Geneva (8.18.09 – 8.20.09), Bratislava (8.20.09 – 8.26.09), Vienna (8.26.09 – 8.29.09) and Oh Gosh, SO MANY PICTURES

So. A real update. FINALLY.
Last I updated, I was about to go to Geneva from Brussels. For the first time since I set out on this journey, my lack of planning ahead finally bit me in the ass. I decided on my route, and the internet informed me that I would have to reserve two trains. It was late so I decided that I would just get to the train station a few hours early and reserve the seats then and there. So, I get to the station, and go to reserve these seats, and the jerk working the counter informs me that I can only reserve the first train and if I really want to get on the second one, it’ll cost me 80Euro… otherwise I was going to have to book a later train. Needless to say… I booked a later train. In short, I got to Geneva three hours later than intended, but everything worked out fine, despite the delay. It just goes to show that even when things don’t exactly follow the plan, there’s really nothing to worry about.
So, I got into Geneva and was met by my friend Alexa at the train station and we trekked back to her place.
The next day, Alexa went to work and I went off to explore. I first walked around Old Town for a while and then spent a large portion of the day walking around Lake Geneva and wanting very much to go swimming. In Lake Geneva, they have a giant fountain called Jet D’eau, Basically, when they were building the fountain in Fountain Hills, they were like “Oh hai, how big is the one in Geneva? …OK, we’ll make ours bigger than that.” I found Geneva to be a beautiful city, for the few hours I spent getting to know it. Alexa came back from work and we later went out for dinner and drinks– Geneva is NOT a budget city… to say the least. I won’t go into how much it cost to get 4 drinks, but I will say that it was obscene and leave it at that.

Early the next morning, I gathered my things and it was off to the train station again to begin my day that consisted of over 15 hours of travel to get myself from Geneva, Switzerland to Bratislava, Slovakia. I was met at the train station by David, and we then realized that there were no more trains running, because it was 11:30 at night by the time I got in… so we walked to the hostel, and I just kept my fingers crossed that they’d have a bed for me. Luckily enough they did, and the place was actually fairly empty. I threw my things in the room and we went out for drinks. Several drinks later I was feeling damn good and we returned to the hostel… which was literally upstairs from this bar, played some cards, and called it a night.

On a totally unrelated note (see: totally related note), I am thinking about making password protected updates detailing things that I definitely want to write about, but don’t want available to a wide audience.

Anyhow, I was in Bratislava for a total of 6 nights, and this time is all kind of a blur. You can see the whole city in an hour and a half… and I’m being generous in that estimate. Really… there’s not much to see and I wasn’t particularly interested in hitting any museums. So my days in Bratislava were all very similar in nature– get up at no time in particular, go and get beer and/or coffee and/or food… but always beer. There was always always beer in the equation. So, go get one of the aforementioned consumables and go and walk around the city. Throw playing cards and some naps and more beer in the mix, and you have my week in Bratislava. It was amazing and so relaxing and just… fun. I honestly was sad to be leaving.
But off to Vienna I was!
Vienna was lovely. The dorm I stayed in… man… definitely strangest place yet. I was in a room of 24 beds, which was insane, and the largest room I’ve stayed in yet… but man, every new hostel is such a new experience. I mostly just took myself off walking around the city to see the sights. Vienna is full of beautiful buildings, like their Parliament and their Town Hall. On Thursday, I went to seek the Viennese palace, called the Schloss Schönbrunn. I walked the gardens but didn’t bother taking a tour of the palace itself. It was kind of expensive, and I’ve been to Versailles… so I figured that seeing the gardens was good enough. They were absolutely magnificent, as you will see below. After the palace, I set off in search of a museum. I got myself impressively lost and ended up giving up. I decided instead to go and get my haircut. I took myself down to the main shopping road and into a salon that I thought had fairly reasonable prices, and asked if they had room for me. They did, but a couple hours later… so I went to go and have an epically delicious mocha, hang out at the hostel for a bit, and then it was haircut time. Umm… so, I ended up paying double what I expected to… which is entirely my fault, and at this point there’s nothing I can do about it, so I shan’t waste my time whining. It’s a lovely haircut and I’m very pleased… but between the haircut and splurging on undergarments, I am trying to be somewhat conservative over the next week or so.
On Friday, I left Vienna and headed off to Budapest, which is where you can find me now. However, that’s a story for another post. I have told myself that I will write my Budapest update while on the train from Budapest to Zagreb. We’ll see how that goes!
Without further ado: PICTURES PICTURES PICTURES

cathedralestpierre

This is the Cathedral St. Pierre in Geneva. It’s in the center of the old town.

clock

This is a clock made of flowers over by Lake Geneva. A few of the numbers are on the clock face, but most are in random places surrounding the clock face.

jetdeau

The Jet D’eau

lake

Lots of boats on Lake Geneva.

lighthouse2

This was the area cordoned off for swimming.

lighthouse1

I was so disappointed that I didn’t have my swimsuit on me; I wanted to go swimming SO badly!

geneve

david

This is David. I met up with him in Bratislava, where he is currently dealing a poker tournament.

viewfromporch

This is the view from the patio at the hostel where we were staying in Bratislava.

bocchiballsp

One day we went for a walk around the city, and ended up in this park that had been taken over by people playing Bocce Ball. We were mesmerized and watched them for a long time.

manatwork

thewatcher

This is apparently the most photographed sight in all of Bratislava. I feel that this speaks volumes about Bratislava.

shesgoingthedistance

Walking through town, we came across this. It points to different cities all around the world and tells you how far away they are. We were closer to the North Pole than we were to New York.

statuewithatommygun.makessense

A statue in the city… holding a tommy gun. Makes sense, right? Oh, Bratislava.

aummcathedral

This is umm… a cathedral on the way to Hrad Castle.

davidisajerk

David giving me a delightfully fake smile. Jerk.

danubefromhradcastle

This is the view of the Danube from Hrad Castle.

ufobridge

This bridge looks like a UFO. There is a restaurant at the top… called UFO if I’m not mistaken. It’s apparently very expensive.

mainsquare

The main square.

stonehenge

Did you know there’s a smaller, lesser known Stonehenge in Bratislava? Strangely enough, it’s accompanied by odd formations of large circles of empty beer glasses.

1014inthemorning

I would like you to closely examine this photo and note that the time on my phone reads 10:14. That’s 10:14 AM. David and I are total champions.

literandahalf

On my last night there, the rest of the dealers started showing up for the tournament. A group of us went and got beer from the gas station and headed to the park. That is a 1.5 liter bottle of beer. He bought two. We had already been drinking all day long.

bratislava

Bratislava by night.

doyouhaveyourticket

The man in the striped shirt checked to make sure that everyone riding the tram had a ticket. You never know when these plain-clothed officers will attack! If you get caught, you get stuck with a hefty fine. 😦

whatttt

This is a sign on a bus in Vienna. There are no words.

napoleon

NAPOLEON??? IN VIENNA??? Last I heard, he was in Tempe? I, for one, am confused.

mariatherese

Statue in the middle of the Museum Quarter. This was my lunchtime scenery.

lunchtime

This is what lunch looks like most days. Bread, meat and cheese. Plus some fruit, all thrown into a backpack.

sophistactedhumor

There were signs like this everywhere. In German, Vienna is “Wien.” I am showing you this because I have the sophisticated sense of humor of a 12 year old boy.

parliament

The Viennese Parliament building

eumem

This was a really cool monument created to honor the addition of a group of countries to the EU. The 10 chairs represent the 10 new countries, and there’s a ring of trees that surround this, with each tree representing the countries that were already members of the EU.

wienerschnitzel

Lunch! A Wiener Schnitzel and a large beer. Delicious.

gardenfountain

The gardens at the palace of Schloss Schönbrunn.

gardensgate

The gardens immediately behind the palace, with a view of the fountain and the gate.

gardenspalace

More pretty gardens.

fountaingate

The fountain and the hill behind it.

gateshloss

This is called the Gloriette. It’s at the top of the hill, behind the palace.

vienna

A view of Vienna from the top of the hill.

lizvienna

A view of Vienna and me!

bestmocha

There are tons of coffee shops all over Vienna, so I knew I had to go to one. This was the best mocha I have ever had in my life. I went back the next day to get another.

dorm

Here is another picture of hostel living. This room had 24 beds total. This was easily the strangest hostel I’ve stayed in yet. I’m pretty positive that it used to be a nightclub. So they closed it down, threw a bunch of beds in it and called it a day. Kind of seedy… but for 7 Euro a night, I’m not complaining. It’s all part of the experience.

mynewhaircut

And the last picture I’ll leave you with is this. Here is my new Viennese haircut. And a silly face. All for you.

OK. I say this every time, but I’m really going to try and update more regularly. But really, I will… because this was horrendous. The longer I put it off, the more intimidating these posts get. It took me days to muster the courage to do this.

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7 responses to “Geneva (8.18.09 – 8.20.09), Bratislava (8.20.09 – 8.26.09), Vienna (8.26.09 – 8.29.09) and Oh Gosh, SO MANY PICTURES

  1. hi,
    I just randomly came across your blog while i was researching for my travel plans.
    I am planning for something you did, Geneva to Bratislava, Can i know how long is the journey(train) and how much is it? Thank you so much 🙂

  2. thank you for your information!!
    Btw, I would like to ask, how many days you recommend me to visit Bratislava? I found that it is quite a small city and nothing much to visit :S

    I am changing my plans now. Bratislava to Budapest then to Geneva, because the travel journey from bratislava to geneva is too crazy>.<!

    • It’s true… it’s a VERY small city and you could probably see everything in a day. To be honest, most of my time there was spent drinking beers. 🙂

      Consider Vienna as well! The journey from Bratislava to Vienna is under an hour and there is LOTS to see in Vienna.

      Budapest is a lovely city, and I’d recommend a few days there, definitely.

      That being said, you need to rethink your journey again if you want to avoid a hellish day of trains, because Budapest is even further East than Bratislava, so you’re adding time onto your journey, not subtracting it.
      If you’ve not too limited by time, I’d highly recommend stopping in Salzburg, and Interlaken. Those will certainly break up your train journey.

  3. hi,
    sorry to bother again. 🙂
    I would like to ask, which place do you recommend me to stay longer? Vienna, budapest or geneva?
    thank you so much 🙂

    • No bother at all! I’m happy to help.

      That’s definitely a tough question… I’d say either Vienna or Budapest.

      Vienna is a very large city, and you can see a great deal just by walking around. There are also a number of museums you can go to if you’re interested.

      Budapest is beautiful. You can’t walk far without hitting the Danube, which separates Buda and Pest. The Buda castle is pretty spectacular and offers a fantastic view across the river into Pest. Plus, the Hungarian bath houses are something you cannot miss.

      … as I write this, I realize that having to choose between the two, I’d choose Budapest.

      Here’s a resource that may help: http://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page

      I use it to look up what there is to do/see/eat everywhere I go. It’s an excellent resource to find out about public transportation as well.

      Keep the questions coming, and let me know if you’d like recommendations of places to stay.

      🙂

  4. Hello Vivian!

    The journey itself is crazy… I believe it took me in the order of 14 hours because you have to change trains several times. There is no company that has a direct route between the two places.
    As far as cost goes, I can’t help you too much with that question. I was traveling on a railpass, which is definitely something to look into, especially if you’re doing more traveling.
    Here is the interrail pass (http://www.interrailnet.com/interrail-global-pass-order). If you’re not a European resident then look into the Eurail pass (http://www.eurail.com/). The Eurail pass isn’t valid in Slovakia, so you’d need to get a ticket valid from the last stop in Austria, into Bratislava. This is really cheap (€4 ish) as Bratislava is right on the Slovakian/Austrian border.
    If you choose not to go for this option, you’ll have to look at tickets for each leg of the trip.

    I use this route planner (http://plannerint.b-rail.be/bin/query.exe/en?L=profi&amp😉 to plan all of my journeys. In my experience, I’ve found that it will give you the most efficient options based on what you’ve asked for… and you have the options to go for slower trains with more stops (will be cheaper if you do buy the tickets individually).

    I hope this helped, and if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂

  5. You’re such an Expert, Liz!

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