Bratislava has two castles, one only a few hundred years old in the city centre, the other a crumbling ruin upon a huge rock hilltop a bus ride away.
On the river Danube’s edge, upon a huge rocky hill sits the crumbling ruins of a castle, once blown up by Napoleon. I only had a few days in Slovakia so I couldn’t be picky about the weather and unfortunately, the rain followed me around Europe. I had to wait for ages for the bus and buy a ticket from a tobacco shop or machine, so I opted for the machine and ended up getting the wrong ticket. Waiting in the rain in a derelict looking bus station, my feet already soaking wet and shivering, I questioned whether it was worth it, thinking, ‘I could be sitting in a warm, cosy café, coffee in hand, people watching’.
Luckily the bus arrived and I jumped on, hoping it was the right one. When I arrived, I got out of the bus and looked up at mountains shrouded in mist but no castle. At first, wandering around in the rain I was regretting my decision to come. But, walking up through the mist I could see a rocky mass with the ruins of the castle on it. It looked like something out of a film. To my right were beautiful mountains and to the left the Danube river, stretching and winding as far as I could see, surrounded by deep forests.
I climbed to the top and the wind and rain were a bit much, it was blowing me about and the rain was lashing at my face, like when it’s really strong and it kind of stings. I tried to use an umbrella but that died a quick death.
However, the view was well worth it and honestly, the bad weather, wind and mist made the trip even better – bringing an eerie atmosphere. Despite being only 20 minutes from the city centre, it felt truly isolated with no signs of anyone living within sight, just rain, clouds, rivers and mountains. One turret stood alone, and I could see where the rest of the castle had just fallen down below and into the river.
I was pretty much the only one there – I mean, what kind of twat would go up a mountain and see a castle on this kind of miserable day right?
But it was worth it, even if I did nearly catch pneumonia.