Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bratislava, Slovakia: Part 3

Barbara is recently married and has a private conservation studio in the country outside of Bratislava.  She spends quite a bit on time in the city though, teaching at the Academy, so she stays with her mom's flat, which is right outside the city.  She (and her mom) invited me to stay with them, which was really fantastic.

Barbara's mom is teeny-tiny and didn't speak any English.  She said we could talk in Bulgarian, but unfortunately I don't know any Bulgarian.  So we mainly just smiled at each other.  She gestured that I wasn't eating as much as she would like.  I smiled and gestured that I couldn't eat any more without exploding.  

Though Slovakia is part of the European Union, the country does not use the Euro.  They use the Slovak Koruny, the Slovak Crown (abbreviated as Sk).  Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for me) the Sk is not very strong, with 1 Sk = $0.05.  

Slovakia will be making the switch to the Euro in January of 2009.  This will be the third currency switch in the past 20 years.

The presidential palace.

St. Martin's cathedral.

Aside from sheep cheese, Slovakia is also known for beer.

Buses, trollies, and hybrid trolly/buses run all over Bratislava.  Technically you have to pay for them, but nobody does.  You are supposed to purchase the ticket at the machine by the stop, and then get it stamped on the bus/trolly/hybrid once you are inside.  I saw maybe three people in the three days I was in Bratislava actually get a ticket stamped.  Barbara and I bought tickets on Saturday, and then carried them around with us for the next two days, just in case a ticket inspector was on board.  You only need to get a ticket if the an inspector is on board: checking for tickets is not the bus driver's job, and he or she certainly doesn't care if you have one.

Barbara at a bus stop.  Some things (bus shelters, architecture, etc) felt very Soviet in style.

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