dinsdag 6 november 2012

Bratislava





If you focus on the compact historic centre, you’ll see cobblestoned roads, pedestrian plazas, pastel 18th-century rococo buildings and street cafés galore. Expand your gaze and you can’t miss the institutional housing blocks and bizarre communist construction beyond. An age-old castle shares the skyline with a 1970s UFO-like bridge. And that’s Bratislava: a mix of new, old and older. All of which is worth a look.

As post-EU-membership investment pours in, the whir of construction equipment in all quarters signals that Slovakia’s capital is growing. The city has a buzz to it: beautiful people wearing black flock to the newest chichi eatery as soon as it opens. Weekend nights it’d be odd if you didn’t see a gang or two of non-Slovak-speaking blokes wandering around the streets of the old town. There’s something a bit reckless about the development, though. Zoning laws are largely ignored, and an odd mix of antireform-minded parties took control of the parliament in June 2006.

Who knows what the town will be like in a few years, but for now the old centre is supremely strollable. Amble around the mazelike pedestrian alleys, stopping for a coffee – or an adult beverage or two – in cafés along the way. Hike up to the city castle (or head out to the suburbs to see Devín castle). You may want to pop into a museum if it’s raining, but otherwise the best thing to do is just to take in the different views, even as it all changes before your eyes. [source: lonelyplanet]

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