Robin's Adventures

Danube River Cruise
A River Adventure

Statuesque

Old town Bratislava was filled with many fun statues. There are many interesting stories about \"The Watcher\", a man peering out of a manhole cover at the corner of a major intersection. One story says he is typical of a communist era worker that is not terribly motivated to perform his duties. Another story is that he is hanging around and looking up women's skirts.

The Greeter is a man who loved a woman that did not love him back. He went mad and wandered the streets tipping his hat and giving flowers to random women.

The Napoleonic soldier is a great photo op in the town square. The picture of Robin is current, but the picture of Robin and Steve was taken in 2004 when we first visited Bratislava. Notice that the soldier hasn't changed a bit!

Also noteworthy were the Hans Christian Anderson statue, the soldier in a guardhouse, random statues on the corners of buildings, and the Roland fountain which was built by King Maximilian II in 1572 to provide a public water supply.

Artistic and Whimsical

There was a great deal of local color as we wandered through the streets of Bratislava. There were paintings on the sides of walls, life sized dolls sitting on benches in front of shops, humorous figures standing in sidewalk cafes, cool train-like tourist trams, and old fashioned bike racks. Something serendipitous greeted us as we rounded each corner. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon.

Out to the Suburbs

In the late afternoon, we headed out of the city to visit a typical home. We passed the train switching yard and several round-a-bouts that were in the middle of grassy pastures. We arrived at a home in the suburbs that was said to be typical of how the locals lived. The woman who lived there was gracious and told us her life story as she showed us around.

The Way it Was

Part of the home was left in its original condition so we could see what life was like in the past. There was an old wood fire oven in an out-building adjoining the house. It had been used for baking bread.

There was a chicken coop and many fruit trees in the yard that still provided eggs, chicken, and various fruits for the woman to eat.

In the old kitchen, we gathered around the table and were given wine and apple strudel as the woman shared her stories.

The Way it Is

We also had an opportunity to see the renovated "modern" portion of the home.

A Taste of Vienna

Vienna is an elegant city in the heart of Austria. We began on the Ring Road which circles the city center. We saw some beautiful old churches, museums, and government buildings as we drove through the city.

Some noteworthy buildings include the St. Francis of Assisi Church, the Rathaus (City Hall), St. Peter's Church (the oldest church in Vienna), the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel at the entrance to Prater Park, the Austrian Parliament Building, the Concert Hall, the State Opera House, and the Austrian National Library.

Horsing Around

We dropped in at the Spanish Riding School, home to the Royal Lipizzaner horses. The school, which was founded in 1572, teaches classic dressage.

Hofburg Imperial Palace

The Hofburg Palace has been home to a variety of monarchs since it was built in the 13th century. Currently it is the official office and residence of the Austrian president.

Sweet

The Demel Pastry Shop, which proudly bears the title of Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court, was first established in 1786. In the window, we saw a cake in the shape of a royal crown.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's Cathedral, which was originally built between 1147 and 1160, has been damaged and rebuilt several times throughout history. It is a Gothic style building made of limestone. The south tower stands 446 feet tall and is one of the highest points in the Vienna skyline.

The church has 23 bells, including one that at 44, 380 pounds is the largest in Austria and the second largest swinging bell in Europe. It is said that when Beethoven saw birds flying from the bell tower, but could not hear the bells himself, he knew that he was totally deaf.