The walk through the old town on the way to the hotel yesterday whetted our appetite for Bratislava and this was confirmed today when we spent a few hours following a suggested walking tour seeing the sights.
The streets in the old town are generally cobbled and narrow so they are pedestrianised. As a result the city is less grand than Vienna but everything is closer together and on a more “intimate” scale. Our walking tour did take us past a few buildings from the communist era which were on the edge of the more historic area and they certainly made an interesting contrast often in a fairly advanced state of decay and abandonment.
The castle, perched on top of a hill overlooking the town and the river, was destroyed by fire in the middle of the 19th century and only restored in 1953. But it looks in far better shape than the more recent constructions.
The atmosphere is really encouraging. While Bratislava is obviously geared up for tourists, with people trying to do business they are not over pushy and it all feels rather good – natured. Clearly they see tourism as a route to a more prosperous future a(nd why not?) but they also seem appreciative of the progress that the country has made in recent years. The cost is also very reasonable -say 2/3 of the cost of Vienna which didn’t seem overly expensive for a capital city of a wealthy country it has to be said.