In June I got to visit my best best best friend in her home country of Slovakia.. finally! Anna and I met at work in 2013 and bonded over tumblr quotes almost immediately, she had come to England for university and ended up staying for around 8 years until recently moving home to save money before backpacking Australia. We weren’t sure if we’d get the opportunity to see each other again before she left for the land down under, but with some trusty internet scouring and Luton airport flight prices we managed to have one last hurrah!
I landed in Bratislava late in the evening and Anna met me at the airport with a box of freshly made vegan gyoza’s (you see why she’s my best best BEST friend?). We then got a taxi to our hostel – hostel blues. Top tip, if you download an app called Taxify you can get around the city for next to nothing, it’s very similar to Uber but cheap as chips. We checked in and all that jazz and then ventured on down to Stará Tržnica square for a night cap before retiring to bed.
The next morning we were up nice and early and took a stroll down to Old Town Bratislava for coffee and sunshine, before deciding to get the train to Vienna, Austria. Which is only around an hour away from the city centre!
We spent the rest of the day marvelling at Viennese architecture, scouting vegan food and just plodding around in awe. We visited Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg and Karlskirche Church almost entirely by accident and it’s just the most amazing city with countless amounts of things to do and see.
The next morning began the same, back to Old Town for coffee and sunshine.. This time stopping in Mondieu (perhaps the most beautiful coffee I have ever had). Anna had booked us onto a 2.5 hour free walking tour of Bratislava with Be Free Tours in advance, so we made our way there for 11am. I really didn’t know what to expect as I didn’t know much about Slovakia as a whole but the tour was so interesting, our tour guide not only briefed us on the history of the country but kept it light hearted whilst discussing government affairs and showed us the most beautiful places. If you have seen the films ‘Hostel’ and ‘Eurotrip’ let me just assure you that Bratislava is NOTHING like it’s tainted image on the big screen, it is boasting with life and a must see whilst travelling through Europe!
That night we got a coach to Anna’s village, Oštra Luka and spent the rest of the week lounging by the pool and exploring! I went on my first ever hike at Donovaly, a popular spot in the mountains and made it to the top (just about), then drank plenty of shots (for my digestion) right, Ivana?
Another must see when in Slovakia is Bojnice Castle – a beautiful fairy tale style castle with crazy architecture/furnishings. Closely followed by Čičmany, a small village well known for it’s folk architecture and traditional painted houses.
Slovakia exceeded my expectations on every level and I was left with a warm feeling in my heart knowing that I will return there sometime in the future. A massive thank you to Anna and her family for being so accommodating. I think it’s safe to say we made the most of our week together!