I came back from my summer vacation just a few days ago. I always dream about a far location in foreign countries but this time we decided to go back home and we spent our summer vacation in my home town – Bratislava, Slovakia.
It was exactly the kind of vacation I needed. I totally unplugged, I didn’t read the newspaper, I didn’t watch the TV news, I didn’t log in to my Facebook account and I didn’t check my email for over a week. And the list of things I did is even better. I spent hours talking and laughing with my parents and friends. I bought everything I needed in sales without any hustle or crowds. I sipped delicious coffee in cafes in the old town while most of the people was at work. I played tourist in my own city and took lots of pictures of monuments as if I were seeing them for the first time. I enjoyed many traditional Slovak meals I don’t eat here in Brussels. And I slept, rested, walked and soaked up the sun when I had the chance. That’s how I imagine dream vacation.
We have moved to Brussels almost five years ago and since then Bratislava has changed a lot. Every time I go there I find a new café or restaurant or shop. I read a Slovak newspaper online and every time there is review of a new place I put it on my list of places to visit the next time I’m there. My list is still long but we visited few of the places from the list this time around. And we will definitely go back again.
I have the impression the people are changing as well. There are so many tourist this year and I am only happy that people are finally finding their way to Slovakia. I think they will not regret even a quick stop in historic city center which is small but cozy. Services are improving too and after a long time people are again opening small businesses. And customers are appreciating their efforts and are willing to spend more money for higher quality products which have interesting story behind them and clear vision of the future.
I may be biased, because Bratislava is my city, my hometown. It is the place where I lived for more than two decades, place where I have my family and friends and it is the place I love to come back to. But even if I am slightly biased by my personal experience in this city, I’m sure it is worth visiting. It is small, so you don’t have to plan a long stay, it is close to Vienna and Budapest so you can nicely plan your vacation in all three of them and it is relatively cheap in comparison to Western Europe so it won’t break your budget.
Few basic facts about Slovakia? In Slovakia we pay in Euros. We serve hearty meals accompanied by local beers and wines. We talk in fairly complicated language by foreigners often mistaken for Russian. We have more sunny days than Belgium. We have small cities with rich history, beautiful nature, mountains for hikers, thermal springs and aqua parks for swimmers and castles for history lovers. Everyone can find what he likes in Slovakia.
If I haven’t convinced you to visit Slovakia by now I will try with one last thing – the pictures. What follows are the pictures from our vacation in Bratislava earlier this month. I don’t know why but recently I fell in love with the black and white filter on my camera, so all the pictures are like that. But trust me, when you’ll visit Bratislava everything will be in color ;).
So, are you already checking plane tickets to Slovakia? What is your vacation like this year and where would you like to go next? Share in the comments.