Though Bratislava is only a one hour train ride away from Vienna, I haven't visited the Slovakian capital for an actual holiday or short stay - instead only went to the local airport - until now. This past weekend it was time to convert my promised and highly anticipated getaway (including Tegan and Sara concert tickets!) into a 'real' birthday present, so T. and I finally went to Bratislava to see the Canadian twins live on stage and stay overnight in a fancy spa hotel. Mama's Design and Boutique Hotel - which I highly recommend! - was such a pleasant surprise to me after my first impression of the city centre hasn't been all too well and a little ambivalent.
I couldn't decide whether I felt a hundred percent comfortable in the very beginning, because, you know, there has a lot of modernisation been going on for the past few decades; still, the standard is obviously not as high as the Viennese one and you can see and feel the history of the town as well as the peoples' current living situation and their very low income, which in fact, is half of what Austrian people make for a living. Therefore, pastries start at five cents and food and drinks (a beer at the concert venue was 2€!) are cheaper than in the rest of (Western) Europe. However, shopping - besides groceries - won't relieve your budget much, for prices in the well known high street stores are the same as probably everywhere else in Europe. So yes, a lot of Slovakian people can't afford a well situated life and that tristesse a little disturbing at first.
Still, there's this lovely old town and a pretty castle (which we unfortunately couldn't visit due to heavy rain) that are totally worth to be seen. The mixture of old and new, of misery and wealth somehow reminded me of other cities - or at least parts of them - and to me it mostly felt like a conglomerate of Prague (architecture and a slightly similar language to foreigners) and Berlin (mostly the parts that still resemble the DDR). There are so many cool locations to go out in the evenings and I really wanna come back to the city with a bunch of fun people to take advantage of that! Also the concert venue - Atelier Babylon - is SO great in my opinion and I'm pretty darn sure to not have been there for the last time ;)
The show itself was amazeballs!! I did not imagine it to be that awesome and I most certainly did not imagine Tegan and Sara to be so flawless and even prettier in real life than on screen and in the pictures. It literally took me about an hour to cope with their level of adorableness and attractiveness while listening to their beautiful voices. It's remarkable to witness such musical talent and devotion - I love how passionate these two (and their super lovely support act Soak) have been. This is insanely inspiring and it even hurts a little to know the tour's over - but hey, I stormed the merchandise and still have CD's and youtube ;)
Last but not least, I have an 'insider tip' for you: check out your ways before leaving home - public transport is insanely cheap in Bratislava, whereas taxi drivers totally pull a fast one on tourists. And secondly - due to a lack of time we couldn't test validity of that - the hotel we stayed in is said to have the very best sushi bar in town! I'll most definitely be back in no time, for my concluding résumé is: the city is very interesting and I wanna experience more of it when the weather's better than this time. All in all, I loved the trip which equals my most favourite bday present this year!