Yesterday we had a not really nice impression of Bratislava as we had the slowest service possible in our hostel, but we slept in Jerusalem praying for a better future. Apparently our prayers have been answered and the day started greatly with a very delicious breakfast in Stur Cafe’. We had 2 lattes flavored with Vanilla and Almonds respectively and two cheesecakes with chocolate and berries and caramel. The cheesecakes were simply awesome and we have been really, really, tempted to go for a second piece, they were just amazing, and if you ever pass through Bratislava, definitely go grab a bite of them. After this breakfast that definitely lifted our mood, we headed for a walk in the historical city center, in the direction of the castle. The city was full of tourists, but not packed in an uncomfortable way. We enjoyed very much the walk to the center that offers a nice walk in a tidy and organized historical hill. Except for the effort that takes to go up and down the hill, the walk was very relaxing and there were few spots with a nice view on the city (or on Austria). Once we finished the walk, we head back to where we parked the car, and on the way we stopped to a Russian restaurant, called Samovar. We have been welcomed from the owner who personally spoke to us before and after the lunch in a very kind way and we felt really taken care of. The food also tasted very good and it was absolutely inexpensive. The lunch gave us the energies (and two bottles of Russian lemonade) to reach the car and head to our last stop: Ondrejsky Cemetery. The visit to the cemetery, even though is not exactly like going to Luna Park, was relaxing and it was quite uncommon to see people hanging out there, reading or walking their kids, since the graves, among which are also those of some famous Slovakian, are scattered in a very nice park. The time was running and we needed to head to Wien, so we said bye to Bratislava and we took the highway toward the Austrian Capital which is just 60km from Bratislava. That’s right, we took the highway, bad choice. This choice turned quite expensive, actually very expensive, although taught us something new. The something new is: if you ever go to Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Romania, Moldova, Switzerland and few other places and you plan to use a highway, stop at the border and buy a toll sticker. This is their way to let you pay for the highways and this is the only way to do it. It doesn’t make much sense, it is also advertised with nothing else than a panel that says “toll” that you see while running 80km/h and that doesn’t give you much information, but this is how it is. What happens otherwise? Well, what happened to us I suppose. The truck from the Highway company stands 20cm after the border, and stops you immediately. Since they probably make a business out of this, there is no way to get out of it by talking, explaining that you didn’t know and just letting you pay the toll and the goddamn sticker on the spot. Instead, you simply pay 120 Euros on the spot for a 8.90 euro toll missed, but the good news is that you can pay cash, by credit or by debit card, they are very geared, and I expected also them to have Bitcoin payment option. After this welcome to Austria, with our 120 euro ticket to highways valid until tomorrow ‘morning’, whatever that means, we try to reach Wien, driving at 40km/h trying to reach the city with still some money on our bank account. In the meanwhile we look for the cheapest place existent in the town, and after having discarded the under-bridges and the underground trains because fully booked, we found some Apartments rental, called Queens apartments. This will actually be our highest point of our Austrian experience. It will firstly because we chose to have a room on the upper floors, without elevator, but also because despite being cheap, the apartment is very nice and the personnel was quite kind and Russian speaking. The neighborhood of our apartment doesn’t seem the best, but after resting for few minutes, we decide to take the underground and go finding a place to eat. Actually we decided to go to a specific place, found in Tripadvisor, but when we reach it, we discover that this works only Friday and Saturday (I guess the chefs are really busy) and so we decide to enter in a random place that looked good. The choice was not the best. The food was not the best, not bad either but nothing like the other places we picked so far. On a positive note instead, we were very pleased to add to our collection of minerals the piece of metal found in Ira’s sausage, that unfortunately didn’t break her a tooth or killed. We presented the problem to the manager who probably was playing white noise in his brain while listening, and he has only been able to ask if there were other pieces. Apparently he was collecting them, but we were not able to answer him, since we usually don’t put metal in sausages and therefore forgot our blacksmith gear home. We left the place quite disappointed and we also wrote a bad review on Facebook and Tripadvisor, so you can imagine how bugged we have been. Anyway, after the dinner we walked toward the main attractions of the city, or at least the ones in walking distance reach.
Probably our mood was not the best, maybe we had big expectations that didn’t make us enjoy very much the city, but we decided to head back in the apartment and leave in the early morning toward Ljubiana, Slovenia. We will be living on the edge of danger for the night, since it is not clear since when the parking needs to be paid (today was free) but just in case I prepared the next salary to be paid directly to Wien city government.
So far, Slovakia had better surprises than Austria and we will leave tomorrow with a bit of bitter taste toward Slovenia, ready to discover new things and definitely ready to buy a toll sticker before crossing the border.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as the highway company did, and we hope to meet you again tomorrow, maybe with better news! Goodnight!