Monday, September 9, 2013

Euro Adventure- Bratislava, Slovakia -Day 2

I would love to tell you that the day started with a roar.  But the truth of the matter is, it was 10:00am when we finally crawled out of our "nest" and started the day.  Chris has a client who is from Slovakia and she told us that we only really needed one day to see the city.  Since we had three booked and were exhausted we slept in. Once we got ourselves moving, we needed to make a trip to the bank which happen to be right next door to the hotel.  We were going to need some euros...


Chris had scanned the map and found out where there was a laundry that could wash a load of clothes for us or we could wash them ourselves and it happen to be one right around the corner from the hotel about a city block away.  We started out in that direction and it started to rain.....


So, we get there and of course there was a HUGE language barrier.  So much so that we resorted to "Charades" and drawings to get the message back and forth....hahahaha.  We were pointing to our legs and then pulling on our shirts, etc.  She was speaking in "Slovick" and we were speaking in English....hahaha.  It was clearly NOT working!
By now, all three of us are cracking up laughing.  At one point the poor lady put her hands over her face and shook her head....haha.  Then she " Ah!"  and she reaches for a piece of paper.  This is where Chris waxed artistic and drew a pair of pants....she said "ah"!  and then he drew a shirt (such as it was), and then she nodded her head yes! Next was the underwear.....she motioned NO WAY!  LOL.....

Then we asked if we went and got the pants and shirts, could she have them ready for us tomorrow.  "NO".  haha.  OOOOK.  Soooo, how about Wednesday......nope. Friday.  FRIDAY!?  We didn't even want them starched....haha.
  

Well, ok....how about we just skip this and buy an umbrella?  haha.  Ok  6.00 euro.


We got the umbrella.


ok, back to the clothes.  It was impossible for us to get the clothes back on Friday since we were to be in Prague, Czech Republic on that day.  We talked her into Thursday and she said there was no way.  Then she paused, motioned for us to be quiet and she went to the door and closed it.  We understood her (through Charades) that she would take the clothes to her own home and personally wash them for us and have them ready for us Thursday.

 She gave us her phone number and we told her what hotel we were staying at. After realizing that she had to work, we told her that we would come back and pick them up from her Thursday afternoon.  She was fine with that.  she had "drawn" the price for each piece of clothing earlier during our charades.  So, we knew what it was going to cost.  It was a fraction of what the hotel wanted to charge us!  We told we would be back in a few minutes with the clothes!  So, off we went back to the hotel to sort out the pants and t-shirts and take them back to her.




I couldn't help but notice how run down the city seemed to be.  It was very dirty and the people had a hopeless look in their eyes. Although Eva, our laundry lady seemed to be full of laughter...:-).


We made it back to the laundry with her clothes and got all of the pieces counted.  She started laughing again when she saw me taking her picture.  We offered her more money to do the clothes since she was going through such trouble, but she only wanted what she would have charged had she done them at her place of work.  The total cost 13.00 US dollars.  At the hotel, it would have been 6.75 per t-shirt (8 shirts in all) -$54.00, 2 sets of pj's -$16.00 each, 1 pair of jeans-$15.00 US.  total cost (without underwear) at the hotel would have been over $100.00 US!  We we VERY happy to pay her the $13.00....:-).



Well, you know by now we had certainly worked up an appetite having missed breakfast.  We caught a bus after purchasing some three day passes and found this restaurant.   I ordered a Pepsi which was the strangest tasting Pepsi I had ever tasted...ha.  The menu was mostly in Slovick and I was feeling adventurous!


We STILL have not figured out what I ate except the rice part and the greens that were on the plate, but it was delicious! I even shared a piece with Chris.....:-)


Chris had chicken and.......something....eggplant and.......??? haha.  He didn't like his! haha.  So, I felt sorry for the poor guy and gave him some of my mystery food and I ate his eggplant and....???


This is a shot of the restaurant which was almost deserted.


This is a frontal shot.....


Did I mention that it was in the basement?  I tell you that you cannot go ANYWHERE in Europe without having to climb stairs at one point or another...


We finished our lunch, and climbed the stairs back outside.  The resturaunt seemed to take up more space outside then it did inside.  This is ONE side of our bistro.


ok, time to start the day!  It's after lunch already... We waited for our subway surface car to take us to the historic part of town.


You could not miss the fact that the city was not well kept.  There seemed to be no street sanitation or care for how things were falling apart.  I was sad for the people as it usually indicates that the government has left the people behind.....:-(.



Of course once you reach the touristy areas of town (which was only about 2 miles away), it was a bit cleaner.


It reminded me of other European cities that I had visited in the past with the little hideaway places off the main streets.


This whole area was dotted with wood work shops of some sort or another....


For some reason this wooden carving had a Peruvian feel to it ........I think it was the hat....:-)


You can barely see it, but there is a restaurant hidden on the left side of the picture.....



We both wanted some coffee and refused to do the McDonald's thing after having come so far.  We saw this place and settled in for about an hour....



It is quite a nice place which prides itself on being "green".  The shops goes clear to the back which is hard to see from the street.


They even had ice cream.  But I didn't get any......


 Instead, we decided on this piece of cake that appeared to be mostly "cream"...ha. Oh my.  Well, we got the one piece and decided to share it instead of getting one each.  Glad we did.  It was quite rich and turned out to be coconut cream AND cream!


I find it to be the most unusual thing that when you are served coffee and you ask for an "Americano" they give you a small glass of water with it.  After tasting this coffee which she said she put milk in, I NEEDED the water! It was strong.  I believe it is actually expresso and they give "Westeners" water to help dilute it some...It was fine after I added some sugar.  But I ended up drinking the water instead of adding it to the coffee.


Cool buses running through the city center.  But I didn't see these nice ones a few blocks from here....


After finishing our snack, we made our way closer to the city center.  Along the way I decided to change my large umbrella for something smaller.  I took these pictures as an afterthought after returning to the hotel.


And this is it in its compact form, much easier to get through TSA on our return to the US.


Love the flags.  I should have them surrounding my house.....:-).  Helps with keeping a world view....



We passed a very old church that we peeked in and saw this.....:-).  I was glad they were not in service yet as I was not sure it was a "tourist" place or not.  Some are; some aren't. this one was not as it had locked, iron gates for either keeping people out or keeping them in once they got there...ha


We traveled on down the street noticing that the narrower streets reminded me a bit of Saltzburg, Austria only not nearly as beautiful.  And maybe a little like Bourbon Street in New Orleans.



Scootard is steadily snapping pictures of the fountains and other things around him....enjoying the view...:-).


At one point, we came upon this poster.....I thought..."wow, his future ain't looking so bright!"....


We saw in the distance a building that drew our interest......



and as we made our way in that direction, life was going on with a news channel doing an interview. Chris wanted to get me to stick my head in and wave.  uh... no. lol.....
 


This is a closer look at the building that we were drawn to.....



 And a beautiful fountain with who seemed to be the same guy we saw in the last 3 countries we have been to slaying the same dragon.  This time it had three heads.....haha...  wow.  It must grow a head every time we see it!


 Loved this gate way....

No idea who this guy was, but he must have been important and undoubtedly dead by now....


This placard seems to be original from it creation.....


This is the town square......:-).  This really does have it's old charm preserved.  But sadly, it cannot be seen anywhere else in the city where we have been so far.  Hey!  I know that guy.....:-).




Although this building had obviously undergone some restoration, it had been in this very spot since 1558.


Some of the original placards had been preserved......


As we traveled on we came across some stalls where the merchants were selling their wares...
These were all made of straw....Now, where is that guy from OZ?


I turned my head for only a moment and Scootard was headed inside the church.  I was not sure if they were in service or not as time had passed since we had visited the last one..




It was very quiet and we wanted to be respectful.  So, this was the only shot I took before the service started and the priest arrived.  And THAT happened so quickly that we didn't have time to leave.  So, there we were.  Sitting in a Catholic Mass being spoken in the Slovick language, not understanding a word.  I was glad that I had had some understanding of the mass and didn't stick out like a sore thumb.  Well, at least not for that reason...ha.  But, it was clear to me that one of the young priest that came out with the older priest somehow KNEW that I didn't understand a word.

 He looked a me a few times and chuckled...haha.  After a couple of times of that, I looked at him and mouthed ..."what?!"...ha.  He put his head down and smiled and chuckled again...haha.  I leaned over and told Chris "he knows that I don't know what I'm doing"...hahaha.    I knew enough to know that if you are not baptized as a Catholic, they do not want to serve you communion.  I whispered to Chris that when the people began to line up to received communion, we needed to quietly slip out.  So, we did....:-).



We made our way back outside where I laughed about what had just happened.......:-).  Priceless....ha


There's that guy again!


The town square was busy with artist and musicians doing their thing.  This guy was a one man band playing something from the Beetles era.....:-)


Believe it or not, it was approaching dinner time by now.....This guy waved to us on our way......



This guy was hanging out in the sewers when we went buy........


And THIS guy decided that he wanted to have a chin wag with the guy hanging out in the sewer!



I don't know these folks, but somebody decided to make their acquaintance.


And it wasn't me!


We stopped here for dinner.....I would tell you the name if I could remember how to say it! 



The dinner crowd had not arrived yet......cool.



Since I had eaten that "mystery meat" at lunch, I decided to stick with what I knew for dinner. The menu was written in Slovak, German, English, and Italian..


Here's mine.....

And his turned out to be fried cheese.....ha.


We finished dinner and started for our subway surface car....This beautiful building was in view.  It is the Slovak theatre..

This is a shot looking from the entrance point of the theatre.....


And then we passed this building which happen to be the Slovak Philharmonic. I wished I had been able to attend an event there during our stay...:-(


This is the view of the building once we got past it.  It is massive and takes up a full city block.


Every culture has its heroes.  I figured these folks had to either be important or represent some important event in their history.  But I didn't see a placard....


We made it back to the hotel safe and sound and you know who began to "tune up" for his shower....you know how some folks like to make music in the rain.....:-)


I think he lost his tuning fork!......

Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling.. I'm happy again!!


And so, my friends...here ends a wonderful, but short day.  Tomorrow we are looking forward to more adventure, more delightful food, and the pleasure of sharing it all with you!
See ya then!....:-)

9 comments:

Scootard said...

I didn't even see those flags. We have some fun didn't we, even if we start out by going the wrong direction all together time to get some sleep now its 5 minutes to 1. Hopefully we'll be able to get a bit earlier start tomorrow morning. Loved your writet up.

bob skoot said...

Pat:

nice write up too. You mean that washroom has windows TOO ? I can almost hear Chris singing from here

you managed to pack so much into your walking tour

so glad you are getting internet so we can follow along

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

livin'itup! said...

It's been fun reading your blog updates! I know who the pink made you think of on your former blog...:) This is Shawna, by the way. Fried cheese for dinner? And rice? I can only imagine how well that digests...loL!

Patricia Carpenter said...

bob,
The wall that separates the bedroom from the bathroom is made of glass...haha. But there is a "modesty curtain" as Chris calls it that can be pulled if required. For us, it is NOT required! ha

Patricia Carpenter said...

Hey Shawna!
Glad you have been following along...:-). In regard to that fried cheese and rice for dinner' better him than me! ha.

Trobairitz said...

You two are on quite the adventure in regards to location and cuisine.

It is unfortunate that some parts of the city are so run down but at least they have some well kept sections too. Like most any town I guess.

Some of those old building sure are lovely.

Patricia Carpenter said...

Trobairitz,
Most of the city is in that shape. We rode from one end to the other and across today and it was the same everywhere. It's like the people just gave up and the government left them behind....:-(. Very sad.

SonjaM said...

Wonderful to see your European travels through North-American eyes. You may get the impression that there are public places looking filthy.

It is not that people have given up, it's often that people don't take responsibility for their own action, because you shouldn't throw stuff away in the first place, and that's no a matter of government action.

In Europe people rely too much on government action and have forgotten how to take action themselves (Germany is no exception...)

Greetings from the Black Forest.
Cheers, Sonja

Patricia Carpenter said...

Hi Sonja,
I agree that people should take more responsibility for their actions. But this went beyond cigarettes or paper on the ground. Most of the buildings were falling apart. The roofs were in such disrepair that they had to be leaking badly and the streets where deeply rutted and had large holes that with all of the tourism going on and the taxes taken, should be in much better shape. It is very said. But as Trobairitz said, every place has problems like this.

And I know that in the West,there are entire cities going bankrupt and suffering from neglect. But to see a city with only about two square miles that is not in disrepair and that just "happens" to be a high tourist area speaks something else to me.

We were in Austria and Munich in 2011 and I have lived in Germany for 5 years many years ago; Aschaffenburg and currently live in Canada for 6 months of every year. It is everywhere. But I had never seen it on that scale in all of my years of travel and living abroad as I have seen in the capital city. I think it is sad anywhere. I just happen to be "here" right now. I'm sure when I make my trip to Liberia, I will see it on an even bigger scale.