Tag Archives: Czech

Austria/Slovakia Day 4: Czech’ing Things Out

Might have to skip pictures for now, as hotel Internet is very slow.

I got a decent night’s sleep, but Ellen still hasn’t. That needs to come soon.

After breakfast, I walked to the Europcar office 2 blocks away to pick up our rental car. This is always a fun part I the trip, finding out what kind of car and beginning the part of the trip where we have complete control over the transportation.

First news I got was great news. Our last city in Austria is Innsbruck, so we decided to fly back home from Munich, which is much closer than driving back to Vienna. The rental car woman said hey had a car with German plates for us, so that would save a €100 one-way fee. Pretty sweet!

The car is a Renault Megane wagon, 6 speed. The only implication of German plates was it lacked the required Austria autobahn toll sticker. An auto club was just a block away, I was told, and I could get the sticker there. So that’s just what I did, gladly paying €8 for a 10 day sticker instead I €100.

Went back to the hotel to pick up Ellen and get started. The car came with built-in GPS, but the maps only included Germany and Austria. We had brought our own Garmin, so I entered the address of our hotel in Bratislava and we headed out.

We drove along out of he city, through farmland and with sign pointing to Prague. It dawned on us hat this wasn’t right, just about the time we crossed into the Czech Republic. It was a weird border town, with casinos, a zoo and adult “entertainment.” I re-entered the hotel information and we set out again. We needed to retrace most of our path back towards Vienna before heading east to Bratislava. Luckily, a lot of the trip had a speed limit of 130kph.

We made it to our hotel just about 1pm. It is in an old palace just north of the Danube. We set off almost right away to explore Bratislava. We did the Rick Steves walking tour, which took us through the old town, seeing the town hall, restaurants and shops and the holocaust memorial.

We then climbed up a very steep hill to get to the Bratislava Castle. Not much to the castle now, it is being restored, but a great view of the UFO bridge, the defining contribution of the Communist era.

From on top of the hill, it almost looked like the Communists created the city using Sim City. The ugly apartment buildings were all south of the Danube, with the factories all next to them. Hard to change everything all at once.

We stopped for a Slovak beer (yum!) and a snack. It was late enough that we went from there straight to dinner, to Flowers which was recommended by Rick Steves. We both had pasta and ended up stuffed and happy.

Tomorrow we head back to Austria for the rest of the vacation.