Well my first impression upon arriving in the train station last night was that I had taken a train back in time. After crossing the ghetto to get to my hostel, I realised this morning that the whole city is a ghetto.
There are some relatively nice bits in the old town but much like East Germany, the communists worked hard to destroy everything and build up the ugliest stuff they could think of. In fact, something like 70% of the old town was destroyed by the communists. They decided to leave Prague as the classic, old city and to make Bratislava the new, modern city. But this is new and modern by Soviet standards, so it’s actually old and ghetto.
They’ve got a castle up on the hill but a highway divides it and the old cathedral.
I found a Geocache near there. At least they’ve got that. They also have Europe’s ugliest bridge:
And then there’s the Blue Church:
Yes, they were serious about the name.
Anyway, as a Western European, I am forced to turn my nose at this place, much like a Vancouverite might do upon visiting London, Ontario. But the people I’ve met have been super nice, so maybe the comparison is even more valid (stuck up, snobby Vancouver people vs. real, nice Ontario people).
I forgot to take a picture but I had a meal with three people I met in the free tour (the tour guide was only a 20 year old girl but seemed to know everything – finally a tour guide who was an enthusiastic native!) for less than 18€ – and I’m talking the total for everyone, with drinks. Crazy.
The only unfriendly person I met so far was the post office lady but I guess “going postal” didn’t get made up from nowhere.
Well in under two hours, I’ve got a four hour trip to the last stop – Prague. Then it’s almost time to rejoin the real world. What a trip it’s been. Too bad I am coming down with a bit of something as I approach the finish line.