Vendor City Guide: Bratislava

Peter sells Slovakian street paper Nota Bene in the centre of Bratislava. Its vendors are typically older unemployed men in insecure accommodation who have slipped through the cracks of state support.

Why I like to live here

In Bratislava there are good people I love and there’s always something going on. Tourists can enjoy castles with excellent wine cellars or the lookout tower from where they can admire the whole of Bratislava. You can see Petržalka, which was one of the largest communist settlements in Central Europe. I have lived in Petržalka for 13 years. Here we have Draždiak Lake (right in the middle of the housing estate). When it’s hot at weekends I go for a dip and get some vitamin D. There is a power line that runs over the lake. This gives the swimmers an extra dose of adrenaline! On the hill above town is Slavín, another relic of the communist past; a memorial to the fallen Soviet soldiers. From there is a great view of the city.

Don’t miss

At the end of September, White Night is a most beautiful night walk through the illuminated city. The streets are full of people and art. It is the largest and most visited art festival in Slovakia. The Good Market on Panenská Street is also an experience every September 15. You will find there quality homemade products and pleasant people.

Nota Bene vendor Peter. [Courtesy of Nota Bene]

Where to eat
Have lunch at Štefánka, where you can eat very well. It is an iconic place where bohemian artists and writers met in the past. Lunch is about six euro. Accommodation is recommended at the Pension Petit guesthouse, near my pitch, where they also have a good breakfast and lunch at great prices. For coffee, go to Panenská.

My favourite part of the city

Suché mýto (Dry toll) is where I sell in the city centre because there are the best people who are usually in the best mood. Every day I look forward to meeting people. We charge each other with energy. A teacher once made a sign for me with the words ‘Free Hug’. I gave my hugs and he gave me hugs. I have a sales point near the Presidential Palace where the composer Joseph Haydn once performed. A few minutes’ walk away is Palisády Street with old beautiful villas. Nearby is the Pisztory Palace where the ERROR International Homeless Theatre Festival is regularly held in winter.

Tourists shouldn’t miss

There is a lot of beautiful nature to see, for example at Koliba (part of Bratislava Forest Park) or Železná studienka (the Iron Well). Janko Král is the oldest park in Central Europe. Or you can take a Small Carpathian wine tour. Start in Rača and visit the picturesque Sväty Jur, Pezinok or Modra.

The best time to visit

Bratislava is beautiful in summer. I like walking on the Danube embankment, where there is a sandy beach. But I prefer spring in Bratislava when everything wakes up.

Translated by Sandra Pazman Tord

Originally published in The Big Issue UK

Read more #VendorCityGuides here