A surprise trip to Bratislava

This morning, I’m excited to take the one-hour bus ride to Bratislava, the capital of Slovenia, adding another city and country to my growing list of 26 visited countries that I wasn’t even aware when we booked the tour that we would be going to. Although I’m so exhausted in Bratislava after days of sub-six hour sleep, I still truly feel richer having visited so many new places on this trip.

Mike and I in Bratislava.

Bratislava looks like the way I imagined Eastern Europe to look, with cobblestone streets and small, quaint and colorful buildings. We take an hour and a half tour with Martin, who apparently is such an authority on Bratislava, a very eccentric little city in a country that is only 32 years old, that Rick Steves consulted him when he was working on a guide including Bratislava.

READ: My return to Budapest, six years later

After the tour, Mike and I wander around for a while, searching for a Saturday farmers’ market that Martin mentioned is happening today, and we actually get lucky and find it after some wrong turns.

A Saturday farmers’ market in Bratislava.

The market seems to be tourist free yet offers the taste of this city that I have been looking for with vendors selling wines, ciders, beer, fruits and vegetables, pickles, soaps, pastries, meats, cheeses and more. In usual style, we buy so much stuff as we chug more and more wine and cider that we can barely fit our haul in Mike’s backpack anymore. The drinks have obviously caught up with us.

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Back at the hotel, we pass out cold in a two-hour nap and thankfully, wake up literally 15 minutes before we have to leave for our Austrian country dinner that we booked, so I guess I’m not doing my hair today. We make it just in time – an honest to God miracle – and take the bus up winding streets to a beautiful lookout point atop Vienna, made not so beautiful by the three-tourist deep crowd that has formed at the edge before we go to the Austrian pub for dinner.

Stopping to check out the view of Vienna on our way to dinner.

Our dinner, made up of pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, bread, ham, schnitzel, chicken , apple strudel and Austrian ice cream, is accompanied by wine and accordion playing, which takes our group’s drunkenness to the next level as the group of 40 plus old tourists dances and sings. On the bus ride back, this only continues when Mike whips out his iPod and starts playing 80s music. I’m not surprised when we get home and he falls asleep before I’m even done brushing my teeth.

Us and the accordian player at our Austrian country dinner.

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