Sunday, July 28, 2013

Latest Few Memes

Now featured on "Just taking the piss, mate".

Short European Trip - Sun

Up at 5am - checked Facebook and emails. Rang the missus. Breakfast at seven. Checked out of the hotel at eight and stored my luggage until I was ready to catch my bus to Vienna. Generally I found the Hotel President to be very clean, toilet was a bit cramped in a separate room where you had to maneouvre underneath the basin to sit down, warm, very slow heat up for the shower, very good breakfast and great wifi. No problems staying here again.

Walked through the city and over a bridge, Starý Most, that the road has been decommissioned on and has become a pedestrian bridge. Nice view of the city. Only 2°C.

In the Petržalka are I walked down to a new bridge and then along the frozen mud of the riverbank. Different view of the city on offer. Ventured to Sad Janka Kráľa, a park, and it looks a bit sad in winter. Saw a brown squirrel.

Was interested in taking the lift to the top of the UFO restaurant but it was 6.50 euros and it didn't open for another half an hour so I didn't bother. Walked across the bridge, Most SNP, and made my way, the long way, to the clock museum. Turns out this didn't open until 11 so I shot up to the castle. There was a sign telling me where the tickets could be obtained but there was nothing in that direction. Went to the entrance, hurriedly after noticing a busload of Japanese tourists (!), and was told to go back to the ticket office. Duly did so, asked in Slovak for a ticket costing 4 euros, and was provided with a free ticket. Dunno why.

Didn't find the displays of tapestries, history of Methodius and Cyril all that interesting though. Not overly anyway. Some of the paintings on display were nice but you had to have paid for a ticket allowing you to take photos if you wanted to. Display for a castle that was damaged by fire provoked me to make a donation towards reconstruction. View from the turret of the castle was great.

Clock museum next. Three cramped floors of clocks dating from the 17th century. Pity no photos allowed as there were some interesting ones.

Spent some time souvenir hunting before returning to collect my luggage and then walked to the bus station. Had what I thought was my ticket, it was all that I required to get from Vienna to Bratislava, and was told off by the bus driver for not having the correct paperwork. Nevermind. Wifi didn't work so well on the return leg. Grabbed some lunch from Spar in Vienna and talked to the missus on the free wifi.

Found my driver for the trip to Leoben and waited for my Chinese colleague. We talked all the way. Checked in at the Kindler Hotel just before 6pm. Had a shower, possibly best I've ever experienced in a hotel, and met downstairs for dinner at 6:30pm. Nice evening, lovely food at Arkadenhof Gaststätte Schwarzer Adler, dating back to 904 (think that is the town of Leoben and not necessarily the restaurant itself), of sauerkraut and black pudding. Went to bed very tired.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Short European Trip - Sat

Awoke at 4:30 but waited until five before getting up. Rang the missus who was at taekwondo with The Boy. Checked online for when the sunrise was which was due at 6:30 - in only 33 minutes time. Got dressed and headed up the mountain to Slavín - a monument erected in honour of the 6845 Russians buried here who died whilst liberating the city from the Germans. The sunrise was nice and I was a bit puffed when I reached the summit. Timing was great. It is a lovely memorial.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped at Enjelikovsky Cintorín (Angel's cemetary) at Cintorín Kozia Brána. Interesting how several generations of a family are often buried together.

My hands were frozen by the time I arrived back at the Hotel President. Had a rest before going down for breakfast. Decent feed.

Took a look at the narrowest dwelling in Europe, at 130cm, next to Michalská brána (Michael's Gate) before heading down to the bus station at Most SNP (SNP Bridge) - previously Novy Most (New Bridge).

Arrived about a quarter to 11 and had to wait until 11 for the next bus. Still waiting at 11:40. Waited until 10 past 12 and had the realisation that the bus wasn't running today although that isn't what the timetable said (Note: Checked at the hotel later and the buses were supposed to be every 30 mins). Started walking down the road to the next bus stop when I probably should have walked about 30m in the other direction instead. Waited at Chatam Sofer stop. A number 28 bus came about 10 mins later and took me to the town of
Devín. Some tourists got off at the first stop in Devín but I waited until three stops later which turned out to be the castle, Hrad Devín, entrance, after a short walk.

Only Euro 1.50 entrance fee. The castle ruins look fantastic from a distance. Quite interesting up close and the signs for English speaking tourists are very good. Saw some American girls that had been waiting at the bus stop back in Bratislava so I spoke to them and surprised them somewhat as they hadn't realised that I was able to understand their previous conversation. Ha ha. Spent about one and a half hours at the ruins and walking along the river. Thought I had another hour to wait for the bus so walked down the main street looking for a bistro but didn't find one. Went back to the castle as I knew that there was a shop open there. Ordered an inferno pizza for five euros but only needed a drink as I was thirsty - bit of false advertising. Back to the bus stop and only had to wait 10 mins - got a seat this time.

Wandered back to the hotel after checking out the souvenir shops. Checked emails and Facebook. Bed by 7pm as I was knackered.