My first stop this morning was Slovín, a war memorial and military cemetery. The closest transportation stop is about 10-15 minutes walking from the memorial, and most of that is stairs. I was so grateful that, thanks to on and off rain, it finally cooled off a bit and I managed to make it to the top without being drenched in sweat.
The memorial has close to 7,000 Soviet Army soldiers buried, all who were killed in WWII while liberating Bratislava.
While people do visit here to pay their respects, lots come for the view. The advantage of lots of stairs (besides the workout), is often a bird's eye view.
After snapping a few photos at the nearly deserted memorial, I made my way back down towards the city centre. If you take the right route (which I accidentally did), you'll end up at Grassalkovich Palace, also known as Slovakia's White House, which is where the President of Slovakia resides.
My next stop was Devín Castle. You can grab the 28 or 29 bus from the city centre to get there, and if you bought any a day or multi-day transportation ticket, then that's all you need. Otherwise you'll need two 30 minute tickets (the bus stop at the castle doesn't have a ticket machine, that I saw, so you'll need one for the return). I looked at the schedule for both buses and my timing was perfect for the 13:20 number 28. But I got to Most SNP, the bus stop beneath SNP Bridge where both leave from, and there weren't any platforms with a 28 nor was it listed on the departure screen. I double and triple checked I was at the right stop and I was according to the transportation website. Thankfully there was a 29 at 13:35 so I didn't have to wait long but I never found out why the 28 mysteriously disappeared. The 29 terminates at Devín Castle so you can't miss the stop (one of my greatest fears) and it's about a 20 minute ride. Upon arrival there are two paths, the one to the right doesn't have much other than some pretty views of where the Danube and Morava rivers merge, and of Austria immediately across the river.
The path to the left takes you to the castle, one of the oldest in Slovakia. The website says it costs €4 for adults, €2 for students, but it ended up being €4 for students. Not even the rain kept the tourists away, this was probably the busiest site I've seen thus far in Bratislava.
In addition to the castle ruins, you get some magnificent views of the outskirts of Bratislava and Austria from the top of the castle.
After the castle I made my way to St. Martin's Cathedral. I saw the outside yesterday but didn't get a chance to go inside since it was part of the walking tour. Admission is free.
Interested in weapons? Head to the Museum of Arms to check out the history Slovak weaponry and military equipment. If not, you should still go and pay the €2.50 student admission fee to get to the top of Michael's Gate, in which the museum is located.
All day rain clouds had been coming and going, and towards the end of my time up on the tower, it began looking like it was over. But as soon as I got down it began to downpour. I quickly found a hip cafe to grab some coffee, do some work on my dissertation (I'm so mad at myself for not completely finishing before leaving), and wait out the rain.
Before long it was time to head across Most Slovenského národného povstania, which translates to Bridge of the Slovak National Uprising. Commonly referred to as SNP Bridge or the UFO bridge. But before dinner, some fun with my tripod and self-portraits.
I was heading up into the UFO part of the bridge for dinner with a view. You can pay €7.40 (€4.95 for students) to just go to the observation deck, but if you go to the restaurant then the observation deck is free (well, built into the cost of the meal...).
99% of the time I'm more than happy to go for cheap meals or cook in hostels to save money while travelling. But once in a while I do appreciate a really fancy meal that is overly priced for tiny portions because the experience makes me feel special and pampered, and that's something we all deserve once in a while. So for this trip I budgeted for an occasional splurge like this. It felt weird splurging so early on, but I decided to for two reasons. One, the view. Two, while definitely expensive, UFO is on the slightly less pricy end of the expensive, fancy, multi-course meal spectrum. So the splurged felt a little more justified.
UFO's chef specialises in Asian and Mediterranean fusion, but they also serve some local dishes. The first thing that was brought out as a "present" was a bite size almond cheesecake. Sounds and does indeed taste more like a dessert than a pre-appetiser, but my sweet tooth wasn't complaining. Next up was bread. So. Much. Bread. I'm pretty sure the table next to me got the same amount of bread for three people as I got for one. Also, that ball of butter was hallow. How do they do that?! The soup was a white bean and young beans with Mangalitsa pork cracklings and truffle powder. It came in a giant bowl with what looked like a white crown made out of powder and garnish. Before I had a chance to snap the picture, the waiter poured the soup into the bowl in front of me.
The main course - and by far my favourite - was beef ribs confited in sake with sweet potato gratin and apple-kimchi puree. I could barely finish it but it was so delicious that I guilted myself into finishing it. For dessert was a "cocoa selection," which was tonka bean ice cream, a chocolate mouse, something close to a brownie, and a sliver of decadent chocolate. Once I finished that, they brought out another present: a homemade white and milk chocolate shaped like a heart. Definitely beats Cadbury. To finish everything off, and to perhaps make you feel a bit better about paying, with the bill they bring you a muffin wrapped up to go, which I will certainly be enjoying tomorrow morning.
Eating here was wonderful, not only because of the food but also the view. I got to watch the city transform from day to night (unfortunately the clouds and rain prevented a colourful and pretty sunset) from my table. At one point, presumably when a gust of wind came through, you could feel the restaurant move and vibrate ever so slightly which I thought was cool. Once I was finished I went back up to the observation deck for a final view before making my way back to my hostel.