Monday, 14 April 2014

14th April, 2014. Grey Day.

When in a new city I try to use its language to navigate it but in Bratislava the language was all over the place. There was concrete next to plaster next to glass in the most random of ways. I was expecting to see buildings get older or the peak of a church that would guide me to the historic centre but all I could see were concrete high rises.

Eventually I made it to the old government building where they used to burn witches. Instead they now have a piano underneath arches. Someone was playing music on its coloured keys. I sat down to sketch and later tried my own hands at playing. The keys were battered from so many strangers' fingers but it was enough to retrigger my piano playing addiction.

Marek gave me just one suggestion, climb up to the Slavin. As I struggled up the hill, I crossed an equally incoherent suburb. I encountered no one on the streets and instead 19th century mansions, next to concrete cubes perforated by windows, next to Bauhaus style chalets. The majority of all of these lay abandoned, the ones that weren't were worthy of ambassadors and kings.

The Slavin is a graveyard and monument built in the 60s to commemorate the fallen soldiers who fought against fascism. I don't think I've ever been in a gloomier place than under the grey and sharp angled shadow of the communist era obelisk. Yet from among the gravestones was the most gorgeous view of Bratislava with all its incoherent beauty.

The grey day ended when I walked back to Marek's and we both sat down on his sofa to watch the colourful world of game of thrones. Hours after we were still discussing the episode and what it meant.

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