I finally made it to Vienna the other day. Despite the geographic proximity (50km), the differences between Bratislava and Vienna are night and day.
Slovakia is the first European country I've been in. Before I arrived, I didn't postulate too much about what life would be like here. The result of which, I think has been good and allowed me a lot of fun while minimizing disappointment. I think it also paved the way for the astounding impression the other European capital imparted upon me. Come to think of it, I was also a lot less exhausted and scared when I got to Vienna, maybe that swayed my perspective as well. Regardless, keep in mind throughout my descriptions that my exposure to European cities is limited but that it will continue to grow.
In fact, next weekend I'm spending my weekend in a town in the middle of Slovakia where the the Romans first made their presence known in 179AD. Ok, mostly I'll just be getting drunk in a field.
As soon as we got out of the train station two things struck me with similar degrees of bemusement. There were Turkish people everywhere, as evidenced by Sarp's smile and the lingering scent of kebab, the architecture was astounding and filled me with a pining desire to voraciously consume as many relevant Wikipedia articles as possible.
I found a Starbucks. I had no problem dropping 5 Euro on a Venti black coffee. It almost felt good to be cheated so badly. It felt even better to know that the extortion was not a result of my accent. It felt the best when my heart was circulating a potent dose of caffeine 20 minutes after I finished it. Most things, kebabs exempt, were about twice as costly as in Bratislava.
We explored some churches, parks and generally gawked at the amazing array of statues and astounding architectural accomplishments. Not so much at the girls. It was however, cool to see a city so full of people.
For an hour I watched windmills and fields of sunflowers fly by, before returning to a station erected around rusted Hitler-era tracks. I still can't believe how nice it felt to be back.
UPDATE: Yesterday night I watched, on three occasions, a mosquito landing on one of my various exposed appendages before taking off again. I must wreak to them or something.