We have had mixed reports about Bratislava and also the campsite on the out skirts of town and we almost didn’t venture to the city but after our few days there we were glad to have made the effort. Reaching the campsite just before lunch we set up and could see that the place was run down but there was plenty of shade and lawn area. The staff were friendly and as a city camp it was better than most we had stayed in. After lunch we purchased the tickets for the tram at the campsite reception desk [90 eurocents each way] and walked 5 minutes to the tram stop. The tram ride of 20 minutes took us directly to the centre of town and as always the outskirts of cities are not are not exactly scenic but it was an interesting ride.
After a false start ie. We got off the tram a stop too soon, we made our way to the centre of the old town and found the tourist information office. The young lady behind the counter was not much help, we seemed to be interrupting her conversation with her friend at the counter, she gave us a map and not much else but Jenny did spot a brochure for the Segway tour and it looked more affordable than other cities we have seen. We have always wanted to do one as they looked fun and a novel way to see the sights, we found out where their office was and walked the few blocks to find it. After booking our tour for the next morning we went and had a drink at a nearby café which had wifi and two for one Aperol spritzers, so we settled down to enjoy our drink, catch up on news from home and watch the passing parade of people. We had a short walk around the town, bought some postcards for the Grandchildren and then caught the tram back to our base.
Waking up to an alarm which is unusual for us, we packed some things into a backpack (rain predicted) and caught the tram back into the city. We found the post office and sent off our mail to our little ones at home, then walked back to the Hotel which is the base for the Segway tours.
We signed our indemnity form and were introduced to Andre our guide. After a short lesson on how to ride the machines we were off, following our guide along the mall and onto the streets and byways of Bratislava. What a blast, so much fun and an easy way to get around to see the sights. Andre was most informative and so we learnt a lot about the city and its history. The two hours went quickly and we were very happy to get about to so many sites and covered a lot of area. Sadly all good things come to an end and we finished our tour with a hope to be able ride a Segway again sometime.
But by now it was time for lunch and even though the Segway does most of the work, our legs still got a workout and they felt a little jelly like, so we opted for the Argentinian restaurant close by which had a lunch special that looked appealing. We had a long leisurely lunch as we had some time until our activity with the Free Walking Tour group, which was meeting at 4 pm. We arrived at the area early and settled down to wait choosing some comfortable looking couches set up next to a free outdoor library, Jenny was able to access the free wifi from the Hotel across the road and so we sat and watched the passing parade.
When the time to meet was getting close we walked up to wait near the statue and thought to ourselves that there wouldn’t be many on the tour, but to our surprise when the guides arrived the area filled up quickly and there must have been at least 50 people signing up for the walk. We chose to go with our guide Andy, a young lady who made our walk very enjoyable with anecdotes and information about the city. We were pleased that the walk took a different path than that of the Segway, as we went into the older city streets and along areas that would have been more difficult with the machine. We felt we had chosen two very complimentary ways of experiencing Bratislava and enjoyed both of them immensely.
We finished our walking tour just in time as the rain started coming down, so we donned our rain ponchos and walked back to the square where we caught the tram back to the campsite. Unfortunately we picked the wrong tram, the right number but we didn’t understand that it was on its way back to the terminus. It pulled into the entrance and we were told we had to get off, we were confused and the tram driver didn’t speak English, but with gestures he indicated that we walk back to the main road and catch the next tram that would take us the extra distance to the campsite. Luckily we didn’t have long to wait and although it was getting late, it was still light and we made it back to our “home on wheels” before dark. We had a quiet night after the day’s activities and watched the campsite fill up with young and not so young people who were arriving for the upcoming Reggae Music festival that was due in a couple days’ time. We decided we had arrived just in time to Bratislava as the campsite was going to be closed to all but concert goers and so it would have been extremely difficult to find a secure place to see the City any other way.
All packed and ready to go, but oh oh, the camper wouldn’t start. It appeared that the battery was flat which is strange as we had used the campsite electricity and the battery is only a year old. Ewout walked around the campsite hoping to find someone who had jumper leads and could help us, but no luck with that. Lucky for us the Ford Service we had before we left Holland came with a Europe wide breakdown cover. We decided to make use of the service and called the number and about an hour later the van arrived to give us the help we needed. So back on the road again. (Why does Willy Nelsons song often jump into my head when we start off.)