Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day Trip to Bratislava, Slovakia

On January 25th, we took a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. It was a two hour train ride to the city. As we got off, I immediately felt the energy of a new city surround me... and crowd me to point where it was hard to follow the group. There were so many people at the train station. From the station, our group squeezed into a bus and rode from the train station to the city's main square, where we transferred buses and took a much less crowded ride up the side of a mountain. From there, we walked the grounds of the Bratislava Palace, which overlooked the Danube and the rest of the city.

Afterwards, we walked down the mountain and walked around the inlets of the city. A lot of the streets felt like small alleyways, all stone, lined with shops. Cars could barely fit down some roads. It was very quaint.

Dr. Moser took us to a small eatery in the basement of one of the buildings lining a park. I was relieved to be out of the cold and into a warm, cozy sit-down restaurant. I had linguine and hot tea for lunch with ice cream for desert. The room's decor was very unique; I absolutely loved it. It was probably one of my favorite places we ate, which is surprising to me, because it wasn't the fanciest and the food wasn't the best (although it was still really good). I think it was the atmosphere that appealed to me; the enjoyment the group experienced eating there. I also got to play with some of the filter features on my camera - thanks Mom and Dad!

After lunch, we walked to the Jewish Museum in the city. It was interesting to see the differences in how each place memorializes the Holocaust. The museum had many different documents and aspects of the Jewish religious practices, as well as important Jewish figures from the Bratislava area. All of it seemed a little superficial though. It was a very nice museum, but again, I found myself realizing that this culture is now in a museum. It is, for the most part, gone. It is history behind glass cases and on display. It addressed the Holocaust, but it did not go into detail about what really happened to the Jews of Slovakia.

After the museum, it was time for afternoon pastries! We went to Cafe Mayer and had some wonderful treats!

Once we left the cafe, we went to a British grocery store in a mall and then it was time to catch the train home. After a crowded bus ride to the station, we got off and began to walk to the platform. I had my head slightly towards the ground, lost in my own thoughts, following who I thought was Morgan. Morgan wore a red coat and I was following a girl with straight brown hair in a red coat. I followed her to another platform to find that it was indeed not Morgan when she turned around. I quickly glanced around to find that the group was nowhere in sight. I rushed back down the platform into a tunnel and started running to each track. I looked up on the departure sign to see that the train to Wien was departing at 5:45. I looked at my watch. It was 5:45. I started to sprint to the platform, startling people around me. I turned the corner and started running up the stairs as Dr. Moser was running down them. "Get on the train!" he yelled as I surfaced on the platform, rushing towards the door of the train. We both made it aboard, safely and out of breath, right as the train began to depart. It was too close for comfort, but at least we didn't have to wait two more hours for the next train in Bratislava. Needless to say, I kept my head up the rest of the trip.

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