Bratislava, or as the Italians call it: Brateeslaaaaaahva. It sounds nicer that way.

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To look at travel brochures and economic reports, one would think Slovakia is on the upswing, and that would be true. There is nowhere else to go but up when buried in the economic basement of post-communist rule. The Soviets have been long-gone but their legacy lingers in the form of extremely ugly architecture and decaying urban districts. This does not mean Slovakia is not worth a visit: It is its very grittiness that make it a welcome contrast from Europe’s posh locales.