The stillness and greyness of Bratislava did not really impress us much to be honest. The view from the castle contains a river, a bridge in the back, numerous red roofs and randomly placed skyscrapers. Full package with a stamp that says “average Joe of the cities”. But if you are really looking for treasures you gotta go deep. So that’s what we did, wrapped our scarves a bit tighter and dived into the streets.
What surprised me the most was the number of bookstores. It seems like there was one on every corner and that’s not something I’d complain about! If you ever hear me complaining about books they probably cloned me and something went wrong and I should not be held responsible for any nonsense I say. I don’t know about you, but I love huge bookshops where you can wander between shelves and admire all those words bound together and squeezed between covers. Oh, another thing that blew my mind was how people in this city figured out that coffee and books do go well together and therefore there’s an abundance of really cool places where I can do two things I like best – reading books and swimming in coffee!
Bookish humans, this one is for you: I’ve made a list of bookstores around town that are worth at least peeking into.
Eleven Books & Coffee was unfortunately closed when we walked by, but I stared through the window like a total creeper, but it was worth it as the inside really looked cozy and homey.
Panta Rhei with it’s weirdly fancy name it’s a much bigger bookstore where you can also get bunch of other bookish and artsy stuff. It’s mostly books in slovak language, but they also have a big section of english books!
From the bigger bookstores I definitely preferred Martinus bookstore as it was big, but not too big like Panta Rhei. I would say it’s nicer with its warm colors on the walls and bright lights. You can also rest your tired feet on red couches with your newly purchased book! Coffee is not the best there, but maybe chai latte then?
82 book & design shop was also unfortunately closed, but it really seemed like a little gem I am looking forward to checking it next time I’m in town.
Last, but not least let’s mention Urban space, which is one of the most hipster things in the whole city, but also looks amazing! Small jungle amidst all the city’s concrete with shelves stacked up with bunch of books and delicious food waiting to be eaten! Yes, this is where you’ll find the best avocado toast and if you didn’t have a thing for avocados before get ready for your world to be shaken. Daily soups are also on the list of good decisions you can make in Bratislava.
With full, happy tummies we made our way through the city where we stumbled upon this gigantic works of art. As I said, you gotta dig deeper and get lost in the city to see its true colors.
As the days were still super short we had to say goodbye to the sun and welcomed the darkness accompanied by the moon. More bookshop wanderings in the evening and looking at lit up architecture and you start feeling the tiredness of the whole day.
We finished our day on a literary note in Cafe Verne, a really vintage place filled with books by the literary adventurer Jules Verne. Which just made me want to get my hand on more of his books and travel somewhere either with a balloon or a submarine, ha.
Of course I had my Anywhere travel guide with me – a set of cards with different challenges you are “dared” to do in a new city to get to know it better. All the tasks are fairly simple, interesting and fun!
Next morning we woke up to the sound of rain which with addition to the cold meant we should probably stay somewhere warm. So why not stay somewhere warm where they also have pancakes? This place is just great, I almost went crazy because I couldn’t decide which pancakes to get! Ended up with peanut butter, pears and maple syrup and I was not disappointed. If you’re looking for pancakes Pán Cakes should do the trick.
To get our dose of art we waited for the Nedbalka gallery to open up. The gallery itself is a work of art. It’s small, but with a rich collection of paintings. When you buy a ticket you also get a free coffee or tea in their cafe so we spent the rest of the rainy afternoon drinking tea discussing the artsy things we saw. And other life things. But also fun things. And in no time we were back at the train station waiting to take a nap on our way back to Prague.
So I guess that was it, short, but sweet getaway trip (not just because of the pancakes!) to a neighbor country. Looking forward to summertime and maybe spending some time outside the cities of Slovakia. Making plans with mountains? Yes, that I am indeed.
Cheers to the mess we’ve made!