A Travellerspoint blog

Vienna and Bratislava - Day 9 Friday February 16

A new country for us!

View AmaMagna 02/2024 on Cybercsp's travel map.

The countries of Slovakia and the Czech Republic were formerly known as Czechoslovakia until their amicable separation (known as the Velvet Divorce) on January 1, 1993.

Although we sailed through Slovakia on our 2016 river cruise, we did so at night...therefore, we are counting this as our first visit. We departed Vienna at 8 AM, so it was a lazy and sunny morning of cruising.


There were occasional scenic views.


During the morning, we caught up on blogging, attended a few logistical meetings (regarding disembarkation and our post-cruise time in Budapest) and an enrichment talk on the Danube. Notes from Charlie with his Nerd Alert: The 'Blue' Danube begins in the Black Forest of Germany and ends in the Black Sea; south of Hungary, it is often referred to as the Black River. The Danube passes through ten countries with Moldova being the last country before the Black Sea. It is the second longest river in Europe, after the Volga, and the only river flowing east.

Today’s lunch included: appetizers, cauliflower soup, bouillabaisse, and a curry medley. And, of course, desserts.


After lunch, we disembarked in Bratiislava for the “Coronation City” walking tour. Bratislava is one of the youngest capitals in the world, having been Slovakia’s just since 1993. Nicknamed the “Beauty on the Danube,” Bratislava's history spans centuries; it was once the capital of the kingdom of Hungary.

On our walking tour, we viewed Bratislava's Old Town Hall.


This statue lurks over the bench in the Town Hall square. When the fountain was unveiled, it caused quite a stir with its four little boys peeing (sadly, the water is not yet flowing).


Here is the magnificent Slovak Philharmonic.


On the promenade are statues of Pavol Hviezdoslav, the "Shakespeare of Slovenia"...


...Hans Christian Anderson (with details from a few of his famous stories behind him)...


...and Bratislava's plague column.


Beethoven lived at this palace for a year, working as a music tutor for the young daughter. He left abruptly after it was discovered that they had been practicing more than music.


Bratislava has some unspoiled areas that are making it an attractive area to film period pieces.


St. Martin’s Cathedral was the coronation church of the Hungarian empire from 1563 to 1830. it was rebuilt in the 18th century with a Baroque appearance. The cathedral housed the coronation of Queen Maria Theresa and contains the remains of St John the Merciful.


While the interior is impressive, this church appears small to hold coronations. Yet, these markers preserve the coronation route...


...and the golden crowns mark St. Martin's as a coronation cathedral.


Of course, inside St. Martin's Cathedral, you will find this impressive statue of St. Martin as well as Charlie Pashley.


We enjoyed the whimsical sculptures that are scattered throughout the city. Here is Cumil, who pops up from a manhole. The "Man at Work" sign pokes fun at the Communist regime, where everyone "worked" but few were actually busy.


Here is the preserved Michael’s Gate, the only surviving example of the original four entrances to the city, and the bridge that leads to it.


The Communists completely ravaged the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue to build a highway. The "UFO" is a restaurant built on the modern bridge pylon.


This memorial to the Holocaust marks that area today.


The architecture here is stunning.


And we'll end this tour with a bit of whimsy.


Back to the ship to prepare for the Captain's Gala. After a champagne toast, the crew marched through the lounge to boisterous guest appreciation.


We posed for a photo with the captain and cruise director, Bojan, before heading to dinner.


Charlie and I bought some Slivovica (plum brandy) for a pre-dinner toast with this lovely group of new friends.


We ate at Jimmy's, where we were served family style all the dishes from the Main Dining Room:
two salads, Sea Bream, Scallops with Risotto, Beef Tenderloin, and Vegetarian Benedict. Dessert was fabulous chocolate mousse with ice cream.


Then up to the lounge for a night of drinks and dancing!

Ending comment: Our guides in Czech Republic and Slovakia have been so grateful for the fall of Communism in their countries. Their stories of life during the regime have been eye-opening for us. To return to the ship and learn of the heartbreaking death of Alexei Navalsky is such a reminder of the importance of preserving our rights and freedoms in the United States.

Photos are tagged Magna and Bratislava

Posted by Cybercsp 11:40 Archived in Slovakia Tagged bratislava magna

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Well this one pulled at my heart strings. First the Holocaust Memorial then the words at the bottom "preserving our rights and freedoms in the US". Love this blog, love this trip and love you! xo

by Daniella

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