Although we had flown to Košice yesterday, we actually needed to be on the opposite side of Slovakia today. Fortunately, Slovakia is not a huge country and the trains are amazing, so this wasn't going to be a problem. I had already arranged our train tickets in advance online, booking us onto a train which was leaving Košice at 09.07. Our hotel started serving breakfast at 08.00, so we made sure we were there at the start to make the most of it before setting off on the short walk back across down to the train station.
I'd paid slightly extra to travel in first class and it was definitely worth it. The tickets were unbelievably cheap, with what was ultimately going to be a four-hour train journey to Trenčín costing just EUR 20 each. The first class carriages were really nice and we had two comfy window seats with a table to ourselves. We even got a free bottle of water. Considering it costs more than £13 to get between Nuneaton and Birmingham these days, it felt like a real bargain!
Slovakia is very scenic and it was a lovely journey. The weather wasn't as good as it had been on Friday, being quite cloudy and misty in places, but the landscape was still really beautiful.
We went past hills....
...and alongside rivers.
Some time after 1pm, the train pulled into the city of Trenčín. This was another place we'd been to on our 2016 holiday, coming here to visit the large castle which is visible from just outside the train station.
We were meeting some local Esperantists here, who came to pick us up and took us for a walk around the town centre.
When we're last been here it had been August and I remember it had been incredibly hot climbing up the hill to the castle.
It was much cooler today, though luckily the weather was staying dry.
We didn't climb up to the castle today but we had some beautiful views of it from the centre of town.
We had lunch in Trenčín before travelling to the nearby town of Nová Dubnica, which is where the Esperanto organisation we'd come to visit is based. We spent the afternoon visiting their various premises, before going out for another big meal in the evening.
We stayed the night in a hotel in Nová Dubnica. The room was rather basic, but we couldn't complain about the price - just €40 for the night!
We had breakfast at the hotel in the morning, before getting a lift to the small nearby station of Trenčianska Teplá. From there we had a much shorter train journey than yesterday - around 1.5 hours - to Bratislava.
We couldn't visit Bratislava without staying in the hotel formerly known as the Mercure, near to the train station. We weren't technically allowed to check in until 3pm, but we decided to go and ask whether we could leave our bags at reception. Our luck was in because they found us a room and we were able to check in nice and early. Despite the hotel seemingly changing its name, the rooms look very much the same as they always did, including the bathrooms with the strange windows!
Today was a bright sunny day, so once we'd dropped off the bags we decided to head out and make the most of the daylight.
Bratislava looked lovely in the winter sunshine.
As we walked down towards the main square, we found they were in the process of setting up booths for the Christmas market there.
That meant most of the main square was blocked off, though it looked like it would be a while until the market was open.
We made our way down past the national theatre...
...and back round past the cathedral.
When we first came to Bratislava, I remember this being completely covered in scaffolding for restoration. It looks fantastic now.
We had lunch, then another stroll around town.
As we were walking back towards the hotel, we popped into a large bookshop to look around and found it had a cafe. I had an amazing piece of Sachertorte with my coffee.
Bratislava is a lovely city and it's fun to be back here for a short trip