Just like Liechtenstein, we decided to go to Slovakia just so that we could say that we were there!
Eric and I can't agree on whether this is the 20th foreign country we have been to, or the 21st. I say it's the 20th, Eric says the 21st. Technically, Scotland is apart of the United Kingdom and not a separate country, but I count it as it's own country because I say it's special. Eric says that if that's how we're going to count it then Ireland would technically be two countries: Ireland and Northern Ireland. But I think that's just confusing because Ireland is just Ireland. Northern Ireland is apart of the U.K too so since we've already been to England and Scotland then we can't count it separately, and if we did count it separately wouldn't it just be Ireland? I mean, there is epic territorial snobbery in my home state of South Dakota between east river and west river, but we're still considered just one state, so to me, Ireland is just Ireland. Eric says that if I'm going to measure a country based off of it being "special" then Ireland would deserve to be considered two separate countries.
He has a point.
But either way, silly argument or not, Slovakia is definitely it's own country, and no matter what number it falls on on our list of travel adventures, we weren't going to miss out on seeing it!
Slovakia is a modern eastern European country, and Bratislava is its capital and largest city. Bratislava is a beautiful city with cobblestone streets, a castle, and artsy buildings. And the mountains we passed through on our train ride into the city were stunning, but other than that... I don't have much to say about it.
We arrived in Slovakia without a plan and very tired. I mostly blamed the weather for why we were so tired, but also, our trip to Liechtenstein, a really full and amazing trip to Ireland, and then running around Budapest all within a month had finally caught up to us. We were exhausted.
We weren't going to let that stop us from going to Slovakia, though. You know we would never pass up an opportunity to go somewhere we've never been before, but honestly.... we were too exhausted to truly enjoy it, and that could almost be considered the same as not even seeing it.
Eric, Isabelle, & I stuck to our typical tourist style of wandering aimlessly and soaking up everything that we could. We really had no idea what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised to find out that there was more than we thought there would be! But even so, I didn't meet any new friends like I did in Budapest, and it was a quiet afternoon, leaving me very little to tell you about.
The Bratislava Castle is 85 meters above the Danube River waterline, making it visible from just about everywhere in the city. The original castle suffered a devastating fire in 1811 and sat in ruins until 1968 when they began renovating it. Which explains a lot because I even told Isabelle that I thought it looked all sparkly & new. We walked around the castle grounds and admired the view of the Danube, but stood at the castle door for a good long while trying to get the energy to go inside.... ultimately, deciding that we didn't have the energy to go inside and tour another castle.
Do we feel bad about that? No. Not even a little bit bad about that.
Did we miss out on opportunity to see a castle in Slovakia? Yeah, unfortunately it looks like it.
Does that bother us? No! Especially since the original castle was destroyed by a fire a little more than 200 years ago and was only just recently restored. Sorry, but a castle that was rebuilt within the last 50 years isn't really a castle.
I'm not trying to be bratty. Usually I would explain why I felt a certain way or apologize for being a big brat, but Eric says that I don't always have to justify why I operate the way that I do, and that it's okay to feel something or say something without always having an explanation. So I'm fighting the urge to apologize for sounding so bratty, but honestly, being exhausted while we were in Slovakia was part of our experience, and for this one time, I'm not going to justify not feeling like touring another castle.
Bratty attitude and silly arguments aside, Slovakia treated us so well! The people there are especially nice and I loved all the handmade art shops they had every few steps (I think my Grandma Sue would have loved it too). I bought my mom some earrings at one of those shops off a side street and the lady was so nice, and even explained all of the details to me about how the earrings were made (my Grandma would have loved that too), and I could tell how proud she was of everything she sold in her shop. Eric liked how inexpensive everything was even though Slovakia is on the euro, and Isabelle had fun taking pictures of all the cool cobblestones and bricks.
Even if we were beyond exhausted by the time we arrived, we were so glad that our crazy ambition and gumption took over and allowed us to see a country that we would have been really disappointed to miss. We went to Slovakia with tired eyes and a full heart. And left with with a thankful spirit.