When I told friends that we were going to stop in Bratislavia on our AMAWaterways Danube River cruise, they seemed a little perplexed and unsure. Turns out that most of them had never heard of Bratislavia or Slovakia. In fact, one of the reasons that I chose the Romantic Danube cruise over The Legendary Danube was because it did stop in Slovakia.
Slovakia was established following the Velvet Revolution which ended the Communist rule in 1989 in Czechoslovakia . The former Czechoslovakia was separated into two different states. The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after January 1, 1993, after an event sometimes called the Velvet Divorce (staying with the “velvet” theme of smooth transitions). Both countries remain close with one another. Slovakia has been a member of European Union since 2004.
Slovakia has beautiful landscapes, mountains including the Carpathians, hundreds of caves beneath its mountains, over 175 lakes, and ski resorts. Knowing all this has given me reason to revisit this country.
We set sail mid-morning from Vienna, one of our few times that we sailed during daylight time. We sat up on deck to watch the countryside as well as to watch the entry into Bratislava. This was the hottest day yet with high humidity – made us long for cooler weather sailings. We sailed past the New Bridge with its alien looking restaurant at the top.
Rather than doing a city tour, Blogger Hubby (who was tired of city tours) and I opted to do an optional excursion called “Slovakian Treats” where we would taste some food as well as having a mini-cooking lesson. This optional excursion filled up quickly as friends of ours wanted to partake but couldn’t get in. Unfortunately many of those who signed up did not show up and there were only 5 of us when 12 were expected.
All the tours left from the dock first and we walked “a short distance” to the Bratislava Sheraton where our cooking lesson would take place. One of the passengers in our group was a “Gentle Walker” and walking a distance is difficult for her. To be honest, it was not a short distance – it was about 20-25 minutes walking on the city street amidst construction that we had to walk around. If you have mobility problems, really question the cruise director as to what type of walking is involved and how long it is. To her 20-25 minutes was short but when you have mobility problems, that is not short.
We were taken into the restaurant of the Bratislava Sheraton where our chef was waiting for us. We were served cool drinks after our hot walk and began to feel a little refreshed. Our first, and only, food we made was a Slovakian version of pierogies called pirohys filled with a sweet jam. He then demonstrated a soup as well. It was an okay excursion and the one very redeeming part of this excursion is that we were inside an air conditioned building on this very hot and humid day. After we had our samples of the pierogies and the soup the class was over.
A couple of the people in our class took a taxi back to the dock. Blogger Hubby and I walked along the river. After a bit I decided that I didn’t want to explore more though Blogger Hubby did. If it was cooler, we would have sat along the Danube in one of the cafes but that wasn’t to be today. When Blogger Hubby did return to the boat about an hour after I did, he realized that he wasn’t feeling well – not at all. I thought of heat exhaustion as I have had that a couple of times but he wasn’t red in the face. Turned out he was suffering from dehydration. He climbed into bed and stayed there throughout dinner and part of the evening till around 10:00 when he felt that he could partake of some of the snacks in the lounge area. Unfortunately this was the night that we were invited to sit at the Captain’s table at dinner. Instead I took someone that was in our group and we had a good time and received a memento of a AMA silver napkin ring. Apparently these are collectables – never knew that!
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Upcoming blog posts – Budapest, an European overnight train experience, Venice, and more of Italy and trains.
Meanwhile, here are a few more pictures of Bratislava: