Since we had to change ships today, Fred and I were up at 5:30 a.m. to shower and dress and finished packing. At 7:00 a.m. we had breakfast with Richard, Judy and Lucy. At 7:45 we completed our packing and put our bags out in the hallway as instructed.
At 8:15 a.m. we reported to our assigned bus to leave the ship and go to Bratislava, Slovakia.
According to the ship’s info on Bratislava: The emergence of Slovak national consciousness dates to about the 1700s. The written language appeared before the 18th century, and near the end of that century a national movement began to encourage a Slovak identity and the development of Slovak Romanticism with a focus on popular folk traditions. At the end of World War 1,Slovak identity was fully formed, and in 1919 Slovakia joined with Czechia to form a union of two western Slavic nations: Czecho-Slovakia. But its independence was greatly limited by its strong economic, military and political dependence on Germany.
It was then conquered by the Soviets, who wanted to create a pro-Soviet and Communist Czechoslovakia. This lasted until the fall of Communism during the Velvet Revolution of 1989. In 1993, the Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully in what is called the Velvet Divorce. The Czech Republic became a democratic state. Slovakia became an independent nation.
We arrived at the Bratislava Castle by 10:00.
It was quite windy day but not too cold. While we didn’t go inside the castle, the outside was interesting. Because I knew the history of SPQR, I found this interesting.
According to Google and Ancient Rome for Kids:
The letters SPQR stood for Senatus Populus Que Romanusa – the Senate and the People of Rome. After defeating Tarquin, the last Roman king, the people started a new type of government, a republic. A republic is a type of government whereby people elect officials to represent them in government.
As a publicity campaign, and as propaganda, the new senate had the letters SPQR chiseled, branded or stamped on everything that they controlled. Public buildings, new coins, and even park benches got the letters SPQR added to them.
The people of Rome were proud of their new government, and were reminded every time that they saw SPQR that they were a part of the Roman Republic, and no longer ruled by a king.
At 10:30 we left for Old Town with a walking tour. We saw many fascinating sights. Here are some:
This little guy is called Cumil (pronounced as Chumil). As the story goes, Cumil was a mischievous person who while working, used to emerge from under the manhole to look beneath the ladies’ skirts! (Tripadvisor)
Statue of Bratislava Cavalier Schoner Naci
Napolean – one of the few places to sit
We were given two hours of free time, to look around Bratislava on our own, which is really too long. We found no place to sit – no public benches. We finally went into a bakery and had a hot chocolate and a chestnut pastry. We met and shared a table with Iris and April, sisters from Calgary, Canada (Richard called them “the sisters”), who were also on our cruise. We complained to Carl West (who is from Bratislava, as is Billie, our concierge), that there were no public benches where we could sit and rest our feet. He just laughed. We think it is the city’s plan so visitors have to go into a shop to eat or drink in order to sit and rest.
At 1:00 p.m. we had lunch in the Austrian Trend hotel – it was a very good meal and the entire upper level was set up as a restaurant for our entire ship’s compliment.
At 2:30 p.m. we were back on the bus for our trip Budapest, Hungary. All the buses stopped for a restroom break at 3:45. The bus trip to Budapest normally takes only three hours, but took us four hours instead. We were finally on board the Lif at 6:15 p.m.
At 7:00 p.m. we had dinner with Richard, Judy and Lucy. Richard told us their tour guide, while going through Transylvania, told a story about “wampires… and the bus erupted with laughter.
We were in bed by 10:00 p.m. It had been a long day.