Originally published 14 May 2012.
Time to figure out the Bratislavan public transportation systems! Now, where’s that bus station? Today’s mission: Devin Castle ruins, about 20 minutes from the city center. I was really confused about the buses at first, and I don’t think I did everything right as far as my tickets were concerned, but I didn’t get arrested, so the day started as an overall success!
When I made my way to the castle with the help of some kindly Bratislavans, I started getting really excited! I am just fascinated with castles, and particularly with ruins. It’s just amazing to me that anything can be that old. And castles are only for fairytales, right?
Not here! It was only about 3 Euro (around $4 at the time), which I thought was quite the deal! There was a one-room church at the foot of the big hill leading up to the castle, and a couple of houses/workshops, too. The castle itself was used from the 9th century, and owned by various people until the mid 20th century. The last family who owned it acquired it in the 17th century!
There was an interesting exhibit inside all about weaponry and defense systems for medieval fortifications and castles. They actually used stone cannons, hand-made bullets, tools, swords, maces, torture devices, arrows and crossbows, and lots of other things all on display.
Another interesting part was the well. It still has water in it! It’s 55 meters deep, which is about 170 feet or something close to that. The lady there talking about it dumped a mug of water in and we waited… and waited… and waited… and then… SPLASH! There’s still water in there! The well was a very important thing to explore when they were excavating the castle. Apparently, there was pottery, trash, tools, and other stuff to be found way down in there. They used the artifacts they found to determine dates of when the castle was built, what they used it for, who lived there, etc. It’s amazing what they can find out from people’s trash.
I roamed around the grounds for a bit—it’s very pretty! It’s situated up on a big hill between the Danube and Moravian Rivers, and they offer boat rides between here, Bratislava, and Vienna.
Back to the bus stop! There’s more to see in town. I either just missed the bus, or someone didn’t know what they were talking about when they said the bus comes every 15-20 minutes. I was definitely sitting there waiting for at least 40 minutes! Oh well. I got some blogging done because I’d taken my laptop with me. Gotta keep busy!
Back in Bratislava’s Old Town, I found some delightful Hungarian Goulash with “dumplings,” which were really just slices of bread, for lunch.
And around lunch time it started to get HOT. Time to change into a dress! I was supposed to meet my new friend Lucia from the church in town between 4 and 5, but there were a couple of other things I wanted to see first. So I walked back to the hotel to change and headed to my next stop, the city history museum, before meeting her at Hviezdoslav’s statue. And boy am I glad I did—it got hotter and hotter as the day wore on!
I had two hours to explore the museum, but two hours was definitely not enough time! There was so much to see and so much to read. I went all the way up to the top of the big clock tower (the one with Napoleon’s cannonball in it) and got to see the best view of the main square.
There were clothes, weapons, tools, pottery, keys, official wax seals, and targets , as well as more modern items, all the way up to the 20th century. If I go back to Bratislava, I am dedicating at least 5 hours, if not a while day, to this museum!
Next up: Meeting Lucia! The friends I made at the church in Poland got us in touch with each other, and she asked me if I wanted to meet up and go to Bible study with her on Thursday evening. I sat and read up on the last chapter of John for our study that night, and Lucia came there to meet me around 4:30. She is about my age and is SO nice! I think we both really enjoyed our time together. I was just excited to be spending time with another Christian in a foreign place. I love being a Christian because I have family everywhere.
We went and got walnut Bratislava Rolls, sat by the river, and talked for a while till it was time to go to the study.
Lucia said there are around 30 or 40 people in the church there; some come just to come, and some are Christians. Lucia said tonight there would only be about six or seven of us. Of course, people were VERY nice, and I really enjoyed the study! It was in Slovakian and English as best it could be (there’s another American named Amy who lives there and is married to a Slovakian), and I got a lot out of our time together. Hooray! That really is what I needed to help lift my spirits! Sometimes I get a little lonely when I travel alone, but then when I meet people like this, it gives me the energy and excitement to keep going and keep exploring!
We finished up around 9:00, and Lucia took me back to the hostel. Then it was time to sleep. I had miles to go the next day. Last stop on this trip: Prague!