A few centimeters after passing the slovakian border, we’re basically standing in the center of Bratislava. And what can you say – after the lasting impression of Vienna, Bratislava just isn’t as …impressive.
The (pretty small) old town is nice, but you could find it like that in almost any european city; the rest of it is neither especially beautiful nor especially ugly, and just not that special at all. The only thing that sticks out to us is a bridge with a modern design that offers really nice resting spaces directly above the Danube next to wide bike and walking lanes.
Now, we have to admit that we don’t stay in Bratislava for long, but when we talk to a local at firstcafe80s, she doesn’t seem too convinced by her own city either. Apparently, even the locals deem their city uninteresting. In the evening we visit the local bike kitchen (a meeting point for bike enthusiasts, often combined with a DYI-workshop) in search of a place for the night, but during a wonderful sunset we decide against bothering a host and for camping in the city park.
After a WiFi-related coffee break, we get out of Bratislava at 4 PM the next day. We don’t expect to bike another 70 kilometers that day, but tailwind makes it possible. The (partly, but more on that later) great Danube Bike Road is a further boost, and even though we take it easy and inspect interesting stuff on our way every once in a while (for example bugs, dolphins (disputed) and a huge sluice), we go to bed (tent) satisfied with our progress.
The next morning we are just about to prepare our delicious porridge breakfast when another bike traveler joins and tells us about his own crazy travel plans. His name‘s Jack, he’s from London and on his way to Hong Kong. We decide to bike together for now; our ways will part at the Hungarian border, but it’s likely we‘ll meet Jack again since our routes match up for a good part.
Even though we have less tailwind and the smooth asphalt of the Danube bike road turns to gravel, we make good progress again that day. We meet other bikers as well, a french couple and two french women, both doing round trips through Europe, and then cross the Danube into Hungary.