Sunday, February 19, 2006

Next Station: Bratislava

The Castle

A random meeting with Chris forms the basis of my next tale - a trip to Bratislava; and yes, what they say about the women is true... I think it'll take a while before my jaw returns to it's normal position!

We stayed in the delightful Hotel Stop, where the staff have such an eye for detail that they provide complimentary blood stains with your unwashed bed linen. Pillows come in a lovely shade of dried semen yellow, while the multi-functional bathroom sink doubles as a shower! The phone number is shown in the photo (thanks to Chris), should you ever want a comfortable stay in the red light district of Bratislava.

There's a story behind this photo.
  1. Our room didn't have any curtains.
  2. There were blood and/or semen stains on the bed sheets.
An ingenius moment of domesticity from Chris ensured that both problems were solved.

We also came across this peculiar dish during our stay. When I read "soup served in bread" on the menu, I though it must just be a mis-translation. "It's the other way round, surely. This must be their way of describing croutons", I though. I was wrong.

Bratislava is pretty small, and as such, there's not that much to see. The castle is nice from the outside, but then you go inside and it appears to be falling apart. The strange flying saucer floating above the bridge over the Danube is another interesting sight, but it just serves to emphasise that ever other building in the city is exactly the same.

The best part of the trip was the cheap beer, and the bars. Surprisingly plush for such a run down city, there was a lot of variety - but I suppose this is sustained by the steady flow of tourists in search of a cheap drink *ahem*. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera out at night so I don't have any photos of the bars, or indeed, the gorgeous women that adorned them. (Except this one, which I took during the day)

Going to Bratislava isn't about sightseeing. It's about spending time with your mates and having a good time, without having to worry about such things as money, or personal hygiene. Top stuff!

See the rest of the photos here...

The Terrifying Bed

Right, first up it's my trip to the monastery ("Stift") at St. Florian and the "Terrifying Bed" of Prince Eugene. And no, I still don't know why it's terrifying.

Rita and Wili* (the smashing couple who feed me when I'm hungry, and take me on trips that require a car) drove and I attempted to talk entirely in German, with limited success. (I still can't remember the German for "interview", so I'm writing it here to remind myself...
Vorstellungsgespräch). I've been very lazy recently as far as speaking German is concerned - once you learn the basics it feels great to have a conversation, but after the basics, progress comes much more slowly and it can get a bit frustrating. Mmm. Must try harder! I seem to be rambling more than usual.

After coffee (the Austria speciality, a Melange, is particularly nice) and cake (Apfelstrudel, natürlich) in a local café (another thing which the Austrians are very good at is coffee houses), we explored the monastery.

Entrance to the courtyard

Corridor leading to the chapel
The monk's graveyard
It really is a beautiful place. Unsurprisingly for the Austrians, they still managed to emblazon some of the walls with adverts for banks. Here's the info...

St. Florian Info

* long-ish story... Rita and Wilhelm Reinthaler are friends of family friends from Oldham, back when we used to live up North. When our Oldham friends found out I was coming to Linz, they put me in touch with the Reinthalers, who have been incredibly generous and welcoming since I arrived, and offered me the chance to truly experience the Austrian culture. I've been really lucky meeting such nice people here - the AIESEC committee and in particular Mario & Kathi have been great too. It wouldn't be as much fun here without them!


Wow, it's really been over a month since I last posted. How time flies. Anyway, I have lots to update y'all on, so I'll be posting everything in seperate posts over the next few days. Stay tuned!