My mum’s dad had passed away before I was born. She told me a few stories about him and my curiosity to know more about my grandfather grew every year. He was a Slovakian citizen, but some of his family members belonged to the German diaspora in Slovakia. As a young man, he worked as an informant during World War II and moved to Germany after the end of the war.
Last year, I finally decided to visit the Slovak capital Bratislava because I wanted to get to know more about my cultural roots and this small overlooked place in Eastern Europe.
History has left several traces in Bratislava. The city centre consists of a well-preserved medieval old town with many churches, cultural and administrative buildings.
The Bratislava Castle stands on a rock above the town. From there, you have a great view of the River Danube, Austria and Hungary. Plus, you can spot large residential areas on the other side of the river. They were built by the former communist government.
Newer buildings can be found in the luxurious Eurovea neighborhood on the Danube River embarkment, such as the shopping mall Eurovea Galleria and the New Opera Building.
A large portion of Bratislava’s population consists of young people. They often have to move away from their villages to study and work in the capital. Many of them are employed in the tourism sector and speak very well English. It was easy to get around by myself, but I recommend the Free Walking Tour for everyone who wants to get more information about Bratislava and Slovak culture from a local.
The Slovak coke Kofola and fresh dairies were a nice treat while exploring Bratislava.
Through my stay in Slovakia, I definitely learned a lot more about the life and culture of my grandfather, and I encourage everyone who wants to know more about his or her ancestors to do such kind of trip.