Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bratislava Castle inspires my sandcastles

When I lived in Bratislava (the Slovak capital, if you need a quick geography lesson!), I got to take a tram ride home every day which passed Bratislava Castle. It's set close to the banks of the Danube River and for me, it's the kind of castle I would like to emulate in a sandcastle building competition. If I ever entered one, and had any kind of skill at sandcastle building, that is.

It seems to be the kind of castle that everybody takes for granted, just because it's there and you see it every day. But for a little castle-loving Aussie like me, I got quite a thrill out of seeing it each day. I must admit I only walked up the (quite steep!) hill to visit it a few times, usually when I had out-of-town visitors in tow, and the most memorable museum exhibit I saw there was something about the Slovak history of ice hockey (not quite my thing). Apparently there is a Museum of Music now as well as a Museum of History, and the parliament meets in part of it. It has a particularly grand history, dating back to settlements in 3500 BC (it's in a very strategic location!) but what you see today is mostly restoration work started in the 1950s. Apparently there's a new phase of reconstruction work in progress at the moment, which should be ready in the next couple of years.

Just thinking of taking the tram (I think the numbers 1, 4 and 9 all went past here) makes me feel rather homesick for Bratislava and my delightful Slovak friends. And I also feel like I'd better check out Bratislava Castle a bit more thoroughly on my next visit.

(Breaking news! I just saw a photo on Everything Everywhere's Facebook page - Gary is in Slovakia as I type - showing Bratislava Castle looking much, much whiter - it's had a big coat of paint! So if you follow my advice and stop by Bratislava, it might look a little different to my photo.)

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