Frantically planning our next move out of Paris, my sister and I were googling for the cheapest & shortest route via Geneva (Switzerland), destination Vienna (Austria) to catch up with my friend Rita.
Price looked good @$60 one way per person to get in Great! We could spend a day or 2 there, then move on to Budapest.
But wait, how much to fly out to Vienna… $200 pp?? No way, too high!! Back to searching….
We were using Skyscanner and decided to try out a nifty hack we’d recently stumbled upon. When doing a random price search, you can enter a specific city for departure, and then select ‘everywhere’ as the destination to find out which is the cheapest destination.
Bratislava showed up top of the list @$55. ‘Where is that?’ we asked in unison. Quick google… Slovakia! New country? Yei! Is it in Europe? Yes. Part of the Schengen zone? Yup! So our visas are valid for entry & exit there -Yei!
Then… how much to get to Vienna? Flight search…. zero, none! How come?
Back to google… Turns out Bratislava is so close to Vienna, we just need to catch the morning bus and we’d arrive in 4-hours… Yay!
Howz that for decision making on where to go or what to do?! Simply ask a few questions such as… is it:
- Within reach?
- Affordable to travel into and get out of both in terms of time and cash?
- Accessible Visa-wise?
- Affordable to stay? [We chose a boat-turned-hotel moored on the River Danube]
- A New country we’ve never been to? [often our top reason for selection]
And that’s how we found ourselves in Slovakia, one of the more recently independent States of Europe, since 1993 after peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, to form Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.
We arrived in the early afternoon, and after a bit of a struggle with language barrier (they speak Slovak, Hungarian, Rusyn… etc. yeah, English isn’t tops!) we were able to get to our cute little boat hotel about an hour later.
We spent barely 24 hours in the city, and the lasting memories were:
- relatively ’empty’ city because it’s sparsely populated
- serenity and calm of the environs around our residence
- the friendliness of the Indian crew who welcomed us on board, and made us feel at home
- the best spicy rice and chicken meal I’ve ever eaten for dinner to date (yuuuum, I can’t describe but I can sooo taste it even today)
- the perfect location of our Krishna boat-hotel with fantastic views of the
- Bratislava Castle
- UFO Bridge and Tower 7th largest hanging bridge in the world
- Danube River which passes through several countries in Europe
- Bratislava City
It was worth the one day spent and as we rode in the bus towards Vienna, marvelling at the endless lush green of plantations dotted with Windmills, we knew this was one place we’d need to return some day.
Wishing you Joy in your random choices this weekend!