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Published: August 26th 2016
Today we woke up in Bratislava. We had breakfast and then met our local guide, Martin, a young man who had us laughing right away. He knew his history well as did all of our local guides so far. We have really been impressed. The sun was shining as it has been all week with nary a cloud in the sky. We can tell that it is getting warmer the closer we get to Budapest, but there is no humidity and today there was a nice breeze. Bratislava is a mix of modern and Baroque architecture. The capital city is among the youngest in Europe, yet retains a rich history dating back more than 2000 years. We walked along the cobblestone lanes of this historic town center, viewed St. Martin's Cathedral, coronation site of he Kings of Hungary, the 13th century Old Town Hall and the Franciscan church. After an hour, our tour was up and we had the rest of the day to explore Bratislava on our own.
At the beginning of our cruise we met 2 couples, sisters and their husbands, who we have been chumming around with and it was nice to have a whole day to explore this beautiful city. We first went into St. Martin's Cathedral and marveled at the stain glass windows and the beautiful altars. We next went to visit Bratislava Castle which today is the symbol of Bratislava and the seat of the Museum of History. There is a wonderful view of the city and the neighboring countries from its crown tower. We did not climb up to the tower but stopped one level below and the view was stunning. After taking lots of pictures we headed back down and decided rather than going back to the ship for lunch we would find a sidewalk café. We were advised that we should avoid the original Slovakian restaurants as they charge too much so we set out to find a place and ended up at an Irish Pub. The waiter was Slovakian but was born in England. The food was good and reasonable and we just sat and enjoyed the atmosphere and the weather. After awhile we decided to wander around a bit and I wanted to go to the Old Town Hall which was said to have an awesome view of the city. We stopped in some shops along the way and found the Town Hall right away. Actually it was right in front of us. While we were looking for the entrance we ran across a woman who asked if we were German, then if we were Slovakian and when I told her we spoke English she started speaking in English. She was a tour guide and she told us that she was going home now, but that she had just had a group from Australia and the U.S. and that she had never been tipped so well. She pointed us in the direction of a small museum and we told her we wanted to go up to the Old Town Hall for the view, and she said you had to climb up several stairs and she had a better idea. She started giving directions and telling us that the Lemon Tree Sky Restaurant was right next to the US Embassy and you could go up on the terrace for drinks and there was an elevator which would be much better than climbing stairs and the view was much better.
Well after floundering around for a while and asking directions, we finally found the restaurant and were escorted up to the Sky Restaurant. We ordered really good drinks from Mango and Mint smoothies to lemonade and tea. Yum. The view was really great and we were so thankful for the tip. All in all the day was perfect and so we started back to our ship. We had a surprise when we got there. Our ship was no longer against the dock but behind another ship. We had to wait on the upper deck until our ship was docked and then cross back over to ours. This happens quite a bit when ships dock side by side.
Back on board John and I took a little nap before going to a meeting on disembarkation. It is hard to believe, but the cruise part of this trip is coming to an end. When I think of all the places we have been and look back on the time, it seems like we have been gone for a very long time. It has been a wonderful experience.
After dinner tonight, the crew put on a little show, which was silly, but nonetheless made everybody laugh.
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