Journey to Bratislava

2018.11.04

Because of an accumulation of bank holidays the weekend here in Hungary was four days long - and a few volunteers from the On-Arrival-Training used this time to go on a trip to Bratislava.

Group picture in front of the old town.
Group picture in front of the old town.

The thriller before or: About the difficulties to get ten people under one roof

We all don't really have a good overview about the national holidays here in Hungary. A few had the week off, anyway, because of school holidays, others only heard about the long weekend shortly before it. Fact is, though, the idea to travel to Bratislava together was a very spontaneous one.

Originally we wanted to go to Pécs together, but after the first person heard about having four days off in one go a new question arose - What about Bratislava? And ten other volunteers answered.

Organising the whole thing proved to be a lot more complex than expected. In Bratislava, too, there were a few national holidays and so most of the hostels, hotels and apartments were already booked or really expensice. Finding something for all ten people (number 11 had a friend she could at) turned out to be absolutely impossible.

That shouldn't stop us, though. On the spur of a moment we spread out on different sleeping places to affordable prices, each having room for two or three people. Less than 24h before we started to Bratislava the last rooms were booked.

Three days Bratislava

After the frustrations brought by the nearly impossible task of finding sleeping places for us all - and the damper on the mood of one or two of the group - Bratislava was all the more beautiful.

We had a lot of luck with the weather, it was warm enough most of the time and surprisingly sunny, only the wind could get a little cold when you spend too much time in one place.

Bratislava feels very small - you walk through the center in about half an hour and the castle, too, looks very small in comparison to Buda castle. If I wanted to describe the city using only one word, it would probably be "cute".

But there are so many beauties hidden in the streets. The gothic St Martin's Cathedral, Michael's Gate, the Blue Church, the Palace of the President, to name just a few.

During the day the city looks dead, except for a few tourist groups. But when night falls the city comes alive, and the mood rises in the small pubs and bars, with good and cheap beer from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. This way we, too, relax after a day on the streets with a drink and music. Thanks to international acquaintances we got a few pubs out of the touristic eye to spend our time and money at.

The best idea we had on this trip?If we sit down in a restaurant, bar or pub, every mobile phone is placed in the center of the table and stays there until we pay. We're here together, after all, and not alone with our phone.

The cherry on the cake

But every trip ends sometime and so we all say goodbye to each other in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a few hours of Karaoke and make our ways back home, first to the hostels, later to our cities in Hungary.

Tanja, Venla (the two Finnish girls) and I leave Bratislava pretty early and arrive back in Budapest shortly after noon. We planned it like this to have time before leaving to our respective homes to go to the cinema and watch Bohemian Rhapsody together.

Surprising insights

Three things I didn't expect to learn on this trip:

  • In Slovakia, too, they offer Kofola - a lemonade I thought was purely Czech. In this case I am very happy it isn't.
  • Apparently the feeling of "Why are there so many people of my home country" is universal - Spaniards, Italians, French, Germans, Austrians, everyone was there. And we all were saying at some point "no matter where I am, my people are already here". Except for the Finns.
  • The Finns have a word for sitting at home alone, only in your underwear and getting drunk like this. It's Kalsarikännit.