Keith and I are picking up to move to Pécs, Hungary for one year. He has never been to Europe and the furthest east I've been is Switzerland.... Our Hungarian language skills are...well, we know some phrases. Come follow us on our adventure!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nový Most Bratislava

The original plan was to leave for Bratislava Wednesday, February 2nd, stay with Keith's friend Andrej, drive to Prague on Saturday morning and then fly back to Budapest on Sunday evening...train home to Pécs.

Everything that could have possibly gone wrong pre-departure happened: our flight was canceled, the train tickets were confusing and worst of all...I started having severe back spasms on Tuesday.  Eszti spent Wednesday morning with me at the hospital getting poked, prodded and x rayed.  Being not even 6 months post injury, I was told such things happen...and will happen (also I wore high heels a few days before, which was a terrible idea...)

We ended up canceling Prague.  Since we already had the days off, we spent afternoon and evening we spent in Budapest at an amazing hotel.  Thanks to a hotels.com sort of website, we got an $800 room for about $150.  The bathroom floors were heated.

Also, we could use the toilet whilst talking on the landline whilst watching someone take a shower.  (we did not take advantage of such opportunities) In the evening we met up with the always lovely Emily and her boyfriend Isti.  Long story short, Isti (who is from Transylvania) was a camp counselor at a camp in Moodus, CT (Keith's hometown with a population of 10) back in the summer of 1999 (the year Keith graduated high school....and the same summer his friend from Bratislava was studying in Moodus)  SMALL FREAKING WORLD.

Friday morning we left for Bratislava...or shall I say, Pozsony (the city's name when it was still part of Hungary) to spend some time with Keith's friend Andrej.  The two met during Keith's senior year of high school when Andrej was a foreign exchange student in Moodus, CT.  The gents have remained friends and have seen each other many times since Andrej returned to Bratislava. 

Due to my pre-travel reading, I became obsessed with what travelers had deemed as the "ugly bridge." The bridge is named "Nový Most" which means "New Bridge" in Slovak.  It's actually a really cool bridge and architecturally innovative...until learning that they demolished 1/3 of the old town to install it.  It is completely out of context in terms of location.

The Nový Most  is the 32nd tallest building in the world and the shortest member of the World's Federation of Greatest Towers.  It is an asymmetrical cable-stay bridge with a main span length of 303 meters. Its steel construction is suspended from steel cables, connected on the Petržalka side to two pillars. The total length of the bridge is 430.8 meters, with a width of 21 meters, and it weighs 7537 tonnes. 
I had the opportunity and honor of getting to know Andrej's girlfriend, the incredibly gifted, Nina.  She is a freelance graphic artist.  Above is some of her freelance work featured in Bratislava.

Andrej's mom, Marta, hosted us for lunch on Saturday...which was surprise and a wonderful treat.  She was such a sweetheart and practiced her English with us.  She reminded me a lot of Keith's mom, Jan--easily excited and overwhelmed and always smiling and full of energy.

The best part of the trip is I felt like I was at home in the sense of Robert Frost's quote, "Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in."  Since living in Europe, I've never felt so welcomed...and welcomed as family.  The energy of Andrej and his family is incredible and contagious.  I came home to Pécs feeling refreshed.
Keith and Andrej getting the band back together (they had a band in high school)

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