The Danube River…Instead of another train ride, I choose to take to the famous Danube on a hydrofoil boat from Vienna to Bratislava. The two cities are extremely close and this was my way of getting the flavor of cruising this waterway into my experience!
Lushly green, the banks of the river are laden with and abundance of trees that kind of hang over the water’s edge. We passed under bridges of all designs, from classic to uber modernist. Anyone expecting to see a blue hued Danube as described in the famous waltz will be surprised. Today, there is nothing blue about it! Nevertheless, it was fun seeing dogs splashing in the rocky shore, fishing nets set to score today’s prize, weird looking barges float by, and castle spires poke out from the passing forests. My pre conceived notion of some fantastical river that was lifted from a storybook were quickly broken!
Upon arriving in Slovakia, the harbor was dotted with low riding river cruise boats set against a vintage skyline of castles and churches mixed with modern bland blocks of buildings.
A small yet simpler version of Prague, Bratislava’s Old Town was easy to walk without the crush of tourists found elsewhere. The palace was patrolled by costumed guards, yet I have seen grander homes in East Hampton or Beverly Hills and overall it all felt still undiscovered by mass tourism. After days of churches, castles, and cobblestones it all starts to blur, yet it was nice to just stroll without being concerned about hitting a list of big sights.
Far from a must stop on any itinerary, it’s still fun experiencing a place that most people will say “where?”…I can say I’ve been to Slovakia! Plus, I can now spell Bratislava…