Whilst waiting at the tram stop on our way back to the hotel the previous evening I noticed a sign indicating weekend transport service disruption because of the Bratislava Marathon so back in the hotel we researched its route to find a good spot to watch it from.
As luck would have it, the race was passing quite near our hotel and, once in position, we only had to wait around 10 minutes before the elite runners came through. It’s the 12th annual race and this year 12,000 competitors were participating. Conditions couldn’t have been better with clear blue skies and no wind and we had fun spectating and taking in the atmosphere, the runners being helped along their way by the sounds of steel bands and other live music.
I’ve watched the London marathon a couple of times but can’t recall seeing any others. We’d no idea this marathon was taking place during our visit so it was an added bonus to watch it pass. Then back to original plans, a stroll to an unaffected tram line for the short ride to the railway station to board a train to Trnava. Tickets for the 30 minute journey cost €5 each and can be used on any service with the exception of Inter City trains. With half an hour to spare before our train was due, we sat on the terrace of a nearby cafe and sipped glasses of cool beer in the morning sunshine.
The rail journey was a treat, boarding the train we discovered it had small compartments seating just six passengers and, surprisingly, no-one joined us and we had the compartment to ourselves for the entire journey. I love these little compartments, something we never find in the U.K. nowadays, except on heritage steam routes but I remember as a young child sitting with my parents in them and being so excited arriving into Euston Station for a visit to London.
We had decided on a visit to the small town of Trnava as its only 50 Km from Bratislava and easy to get to. About a ten minute walk to the gateway of the fortified old town, we wandered along cobbled streets to the attractive main square dominated by its Clock Tower which can be mounted, but only on the hour (€3).
The town has some stunning architecture, its buildings are painted in shades of pink, yellow and blue but it’s a sleepy place, at least it was early on the Sunday afternoon of our visit. A hot, sunny day with several cafes having terraces spilling out onto the square, yet few people about. The majority of shops are closed on Sundays in Slovakia so this might have something to do with it, but it seemed strange.
Finding a pleasant cafe we settled down to a lunch of paninis and cool drinks then sauntered back to the station for the 3.00 p.m. service back to Bratislava. The marathon now finished, trams were back to a normal service so we caught one into town where we had pots of tea and slices of cheesecake overlooking the Slovak National Theatre. The old town was teeming with people, so different from our experience on Friday when there were few people around.
Back at the hotel we relaxed in the leisure centre’s pool and sauna then took the tram back into town for dinner after another interesting day in and around Bratislava.