Sturova-Bratislava, Slovakia Travel Day_7-24-14
We don’t have time for bicycling Slovakia to Vienna and still see our friends in Vienna when they are free from work. So we are going to bicycle from Esztergom, Hungary across to Sturovo on the Slovakian side and take a train to Bratislava. From Bratislava we will be able to cycle into Vienna and meet our friends on schedule. Logistically it was the easiest alternative. Sad to have missed cycling this part as it was so beautiful from Budapest onward.
So we cycled from Esztergom, Hungary across the Danube Bridge to Sturovo, Slovakia where we could get a direct train to Bratislava. We got some fantastic views of Esztergom from the bridge.
The train station was a bit further out of town than our hotel in Esztergom had indicated. After a bit of panic, trying to get a fix on the location, we arrived two minutes before the train was scheduled. A helpful English speaking attendant said we needed reservations for the bicycles. So, we made them on the spot and got our tickets moments before the train arrived. Only problem was, this train did not remember to bring the bicycle car along with it! So, we waited two hours for the next train.
A one hour ride took us into Bratislava. It should have been two days of cycling. It rained all day and stopped just as we arrived. There are few designated bicycle lanes or paths in Bratislava. The train station is in the north; we needed to get to the river in the south where we had booked accommodation at Botel Gracia, a floating hotel very close to the old town. It was pretty much a straight shot; we stayed on the wide sidewalks and got through the city in about 20 minutes. Got to see a lot of the magnificent buildings.
We settled into our Botel and went exploring.
We liked Bratislava even better than Budapest. A five minute walk and we were in the heart of the pubs and cafes and old, beautiful buildings. The difference in maintenance between Serbia, Hungary, and now Slovakia was monumental.
With literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from, it was hard to believe they were all crowded on a Thursday night. The selection of dining choices was international; we partook in a local Slovakian dish of roasted pork shoulder with sauerkraut and potatoes. The spices they used for roasting were simply delicious.
Bratislava deserved more time than we were able to give it. With more rain in the forecast, we decided to cycle towards Vienna, only 70 kilometers away, and get as far as the rain permitted on Friday. That gave us until Saturday to get there.