It's like Groundhog Day as we started the day in the Park Inn's very nice Il Gusto restaurant, having buffet breakfast and staring out at the clouds and light rain.
I'd really recommend the Park Inn (above) for a stay in Bratislava, it's a reasonably priced hotel in a city full of rather expensive hotels - well situated, overlooking the Danube and just minutes from the old town.
Anyway the clouds began to disappear and it began to warm up during our relaxing stroll up and around the other end of the Old Town. Lunch in yet another basement cellar restaurant, and then we headed back to the hotel early to drop off our purchases before heading out again to explore Bratislava Castle.
Faithful travelling companion bought a bottle of Kofola, which is Slovakia's answer to Coca-Cola or Pepsi. With some trepidation I had a sip, although let's just say that it's an acquired taste and I didn't invest in my own bottle :)
Bratislava really came alive today when the sun came out - the once-empty pavement cafes filled up with locals and tourists. And the weather stayed warm for the rest of the day.
You'll know already that Bratislava Castle sits up on a hill, which means climbing.....climbing.....climbing....just what someone like me with my dodgy knees and bad back needs, yet I managed it ok. It must be that Slovak air. Then climbed up various sets of stairs (I counted approximately 200 stairs) and each level brought a better view than the last. (The above picture is mid-level) The Slovak Food Festival was on today in the castle grounds. We don't go up to the very top level of the castle though - that's enough stairs for now! After taking in all the fabulous views, we headed back down, checking out the city wall behind the cathedral, and walked down to the main square to resolve some unfinished business.
Having missed out on the Austrian coffee house experience, Bratislava provided a very acceptable substitute: Kaffee Mayer. A little piece of Austria in the centre of Bratislava. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
After coffee and some final souvenir shopping (a fabulous necklace and two bracelets for 7 euros - bargain!) we headed back to get ready for our last night out...another night, another basement restaurant, another big portion and another 3lbs gained ha ha!!
For an established stag-weekend destination I feared the worst about Bratislava on a Friday night. But we needn't have worried. Everyone's out at the bars having fun and drinking copious amounts of beer (quelle surprise..!) but there are no signs of any trouble. Needless to say that after the bar-hopping and beer-sampling we were both a bit merry ourselves - and stayed out till 2am!! A very enjoyable night, to end a very enjoyable holiday.
We went home on Saturday, by which time the heatwave was in full swing. But it didn't matter. For Bratislava is a lovely city in all weathers, and I'd really recommend it as an interesting and affordable short-break destination.