Disembarked from the train from Hungary. Thought I’d be able to pick up some sustenance with my last Hungarian currency on the train. Somebody stuffed up.
A) Dogs, they were everywhere. Great Danes to sausage dogs, all breeds accounted for in a 2.5km walk
B) Cobblestones, my luggage wheels were clunking downhill all the way to the Town Square along these buggers. You could be forgiven in thinking I had smuggled 600 hummingbirds into the country. Locals must shake their head and think “krvavy turistas”.
The apartment is in a great location. On the edge of Old Town and next door is a supermarket and 3,214 eateries. The complex itself has a series of locks, keys, special doors – reminding me of the opening credits of Get Smart. Jumped through all the hoops and found my digs for the next five nights, but not before I got scared by my own reflection when I got into the apartment.
It will be more than fine, but I was glad that I paid attention to the sign on the back of the door about not putting paper down the toilet. A big bin of used toilet paper next to the toilet will be smelling great in five days. Could be worse I could have missed reading the sign and later find myself armpit deep in a toilet in an effort to maintain my perfect Air BnB rating.
It’s 8.00PM and I decided to swing by the Bamkomat (ATM) to get some Euros, all the currency exchange places have shut. Now I have money, time for dinner. I search for a place that has critically acclaimed byrdyzove halusky, a dish that peppered Google search results involving Solakia.
This is the national dish and is potato dumplings in a sheep cheese sauce, topped with bacon. I thought what better way to get introduced to their city than a plate of this revered concoction. The “Australian” equivilant would be gnocchi with a cheese sauce and bacon but even that would not be able to match this. Call the immigration department, I am not coming home. Bedtime.
A comfortable bed always leads to a sleep in and this morning is no exception. The temperature has dropped and for a split second I am contemplating a few more minutes in the sack. No, there is a city to explore and adventures to be had. Before breakfast I go to check out a historical church which is on the end of the street. It is known simply as the “Blue Church” because well it is thirteen shades of blue. Got me thinking that with the dropoff of Church attendances back home they should give each of the old girls a makeover?
Enough religion for a Wednesday morning, the end of the street is Cafe Stur, a highly recommended place which is where I find a three egg scrambled egg dish.
Normally I would order a black coffee (Americano) but with that not on the menu I went for the “Supercappichino”. Have decided milky coffee is a poor imitation. On the plus side the eggs were impressive and only a couple of bucks.
The rest of the day has been my traditional review of the local shopping centre and discovery of the city. The shopping centre was the British juggernaunt Tesco. Think of a Coles on steroids and then add to that a Bunnings. Anything you could ever want would be available.
Me, I was after a bottled water and a scan of what Slovakia chocolate offerings. I couldn’t find any Dots (allegedly the Slovak Turo Rudi) so I had to settle with my European standby, the Lion Bar (Europe’s Chokito).
Was curious about and a new upstart the 3 Bit Bar so it made its way into my basket. This was white chocolate covering a milk arrowroot biscuit.
If that combination tickles you fancy let me know as I packed light and could put a couple of your doorstep.
The rest of the day has been me traversing Old Town unappreciating the beauty and history that is oozing out of every square metre. It is that beautiful that you become blaze. Castles, check. Churches, check. Stubbed toe on cobblestone, check.
The bridge connecting Slovakia to Austria has an observation tower above it known as the UFO.
Don’t panic there are no UFOs that will destroy the world. And if there is, Liam Neeson is around to kick ass and take names.
It’s 3.00PM and I decide to go for a relaxing beer. But this gets interrupted by a protest. I can’t translate but by the look of the tractors on the freeway I hazard a guess it has something about to do with farmers getting a bum deal. Traffic is at a standstill and chanting has begun.
No megaphones yet. If that means I have to eat more meat and drink beer just give me the signal. I will join the cause. Seriously, we need to all support the agricultural industry – you can’t eat money. Traffic is back for miles, the police are on the scene and there are a lot of commotion, who could ask for more.
I grow weary of the protest and turn around to see Sylbar, a place which Trip Advisor can’t stop gushing about.
Thinking it will be wall to wall Slovak women, Michellen star food and memorable music I can’t wait to discover this oasis. I am greeted with a sign for cheap drinks and free XBox.
I walk in and am greeted by a lady doing the crosswords from Slovakia’s version of That’s Life magazine. She seems friendly even though I can’t understand a word. I say “Pivo” (beer, the only word I know other than “Good Morning”). She’s gesticulating with her hands trying to work out the size of the beer. I reach to the ceiling and say “big one”.
I think she decided to open up her garage and sell beer to their mates and strangers. I am suffocated by wicker furniture but it has a certain charm that has kept me here for close to three hours (writing this). The bar would be six square metres at best.
The music is the local radio. Classic Rock mixed with local music quota. My untrained ear can work out the local stuff because I haven’t heard a Slovak punk song with an English chorus “Lesbians Write Gay Songs“. Amongst the hits the music has been Rolling Stones (twice), The Killers, Greenday and even Midnight Oil got a spin. For the 4 minutes and 28 seconds I felt a little bit homesick. Can’t see an Xbox anywhere but I was never any good at playing Halo anyway.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the kids burst through the front door after school. Maybe the hubby makes his way down to throw back vodkas and arm wrestle tourists? A couple of times I am the only one here as she wanders outside to give me a running commentary of the protest. Let’s hope that nobody comes in while she is outside. I could always stall them by repeating “Dobry den” (good morning) at increasing volume to get her attention. Crisis adverted, she re-enters the mancave and gives me the update in her best English. “Sttriike”. I nod, and reply, “Farmers, strike”. She nods. I’m a true conversationalist.
Decide to end my fun here, I’ve had five beers (three more than what I had planned but I felt I had to help her and the farmers out). Thankfully a local walks in so I can leave this place in good hands. When I get back to Australia I am going to see if Mum wants to run a little bar like this out of the garage at home. Use some of Dad’s supplies, dust off an old radio and fire up the toasted sandwich maker. We just need to source some cane furniture and this could be the start of something great.