Monday, September 9, 2013

Peering, Poking and Perambulating around Bratislava

Ahoy friends. That is a casual greeting and departure salutation in Slovak. That makes it easy, it's like ciao in Italian.

I had promised you a better look at the Hotel Mercure Centrum, and I am a man of my word. Here is an assortment of pictures to give you a better idea of our digs. This is a small business center with newspapers and a couple computers.

We change our view to look across the lobby. It almost looks to chic for a couple local yokels like us, but  you'll not I said almost!

This is the reception desk. They are polite and attentive, and almost eager to please. When we mentioned water leaking out of the funktastic shower, they sent housekeeping up right away, and housekeeping in turn said "yes it always does that", as if it were no big deal.

This is the entry. It seems that they have hot on a novel and inexpensive way of providing an eye catching and unique facing. Colored glass panels. Who knew?

We dropped off some laundry, which was entertaining and time consuming at the same time, since the laundress spoke no English. We arranged to pick it up Thursday afternoon. The cost of the whole load was less than the cost off having the hotel do three T-shirts.

Then we caught a bus that I was convinced was going downtown. I could not have been more wrong. We ended up getting off at an interchange and looking for some lunch.

Patsy had something. I am not entirely clear on what that something was but it involved ground spiced meat, formed into a roll, with Rice and garnish. i tried some and it was good and more than she could eat.

I ordered Chicken which was supposed to be a house specialty. There were chunks of chicken with Eggplant, Zucchini and sauce in a bowl with Pita Bread. It was unusual, though I can't say it was a gastronomic delight.

The place we ate was called the Bastion Pub. It has seating for about 200+ patrons. I think when we were there the staff outnumbered the guests.

Finishing our lunch we caught the tram #2, and headed to Old Town Bratislava. On the way we were both amazed at the amount of graffiti on the buildings. No one seems to have cleaned any of it off or repainted any time within the last long while. It was quite surprising coming from Budapest where we saw little if any.

We got off the tram on Obchodna Ulica, which is a narrow shopping street, and strolled along like the tourists we were. We saw an archway and decided to investigate further. Inside were a carved folk art man and woman. The manha an apple on his head, an onion on one shoulder and an chicken on the other. He is also holding a staff with a bird on the top. Quite the masculine figure wouldn't you agree? Just wait, the woman is coming up.

Here sits the wife. She has for some reason a pear on her head, a cat on her shoulder, a headscarf and she's holding an enormous ear of corn. and check out those boots underneath her peasant skirt. The height of farm woman fashion.

This is the courtyard. It has a decidedly Kraftwerk feel. There were a wood shop, a basketry shop, a textile shop, a leather workers shop and a painting and craft workshop. At the end was a library. It was closed but assumeably it was heavily DIY oriented.

Back on the street again I noticed this fellow riding what appeared to be a ball down the side of the building. Do you have any possible idea...? Me neither.

We noticed another archway across the street. This one leads to a guest residence behind the main street. Imagine staying in a  place like that.

We decided to stop for coffee and a piece of cake that was almost all cream albeit coconut flavored cream. Rich but light, quite the contradiction in terms.

There was another couple buildings across the street. This one was painted a rather bilious shade of green. It had a video game parlor on the ground floor called Hernia. I don't want to give myself a Hernia playing video games thanks.

Along with the coffee they give you a little cookie. When I say little, I mean it was about an inch and a half across. To add insult to injury, I think it was whole wheat.

It did come in a little green wrapper almost as biliously green as the building across the way, which was covered in pithy sayings like "save the planet, healthy lifestyle and coffee experience, and made with love"...nauseating really!

This pink building was across from the coffee shop. Much more relaxed and calm.

There was an open air market clothing. We strolled the length of it without finding anything of interest.

Another  view of the market.

Back on the main street there was a sign for a cafe that served exotic game. Whether it was actually exotic, or merely served in an exotic fashion, we didn't check. Interesting concept though.

As if to prove our location, here is a tram with the city's name printed on it. Like it  says on ADV Rider, if you don;t have pictures, it didn't happen.

We walked a little farther and saw a church. Upon  entering you could see inside, but there was an iron gate just inside preventing further ingress.

Although the clock on the steeple read 8 o'clock, it was about 2:30.

I did manage to take a picture through the bars, this from Camera #1

Camera #2 (an obscure Mike Myers reference from Wayne's World.)

From the church, we looked down a side street and saw something else. Ooooh let's check it out shall we?

Caught a quick picture of a fountain. It had an inscription rebuilt in 937. When was it first built I wonder?

Further down the street and our curiosity was rewarded. More buildings of which we can take pictures.....yay!

This is the new City Hall. The statues on the building are fantastic.

This is the old City Hall. One walks through an archway to get to the other side.

There was a statue of a fellow with a sword, two nuns in the background. It was actually erected by the Soviets to commemorate the Sovaks kicking out the Nazis in 1944. Most of the residents consider it in the poorest of taste.

We came across another courtyard, with another fountain. Cor blimey, it's Saint George again, and this time the dragon has three heads!

I am stymied at catching a picture of this archway without people pollution.
Denied! Sometimes one can wait an the people will clear out, sometimes not.

This was the new town hall, or the supreme court, I am not sure which.

This is Romer Flores, art historian, painter, professor and the father of Hungarian Archaelogy. He died in 1889.

This archway was mercifully free of people for this picture. I had to wait a little bit but the people cleared out. It turns out that there were 3 or 4 tours of people passing through the area at the same time as we were. How inconvenient for us.

We stopped inside an RC church to take some pictures and they began to hold a Slovak. We remained in total incomprehension of the proceedings, but standing, sitting and kneeling on cue to avoid giving offence, until they got to the sacraments and we managed to slip out during the hubbub.

Here is another fountain. This one is the Roland fountain whose construction was ordered by King Maximilian the 2nd. of Hungary in 1572 to provide water for the town's residents. It has a representation of Maximilian on the top of it's tower.

This sculpture is know as the Schone Naci. He was a resident from the early 20th century who was poor and mentally ill. He nevertheless dressed in elegant but worn evening dress. He welcomes everyone to Old Town Bratislava by doffing of his top hat.

This statue in known as Cumil. Apparently he was based on a real life man who spent time shirking his duty as a sewer cleaner to look up women's dresses. Pretty pervy when you consider it.

We continued down the street and considered supper. We finally settled on a place called Senator Restaurant. We perused the menu and made our choices.

I decided on one of the specialit├ęs de maison. Fried cheese. It was unusual but not unpleasant. The rice they serve here is definitely not the same as we get on our side of the pond. It has a very different taste, and is quite good.

Scooterchick settled on Stuffed Chicken. It was filled with the same type of cheese and fresh spinach. She found it dry.

Perhaps we should have chosen the royal pig restaurant. It was a little farther down the block. I don't know about the food here but the mascot is encouraging!!

The Slovak National Theater was at the end of the block. There were two women standing in front of the family chatting volubly and I moved father and farther forward until I almost fed them the lens of my camera, but they would not move. I did the best I could and took this picture.

Here is a statue with an interesting inscription. I don't know Slovak, but it looks like it celebrates the Soviet Armed Forces Departure from Slovakia.

This is a view of the National Symphony Hall. It is one block from the river, and it was time for us to head towards home.

This is a side view of the same building. Quite ornate.

And finally the gate from the street. Nice gate, lovely icing....or architecture.

And so our day comes to an end. A quick tram ride, a transfer to a bus and we were home to a hot shower and another blog post....thanks for coming along.


Helen Marie said...

Hi Chris...I'm hurrying along to get caught up with y'all's blogs. That last pic is beautiful...I know what you mean about 'the icing' :). Oh and little did AP know she named her fish after a king in Hungary...haha


Scootard said...

Yes Helen,
And the fish is just as dead as the now he stinketh.....haha