – Mecrure Bratislava Centrum, Zabotova Street 2, Stare Mesto, Bratislava 81104 – €74.50 for a double room for 1 night – just at the bottom of the main station’s approach road on the left; only a few minutes from the front door and about 15 minutes away from Bratislava Old Town. The room was massive and very quiet as well as clean. All the mod-cons were provided and overall it was a great room. Breakfast at the Mercure is extra on top of the room rate and we didn’t bother as we were departing early.
Eurostar 9022 1131 St Pancras – Paris £73 booked online at Eurostar
Thello Train 221 1959 Paris – Milan (4 berth couchette) €77 booked online at Thello
Inter Rail Global Pass 15 Days – £369 booked through EU Rail
Reservations booked through Deutsche Bahn UK (all reservation only with Inter Rail Pass)
CNL40478 Basel – Koln €42.50 (4 berth couchette)
CNL40478 Basel – Arnhem €65 (3 berth sleeper)
CNL40419 Amsterdam – Basel €65 (3 berth sleeper)
CNL459 Zurich – Prague €180 (for two) (2 berth sleeper)
Switzerland BLS Car Train
0919 Iselle di Trasquera – Kandersteg CHF91 – booked through BLS online
Monday 28th July 2014 (The rains had arrived)
We made sure we were down for breakfast early and checked out with enough time to be on the platform at Praha HN before the stock was in to form EC275 0739 Praha HN – Budapest Keleti. When it did drop into the station there was a bit of a scramble but we were ahead of the crowd when it came to boarding with minimal luggage and my girlfriend spotted two unreserved seats straight away and that was us for the 4 hour journey. Unfortunately we did suffer a little bit with a family sat around us that had two young boys who just wouldn’t sit still, or shut up, for virtually the whole journey; hoorah for IPods!
Arrival into Bratislava HS was almost to time and nothing short of s scrum to get off the train and then off the narrow platform that is platform 1. Once out though we found our Hotel Mercure at the bottom of the station approach road, just off to the left at the opposite side of the now disused tram lines that once ran up to the station; the turning circle for which looks like it had been left as was as if the world had ended some years previous, just desolate and with vegetation growing out of the concrete all around.
Having checked into our third hotel in a row before 12 midday we were quite pleased at the size of the room and the facilities it offered. Every we needed was provided including the AC and the bathroom and toilet were separate. The staff spoke good English and were helpful; providing us with maps and directions to the nearby old town. Breakfast wasn’t included in the room rate and we didn’t pay the extra for it due to our early departure the following morning.
Unlike the weather everywhere else we’d been during the previous week the weather was pretty dull and overcast when we arrived but it did attempt to clear up during the early afternoon so we made a bid for it and used the map to navigate our way to the old town, through it and over Novy Most Bridge, from which there are decent photos of Bratislava Castle to be had. By the time we’d finish our walk the sun was glaring down; turning the old town into a very different place to what it had been on our way out.
We chose a place called Pizza Mizza for lunch, which we found on the Triposo App. It was empty inside when we arrived but the food served was very good, mid-late afternoon being a good time to go by the looks of it. Unfortunately the weather didn’t look like it was going to hold out and our afternoon strolling around the old town was cut short; and it was tipping it down by the time we got back to the hotel. Thankfully we missed the brief hammering down that followed shortly afterwards.
While my girlfriend did what she needed to in the afternoon I went out for a couple of hours to do a bit of spinning about, locally around Bratislava. The evening had gone way better than I could have planned on paper and I returned to the hotel very pleased with my smash and grab bash.
Unfortunately the rain didn’t seem to want to disappear for the evening and it ultimately resulted in us not walking too far that evening for food and no sooner had we walked into the Old Town did we settle on eating at a place called Primi Italian; where the food was as good as we’d had earlier in the day if not a little pricier.
Unfortunately, again, the rain put pay to any ideas we may have had of walking round the old town after dark and we headed straight back to the hotel and even though we’d only been in Bratislava for 9 hours we’d had a great day. It was a day we hadn’t originally planned as we’d going to go direct from Prague to Budapest overnight originally but it was worth making the change for.