After exploring the majestic Devin Castle, the modern UFO Observation Tower and some interesting attractions in the Old Town, Carl and I got ourselves ready for another travel day in Bratislava – the capital of Slovakia. We talked over breakfast on how we would spend the day, and agreed that it was time to explore the Bratislava Castle. We also found an intriguing event happening on the other side of the Danube River in the afternoon – the Gourmet Fest, “the oldest and largest food festival” in Slovakia! ❤
10:30 AM Bratislava Castle
After a scrumptious breakfast at Hotel Pension Petit, we crossed the junction and headed towards the castle. Blessed with a pretty summer morning, we walked the ca 1.3 km-road leading to the Castle, and nope, it didn’t pass by the Old Town, but rather, it goes AROUND the castle. Mind you,though – there were lots of steps 😉 Route: Walk along Staromestska rd, continue along Pilarikova st, turn right to Zamocka st and then, along Palisady. Lastly, follow Alexandra Dubceka st, and then left to.. (drum roll!!!) .. the Bratislava Castle castle!
We really enjoyed trodding on cobbled streets, feeling like we were still in the medieval era. However, the castle itself was far from looking “medieval”. Sitting on top of a hill overlooking the Danube River, its white facade projects a history of a series of reconstruction dating all the way back to the 10-11th century – from Gothic style under Sigismund of Luxembourg, to a fortified Renaissance dwelling to King Ferdinand, and then, to a Baroque castle during the reign of Maria Theresia. In 1783, during the reign of Emperor Joseph II, a seminary for Roman Catholic priests was established in the castle, and in 1802, it served as a military garrison until it was burnt down in 1811. (Read more about the history of the castle, and to see old photos of it, here: http://www.slovakheritage.org/Castles/bratislava.htm).
After the World Wars, the castle was reconstructed and revived once again in Theresian style. It now houses the Slovak National Museum – Museum of History.
Aside from the castle itself, we loved the views it has to offer – panoramic views of the Danube River and the city! See the UFO Tower on the other end of the bridge? 😉
12:15 St. Martin’s Cathedral
During our stay in Bratislava, we had always wanted to take a glimpse of the interior of the St. Martin’s Cathedral. This 13th-century Gothic/Romanesque Catholic cathedral with 4 chapels & 3 naves is used for coronations. But for some reason, we never get to go inside, as it was closed every time we were passing by. We even tried to wait outside with a bunch of teenagers. But to no avail.. So, I guess, pictures of the exterior and the surrounding streets would have to do.
12:40 Break time! @ Mondieu Panska + Aupark Shopping Mall
The Gourmet Fest 2018, which we planned to check out, happens at 14:30pm. Still with lots of time to spare, we checked out Mondieu Panska – Organic bistro and chocolat, a pretty famous French cafe in the Old Town. Since we were off to a food festival, we didn’t grab a big lunch. Afterwards, we crossed the SNP bridge and checked out the Aupark Shopping Mall, before finally going to the Gourmet Fest venue.
15:00 Gourmet Fest 2018
We were so occupied at the mall (or I was?) that we barely noticed it was time for the Gourmet Fest! As I’ve mentioned, it is “the oldest and largest food festival” in Slovakia, with some of the countries best restaurants participating. Carl & I are undoubtedly food lovers, and we like going to food festivals! 😉 The event was held in the Sad Janka Kral’a, a public park with a unique gazebo made from a church tower! A really cozy, close to nature venue!
The event was pretty hi-tech, too. We had to buy Gourmet cards, which contained points to buy food from the booths. Each of the 50+ booths had scanners, or apps on their phones/PC which they used to accommodate us. One thing I really liked about food fests? You can start with dessert! So here are some shots from the Gourmet festival:
16:00 Old Town Bratislava
With happy tummies, we walked back to the city center, passing by the Old Town and an Italian bazaar. For the last time that day, we captured and breathed in the beauty of the mighty Danube river, the majestic Bratislava Castle, and the lively city! I really think that summer is the best time to visit Slovakia, but who knows what mystery it holds in winter?
I was really happy to tick off Slovakia from my travel bucketlist! Carl & I were ready for our next travel destination! 😉 ❤ #spreadlove