European fan cruise with Steve Berry {Bratislava Slovakia}

After a small hiatus I am ready to round out my coverage of the amazing European fan cruise I covered for the wonderful Shalom European Travel with Steve Berry. We started in Prague which you can recap HERE followed by Germany read HERE and Austria -{ specifically covering castle country and Salzburg } read HERE.

Bratislava Slovakia was a hidden jewel! I underestimated it. I guess with Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest on the list I glanced right over Bratislava. But it was surprising! I loved it. Here’s my journal entry from Bratislava:

“This morning was lovely. I slept in and Warren brought me breakfast in bed! Around 10:30 Steve Berry had a lecture in the lounge for the entire ship. I’m pretty sure every single passenger attended. He has a great easy going way with people. After that we ran up on board to catch some pictures of us porting in Bratislava Slovakia. What a different place! You can tell right away that we are not in Germany or Austria anymore. It is a HUGE city. A little dirty, a LOT old, and not much money has been used to keep the cool architecture restored. Warren kept saying it reminded him of Russia, but Russia was even worse. Everyone else went on the walking downtown tour, but Warren and I decided to go with Brad on the communist tour. It was a HOOT. We loaded into an old restored Soviet bus. It was hot and stuffy and freaking loud and bumpy. It took us up to the top of the city through the “Beverly hills” of Bratislava lol and we went to the memorial where 7000 Soviet soldiers are buried in 7 separate mounts. Grass covers those mounds and it is a sight to see. Our tour guide was a legit local who lived there when they were living in communism. It was FASCINATING to hear her life story. Her, like many others actually miss the day of Communism because life was almost “better”. They made more money, had a more secure lifestyle.. etc. She made a very important point that when Czcheclaslovakia was under communist rule it wasn’t like Russia and the others under communist rule. It was a lot “better”, more cushy and her older generation had a hard time transitioning. She pointed out the HUGE apt buildings one after the other in the distance where people were made to live. She also said that an average salary here was $600 a month. And she also talked a little about health care. Everyone just pays $60 a month for use of the hospitals etc. but that it is known that EVEN though it is ILLEGAL you always tip your doctor to get good care. She said everyone there hands the Dr. an unwritten envelope with $$ in it and depending on how much you give will depend on how great he helps you. It was an awesome tour ride and we were glad we decided to go at the last minute. We had a short time to wander the downtown city. There are a lot of of weird street statues that were made after communism fell to “lighten the mood” all over downtown. Then we walked back to the ship to get ready for a surprise anniversary party for Liz and Steve. They were so cute when they came in. The pastry chef on the boat had made a cake decorated like the cover of his book 🙂 We got a bunch of pictures and then we all headed down for the Captains Dinner- the fancy formal last dinner. As you enter you take a glass of wine or in our case orange juice and toast each of the ship workers as you make your way to your dinner table. It was a hoot. I had fish and Warren had filet minon and we gauked again at all the fancy food. There is a culinary certification that only a small handful of boats of all Europe get awarded- and this AmaLyra has it. I believe it! Like all the nights before you sit and talk at dinner for HOURS. Everyone is so interesting and nice and sweet and it’s so fun to hear their advice/ stories. Tomorrow is our last day and it is kind of sad 🙁 I’m beat. Nighty night.”

 

What I failed to journal {probably due to my 33 week pregnant brain} was how neat all the old town statues were. These were an attempt to enliven the city center following the communist era. You can read a cool excerpt HERE:

Can’t wait to go back.

-Taisley

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