Sunday, December 16, 2018

Arriving in Old Town Bratislava, Slovak Food Festival and Dinner at Parlement Restaurant

I have been wanting to visit Bratislava for years but never came around to actually planning the trip.

Bratislava panorama from the castle hilltop.

Just about to enter the Old Town's city gates.

The travel plan was to combine 3 cities in 3 neighbouring Central European countries: Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia) and a little road trip to Sopron (Hungary), famous for its wine. They are located not more than an hour away from each other. See, I did my homework.

But fate had its own way of orchestrating real life. Last May, I went to visit Bratislava on a business trip.

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My limousine pick-up from Vienna airport bringing me to Bratislava.

I flew with Austrian Air to Vienna Airport because, strangely, there are no direct flights from Amsterdam to Bratislava. Vienna Airport luckily is just 45 minutes away with the car to Bratislava. Because this is a business trip, I booked a comfortable limousine service that will bring me directly to my meeting.

Most of my business trips these days are quick. I normally fly in the afternoons, stay overnight and then have the meeting(s) the next day in the morning and then I fly back later in the afternoon. For this Bratislava trip, I flew in the morning, had the meetings in the afternoon, and flew back the next day.

I don’t really get to see much sightseeing unless the location of my business meeting is in the city center. Then I consider myself lucky to be able to combine business with a bit of pleasure. This was the case with this Bratislava trip.

My hotel room which is more like a standard room.

The breakfast area. This photo I took the next day in the morning.

In Bratislava, the business meeting was in the city, just a stone’s throw away from the Old Town. So with that in mind, I made a decision to book a hotel in the Old Town and promised myself to see the city as much as I can. I read that the Old Town is small so it will be easy to cover the main sights, even for just an hour or two.

After my whole afternoon meeting, I went to the hotel to check-in and rest a bit. Although I tend to let my partners and customers do the talking, I usually end up talking more, as I present, discuss and answer any questions. So at the end of the day, I am usually left with a very dry, coarse and tired throat.

This is Michael's Gate, the 14th-century city gate (now a museum as well).

The plan for the evening was a dinner at the Parlement Restaurant near where the Bratislava Palace is located. Zet (my customer/business partner) and I were thinking of taking a little stroll in the lovely and green surroundings of the palace. She wants to show me some panoramic view of the Old Town and the Danube River before proceeding to the restaurant.

As we were walking around, we bumped into a local festivity. Look what we’ve found?

The Slovak Food Festival

Normally I would research events like this before my trip, but this one, I did not know anything. So I got lucky I guess because I love checking out new foods during my travels, the local markets and any event really that is related to food.

Smoked and air-dried meats are typical and popular in Central Europe.

Selfie with the sister?

There was a band playing as well but with a very little audience.

A wine stall selling local wines from the region.

We were toying at the idea of buying some wine at the food festival, however, you can only do this by making use of the festival coins. But I was not in the mood to go through the hassle of exchanging cash with the festival coins. So we dropped the idea and controlled out thirst for alcohol.

We went on to explore the food festival, as well as catch some lovely panoramas of the city. Mission accomplished!

Bratislava has a booming economy. The city and country are growing. Locals who have left to work in western Europe have come back to help support the growth of the country. There is a lot of work available; the outsourcing demand for business and technical support services for large technology multinationals in Europe has increased for Eastern European countries like Slovakia.

City panoramas.

From the fortifications looking over to the Danube River.

A glimpse of the Old Town.

As soon as we have seen much of what needs to be seen, we left the food festival and walked to the direction of the restaurant. We passed by the Bratislava Palace, which was already closed for the day when we walked by. Perhaps on my return to Bratislava, I will check her out.

We reached the restaurant and I was not disappointed with the location.

The Bratislava Palace.

The walls and fortifications of the palace.

I learned that the restaurant is called Parlement because it’s located near the Parliament building and that most people dining here are politicians. The restaurant has an outdoor terrace overlooking the Danube River. The indoor area has floor to ceiling glass windows so that’s a major plus in why we chose this place. We sat inside because the evening was expecting a bit of shower. No one wants to get wet.

We both settled for some local dish and that's meat. Slovak cuisine is far from any French or Italian influence. It’s somewhat related to German and Dutch, in the sense that it’s more of a hearty type of meal. You've got meat and potatoes as the basis. Perfect for the winter I guess.

Outdoor terrace of Parlement Restaurant. We sat inside because there was forecast of showers.

Local Slovak cuisine is all about meat. We shared this starter which was delicious.

Slovak Cuisine is also represented with beetroot and potatoes. Very interesting is that the potato is mashed and shaped like massive almonds and then partly grilled.

So that was my first day in Bratislava. So far, so good =)

I have a few more Bratislava posts. Stay tuned.

Travel Period: May 2018
Destination: Bratislava, Slovakia

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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