Go out and listen to something…

July 13, 2006

Bratislava

Filed under: Art, music, travel, Vienna — burnett @ 12:47 am

I had the chance to take a run to Bratislava yesterday.� It is only an hour from Vienna by bus.� The architecture is quite similar to Vienna, and the old part of the city is not unlike the 1st district of Vienna.� The main difference is that Bratislava is behind Vienna in terms of renovation and restoration.� This is not a bad thing, since it means that family run shops still exist in the old quarter.� But I am sure that the rent will go up and it will become a haven for high end retailers like Vienna has.� Vienna still has some small businesses in first district, but it is clear that the rent is going way up.� The small bakeries and food vendors have almost all disappeared.� In Bratislava, the communists did a number on the city that the war couldn’t.� They tore down historical buildings or ‘improved’ them.� On the up side, much was not restored, and parts of the city look as they must have looked 100 years ago or more.� It has that old world charm for sure.� In my brief visit, I was struck by the fact that 40 miles from Vienna, the residents generally spoke Slovakian and only Slovakian.� It was somewhat difficult to get around with German and English, and clearly a Slavic language was necessary.� It is hard for me to imagine being so close to a major European capital and being confined to a language spoken only by 5 million people.� But, that’s Europe.� I ducked in to the St. Francis cathedral to hear a concert by the Slovakian Chamber Trio, comprised of the organist, an oboist, violinist and joined by an excellent soprano.� The soprano and organist did 6 arias of Antonin Dvorak which were very original and engaging.�

� A highlight of my excursion was giving the cab driver a 20 Euro tip on a $3 fare instead of 20 kronen.� The kronen would have be about a dollar, and of course the the Euros came to $26.� Wound up back in Vienna with hundreds of Kronen…

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