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Bratislava, Slovakia

June 19, 2009

The first month of our trip was spent in Slovakia. It’s unbelievable how many people are either not acquainted with this country or cannot tell the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia.

So, let’s go back to Bratislava (or Pressburg: its historical name), the capital city of the Slovak Republic. We found ourselves in a small, cozy apartment on the fourth floor of an old, Soviet-style building. There are no elevators in these buildings, which can partially explain why I haven’t seen a single overweight person during this month.

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The city has its modern and historical parts. The modern one consists of plain, box-houses, painted in colors in an endeavour to impart them a more cheerful look, industrial areas and shopping malls.

If you feel a stab of nostalgia while in a foreign country somewhere in Europe or the US, a shopping mall is the right place for you. Not for the purpose of shopping as you might have mistakenly thought. Just stand there, ignore all sounds and… observe. The contemporary world has utilized itself to such an extent, that most shopping malls in a modern country contain all necessary elements of western culture and look amazingly alike. With a slight effort of your mind (it might take a few minutes) you will reach the state when concepts such as “country” and “location” become floating and meaningless. Your temporary homeland is here, on this migration island.

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The Slovaks mostly do not speak any language except their own mother tongue. Our poor mutual understanding was held up by body language and a mixture of words from Slavic languages and the help of credit card.

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Generally speaking, Bratislava is a business-style, modern village. I particularly liked its historical part with stone pavement streets that take you all along the monuments, small restaurants, book stores and boutiques. Cultural events such as live orchestra playing jazz right on the main square had a positive impact on my general impression.

I guess there isn’t much I can add, except the internet connection was good, so I wouldn’t mind spending some more quality time in Pressburg.

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