Monday, March 25, 2013

Sheraton Bratislava: A Warm "Welcome Back"

Our train from Vienna to Bratislava did indeed leave from the new Hauptbahnhof, which is so new that very few trains leave from there. It was formerly the Sudbahnhof and must confuse more than one tourist.

Our train was already there and we were happy to enter the warm car from the chilly outdoors and find ourselves a place to sit.

When we arrived in Bratislava we bought 48-hour transit tickets without a problem. The only challenge was finding the correct bus. The buses have recently been renumbered. Fortunately we both remembered Nova Budova, which refers to the new opera building across from the Sheraton and we climbed on X13 after waiting for a cool 20 minutes or so.

A friendly young woman on the bus could see us still gawking and staring a tourist-like and offered us assistance in excellent English. She confirmed we were on the correct bus and that we would get off one stop after she did.

Finally we had arrived at one of our very favorite hotels of all the hotels we've visited. The rooms are lovely, the location is excellent, but it's the friendly employees who make the difference. For example, the employee who checked us in remembered us from last year, including details about helping us pick up our opera tickets. Fortunately for us, his memories were positive and he offered us a warm "welcome back."

After leaving our bags in the lovely corner two-room junior suite to which we were upgraded, we ambled across the square to pick our opera tickets. We managed to return in time to take advantage of the hotel restaurant's daily two-course luncheon special, Euro 8.50 for a wonderful tomato soup that could have made the base of an excellent sauce, and a delicate yet filling main course of gnocchi with salmon. We celebrated with a glass of Slovakian Müller–Thurgau.

Barring terrible weather, we're walking to the historical opera house tonight for Barber of Seville.  Looking at our tickets, we learn with pleasant surprise that tomorrow night's Tosca takes place in Nova Budova, the new opera house just across the square.

Depending on the weather we may spend some time simply hanging around our suite, and that's not exactly a hardship.

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