Bratislava and the float to Budapest – Day 9

We awoke just a short walk outside Bratislava. It is a fairly small capital city with a population just over 500,000. It is the only capital city that borders three countries – Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. That partially explains its many years of integration into Hungary and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Since WWI the history has been somewhat tumultuous with periods of sovereignty, combination with the Czech Republic, occupation by the Nazis, a Soviet Socialist Republic and finally independent again in 1993. It has only been 21 years since they’ve had democratic rule. It shows.

They are making strides but they openly (VERY openly) talk about having to dig out of the hole left by the paradise of Communism. One interesting example is the Breslau Castle. While the Soviets did try to repair some of the damage done by the Nazis, their utilitarian approach eliminated much of the original components of the architecture. Here is an example of the castle seen from town, and a close up with restoration underway. You can see part of one of the original gothic windows peeking out from the “modern” windows installed in its place.

The town squares and pedestrian malls are open and inviting. There are lots of other examples of buildings in significant disrepair. They have a lot of digging out to do. Fortunately the people we met have a lot of grit and determination. It is also becoming somewhat of a manufacturing mecca with many auto manufacturers bilding or expaning locations in town. Their low labor rate makes this attractive.

We left at noon and started the long ride to Budapest (ETA was 11PM). Shortly after we left we hit a nice rain shower that you can see one of the sister Viking ships is about to experience in this photo.

More pictures will be added to this post later. Internet connectivity from a boat can be challenging. 🙂

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