Traveling to Slovakia was never on my original European itinerary, but that’s what happens when you befriend a complete stranger and decide to stay behind in Budapest a few days after your friends head back to Poland. Going for the gusto has been one of the many joys of such a lenient schedule while living here!

The evening before leaving Budapest, Jeff and I sat down to look at his Bible of a European travel book to decide what our next destination would be. Jeff was supposed to be in Prague two days later to meet his brother-in-law who was flying over from the states. Within a matter of minutes, and pinpointing on a map a city halfway between Prague and Budapest on a main rail line, we chose to make a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia.

View from the Bratislava Castle

After arriving the next morning, we explored the capital city, hiked up to the castle to take in the amazing views, and wandered through the Old Town District before getting lunch. The city was surprisingly quiet, but was delightful with its combination of medieval and modern architecture, bridges, and monuments.

Quaint Old Town square

Though we were only in the city for four hours, we were able to see all the main attractions before catching a four-hour train ride to Prague through the beautiful countryside. While Jeff got to sit in first class munching on Kit-Kats (complements of his month-long Euro Rail Pass) I slept peacefully most of the way cozied up in second class. Nonetheless, it was a perfect midway layover on our little European excursion.

To sum it up, Bratislava was: pristine, pleasant, quiet

What a blast!