Thursday, 14th August – Bratislava

We woke up in the morning and left early to see Bratislava. For the first time since we left home, it was actually kind of chilly (don’t worry, it didn’t last all day).

Wandering around the streets of Bratislava, we felt that it was a shame in a way that we had just come from Budapest. The old town part of Bratislava is much grittier and less maintained than Budapest – but still has some fantastic little curving streets and lots of history. Some of the buildings were quite large and elaborate and parts of the old wall were easy to find.

The hotel we stayed at was wedged between a castle and a brewery, with the old town across the road. It only took us a couple of minutes walking to see amazing things.

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All in all, we didn’t have a lot to see in Bratislava on our list, so after getting a coffee and some breakfast, we decided we’d make a jump on the next day’s sight seeing.

As always, we encountered things in our travels that weren’t on any lists. One of the key memories of leaving Slovakia was this massive castle just sitting quietly on a hill. We pulled over to take some photos, but couldn’t work out if it was open to tourists.

IMG_4536As we crossed the border in Austria, we took the back roads to see as much as we could. The photo below was an example of the tiny little towns with amazing buildings that are hardly even on the map!

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After travelling for a couple of hours we reached Vienna! Since we had a bit of time up our sleeves and a lot to see, we started our sightseeing almost straight away.

I’ve split this into two posts as there was a lot to see!

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2014 European Adventure Slovakia

Wednesday, 13th August

Whilst we would have easily stayed in Budapest the journey had to go on, so after a well deserved sleep in and a huge home cooked breakfast we dragged our feet and reluctantly said goodbye to Budapest. Our destination was Bratislava the capital of Slovakia.

Firstly though we had a quick detour to Szentendre, a cute little town on the banks of the Danube River.

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Research had identified that there was a strange Marzipan Museum and for some reason Keith was keen to go and see it. It was an odd little place, however we did have to admit that considering everything was made from Marzipan the art work was pretty good. You’ll recall the Parliament Building we saw in Budapest, well check out its replica!

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It was a tiny town so after morning tea we continued to make our way towards Bratislava. Often we’ll be driving along somewhere on a back road, come around a bend and there is something amazing we could never have expected. Today we saw the hugest building in the distance, it looked amazing and so we decided to detour and try and find it. How lucky that we did as what we had stumbled upon was the Esztergom Basilica.

At 114 metres in length and at a height of 100 metres The Esztergom Basilica is the third largest church in Europe, surpassed only by St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. Not only is the building itself incredible, the church interior is amazing, some of the best artwork and sculptures we’ve seen to date. In fact above the alter the piece Assumption of Mary, is the world’s largest altarpiece, painted on a single piece of canvas.

To give you an idea of how large the building is, you can see Keith hugging a column for scale. 🙂

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The Basilica is located at the top of a very high hill, overlooking the town of Esztergom. The views were just awesome. You can see in the picture below the bridge that actually forms the Hungarian/Slovakian border. About halfway along the bridge it’s signposted that you’ve entered Slovakia 🙂

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We eventually made it to Bratislava, checked into the hotel and headed across the road to a Brewery (so very convenient) for dinner.

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2014 European Adventure Hungary Slovakia