After the confusing experience of getting to Slovakia, we were ready to take advantage of the rest of the daylight hours (and stretch our legs) by hiking up to the castle and enjoying sweeping panoramic views of the city.
We braved the chilly weather and watched the sunset over the Danube from the castle grounds…
Once the sun went down, we explored the town a bit before it was time for dinner. Unfortunately, the Christmas markets didn’t open until the following day, so we found a pub, Sladovna House of Beer, and sampled two Slovakian beers from Zlatý Bažant – a light beer (svetle) and a dark beer (tmave). Surprisingly, we both liked the darker one better as it was sweet but not too cloying like a porter or stout. Actually, it’s pretty amazing we managed to get anything because no one at the pub spoke English, so there was quite a bot of pointing and scowling when they had trouble breaking my 5 Euro note. That’s right… our two beers were only 1,60E!
After our round of Slovakian beer, we walked up to our dinner place, Traja Musketieri, and thankfully managed to snag a table amidst two large parties. We figured we would celebrate Thanksgiving properly by enjoying game… venison ragu for Eric and wild boar medallions for me. Everything was absolutely delicious and filling and the local wine was lovely.
At this point we returned to our hotel and called our families who were six hours behind and preparing Thanksgiving dinner. We had just enough energy to try a wine bar inside the hotel building where we had a lovely time sampling Slovakian wines. Once the owner knew we were more interested in the local wines—versus trying the standard stuff we can get at home—he gave us a lesson on some new varietals and wine-making styles. For example, the new Slovakian whites are named after castles and the reds are named after rivers.
The one thing we did notice was that at both the dinner place and the wine bar, we were charged double for our glasses of wine. I still haven’t been able to find an explanation as to why the prices are listed like this… a tourist tax perhaps?