Bratislava, Slovakia

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Today we went to another town in the small country of Slovakia. According to our guide, the country is half of what used to be Czechoslovakia. The other half became the Czech Republic. “They split the country in half and no one knew they were doing it until we woke up one morning and it was done,” the guide told us. [Tour guides like to make jokes.]

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First we went to Bratislava Castle built over 1,000 years ago. We practically ran to the top of a big hill where it was located. Apparently, that was the biggest attraction here. We had seen so many castles by then, we were starting to lose interest. It was extremely windy on the hill. I don’t know how the King kept his crown from blowing off. We were not there very long, thank goodness.

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After seeing the castle, we took the bus back to the Old Quarter, which is supposed to be a “pedestrian area,” but that might have been another joke. You had to watch carefully to keep from being run over by delivery trucks, street cars (called trams), bicycles, and other tourists. The tourists were like waves in the ocean, one group after another, each with a guide carrying a sign so the herd could follow and not get lost the crowd — unless the guide ran off and left us, which they often do.

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The area had many large green statues, a fountain and the unavoidable streets of cobblestone. If I never see another cobblestone in my life, I will be happy. In the middle of the city, there was a church, of course. Every city or village has a church and this one was no exception.

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After taking the obligatory photos of everything in sight, we found a souvenir shop and bought the essential cheesy T-shirts. Then we walked back to the ship, which was not too far away for a change. We could have made use of free time to shop and sightsee on our own as the town center was so close to the river, but we had to return to the ship to travel in daylight so the boat would not become grounded in shallow water.

The next day we would tour in the afternoon at 2 p.m. since the Horse Farm event was canceled. One good thing in the tour was still on, though, the “Lights of Budapest” cruise. For some reason cruising the river at Budapest was allowed although no other night travel was permitted.

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