After having discovered other parts of Slovakia, it was time to get to know the capital city Bratislava on my last day in this Central European country. It promised to become a nice sunny summer day when I walked to the old town in the early morning, and I noticed almost no one around in the narrow, pedestrian-only streets. The white, yellow, green, and light purple buildings looked very attractive in the sun, and circling this old town turned out to be a pleasant activity. Not only were the old buildings interesting to see, but artists have added some present-day surprised for the visitor to discover, like different, odd sculptures at unexpected places: a photographer pointing his camera around a corner, and a joyful guy taking off his hat. Most famous is the Watcher, a sculpture of a smiling worker coming out of the street. I was all alone when I saw him for the first time.
When I arrived at Hlavné Námestie, the main square of the old town of Bratislava, the sun had only just started to shed its light on the street. What a pretty square, still almost empty, with Roland's fountain prominently right in the middle, apparently once used as a supply of water for fire fighting, the old city hall, and the French embassy as the main drawcards. Here, too, an unusual sculpture: a French soldier leaning on one of the benches of the square, under a tree. It was tempting to sit on one of the benches myself, and see the square and the old town come alive, but I was too curious about the rest of the town, and continued walking the narrow streets. When I reached a small square next to St. Martin's Cathedral, I discovered an old building with copies of brightly coloured paintings of Van Gogh in the window shutters. This turned out to be the quiet area of the old town: empty streets with pastel-coloured houses, more modest than the buildings I had seen before.
With the sun still low, I decided it would be wise to move up to Bratislava Castle which was already basking in the sun. A short climb took me to one of the entrance gates, and I walked around the square, white castle with its red roof. It appeared still under reconstruction, so I had to content myself with a distant look and, to be honest, I had seen much more spectacular castles elsewhere in Slovakia. The views of the old town were perfect here, and it did not take long before I descended again and continued criss-crossing the streets of the old town. By now, they had filled with people; there were actually lines of people waiting to have their picture taken at the Watcher, the squares had filled with visitors, and I soon realized that the disadvantage of such a compact old town is that it does not take many visitors to flood it. While licking an tasty ice cream, I decided to visit other parts of the city before coming back when, indeed, the crowds had already decreased. Bratislava probably is a day trip for many visitors, even though there is, of course, more to see and experience than just the pretty old town.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Bratislava Old Town (Slovakia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Bratislava Old Town.
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