Monday, May 25, 2009


On the drive from Vienna to Bratislava, I was pleasantly surprised at the difference between gloomy and bleak March and the blue sunny skies of May. Like Poland, the ditches and fields along the roadway are strewn with corn poppies--a sea of red barely hidden by waves of green. We even passed a field of cultivated poppies which made a very thick red carpet.

In the winter you don't really notice how cool the hills are. Now that everything else is green, the hills look white and crumbly, like long-abandoned castles. Apparently they are composed of flysch and I should see much more of this on the drive to Smolenice.

The day began with poppy flowers and ended with a very good dinner at the Flowers Restaurant. Situated in Old Town, the restaurant bakes its own rolls (try the brown ones, they contain garlic bits) and has an extensive wine cellar. Try the mezza: the hummus is very good, the babaganoush is unlike any I've had before and something I'll be trying to replicate, the stuffed grape leaves definitely contained lamb, and the tabouleh tasted like tabouleh. The garlic soup was nice and creamy--just as good as the Viennese one minus the garlic bits on the bottom of the bowl. If you like mushrooms, you'll like the mushroom ravioli--all of the pasta is homemade. For dessert the quark balls were interesting. I was expecting more cheese and less dumpling dough (but hey, this is eastern Europe) but they were still tasty and the ginger/strawberry sauce was divine.

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