The Danube River as it runs through Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia, on the evening of October 15, 2014. This is looking more or less southeast, downriver. The picture below is from underneath the New Bridge on the western shore of the Danube River.
The bridge was built between 1967 and 1972 under a project managed by A. Tesár, J. Lacko, and I. Slameň. It officially opened on August 26, 1972, as the second bridge over the Danube in Bratislava. A significant section of the Old Town below Bratislava Castle, which included nearly all of the Jewish quarter, was demolished to create the roadway that led to it; on the other hand, the bridge improved access between Petržalka and the rest of the city. Parts of the historical city walls were unearthed during construction.
Located on the west shore of the river and anchoring the “seventh largest cable-stayed bridge in the world” the viewing platform is accessed by a rather stomach-turning elevator ride up the inside of one of the pillars. You can feel the elevator sway and lurch in the shaft. It is worth the ride however, because the view of the city from the top is incredible.
No matter that Slovakia is part of the European Union, it is still eastern Europe. A lot has changed in the nineteen years since I was here last but the underlying flavor has not, thank God. I’m sure that flavor will be gone before the next nineteen years have passed as Slovakia is powering headlong into the blandness of modern Europe – and considering the not-so-distant past, that is probably only a good thing.
I’m in my usual end-of-the-trip funk where I’m exhausted from all the action and alone in a hotel a bit overwhelmed with all my pictures and notebooks, missing my new friends that I made on this trip, missing other old friends scattered all over Europe…while at the same time desperate to get back to my kiddos who I miss more than anyone. I’ll wander around Bratislava today, eat some gulash and figure out how to get my butt to the Vienna airport at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
So ends my first (of many to come) European Wilderness Trip.
Vienna – Frankfurt – Chicago – Denver – two hour car drive to my mother’s house….hell, its going to be a long day.
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