On our Post-Soviet Trip Bratislava, Slovakian capital lying on the banks of the River Danube, was our first stop. We went there when Zosia was 9 months old and we must say: this is THE CITY to go to with your baby. It’s cozy, comfortable, easy to sightsee, friendly, beautiful, full of life and free of stress. Our memories about Bratislava couldn’t be better. Till today, this is the place I, as a mother, rested the most.
We stayed in one of the cheapest hostels listed on booking.com. The room was in a students’ dormitory and had questionable reviews. But to be honest, a separate clean room with a bathroom, a fridge and a cattle, was all we wanted. People complained about the noise at night or from cleaning ladies working early in the morning (never happened to us). As a minus was as well listed, that the staff does not speak English. Well, we are in Slovakia, dear tourists, how about you learn some Slovakian for a change and not arrogantly expect the entire world to speak your native language. The staff works in a dormitory, not a 5 star hotel. So please.
The location of the dormitory was as well good – in walking distance from the Old Town, even if you are walking with a baby stroller. There are as well tram lines close to the location, but we never used them. For grocery shopping you’ll find some stores very close to the dormitory.
We start our walk on Mytna Street. On the way we pass Namestie Slobody (Freedom Square) locally known as Gottko. Although it is said to be built in the 17th century, it looks like taken from socialist times. After the square there is a small but pretty nice park (to be precise a French garden) and the Presidential Palace. It was built in the 18th century in Rococo style and is nowadays the residence of the president of Slovakia.
From here it is enough to cross the street and you are in the Old Town. The Old Town in Bratislava is one of my favorite old towns. You can keep walking through it all day and always discover something new. We were there in June and it wasn’t so crowded. It is quite important if you are travelling with a baby, as you don’t want to squeeze your stroller between thousands of tourists. Here it was different, not so much crowded, still many nice cafes and restaurants to sit and have fun. For our lunch we picked “Bagel & Coffee” – a perfect place to grab delicious food and keep going.
The top sights in the Old Town are St. Michael’s Tower and Street, the Old Town Hall, Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, and Primatial Palace (considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Bratislava). But remember, there is no sense to run with your map and check out all the buildings. Put your map in your pocket and just enjoy your walk!
On the hill overlooking the city there is the Bratislava Castle. We haven’t been inside of it but the view from the castle hill is definitely worth checking out. The way uphill is quite steep, so be prepared for some sweating while pushing the baby stroller.
Another interesting object, close to the Old Town, is the Novy Most (New Bridge) with the UFO Observation Deck. And this is what I would call “welcome to turpist post-soviet architecture”. When I looked at it, to my mind immediately came the words of the polish poet Stanisław Grochowiak: “Wolę brzydotę, Jest bliżej krwiobiegu” (“I prefer ugliness, It is closer to the bloodstream”). In this case, Danube being the bloodstream 😉
Bratislava with a baby
As I already mentioned, Bratislava is a perfect city to go to with a small baby. It is comfortable, friendly, easy to embrace and really beautiful. Changing diapers and warming up baby food during sightseeing is not a problem. Wherever and whomever we asked, we could do it. Usually when you travel outside Wester Europe, baby changing rooms and other baby-comforts that you will find in the West seem to disappear and you may think that without these “baby friendly utilities” your life will be more complicated. Well, if you land on the other side of the Berlin Wall, your life is not getting more complicated, it is only getting more creative. It might be more difficult to find changing tables for babies in public toilets but people are more understanding. You are immediately provided with help, they lead you to a quiet corner in the restaurant, put tables together to improvise a changing table and make sure you have everything you need. I tend to think: less baby friendly services, more baby friendly hearts around.Feel free to share: