Bratislava – An Afternoon at the Old Trznica Market

Each day I try to spend a few minutes with someone on the staff at the hostel where I am staying, discussing how to best spend my limited amount of time exploring it using public transportation. One day a staff member directed me to a trolley stop near the hostel where I would find public transportation to Trznica Market, a historic farmer’s market which I had found on the Internet.

I knew this adventure was going to put me out of my comfort zone because of the language barrier I was going to face, not knowing a word of Slovak, but I was up for the challenge. A half hour later a trolley dropped me off at a busy traffic circle which was dominated by a large sign on a building announcing the Trznica Market.

Foot traffic was light on both floors of the cavernous, old building. A few people were buying fruit from a vendor. A small, dark bar, flush with bottles of local wine, was tucked in a far corner. The tables and walls were covered with traditional weaving.  The place was packed with locals enjoying a glass of wine. 

I bought some fresh, local honey as a gift for a Servas Host whom I knew I would be visiting soon. The well-tended flower market was bursting with color and had a lovely aroma. Several small restaurants lined the market walls with seating in the center isle. A Vietnamese restaurant had the most customers.

On the upper level next to a small shop where a man was repairing umbrellas, was a small, cafeteria-style restaurant serving traditional food. In front of it were seated two young, chic Slovak ladies with whom I stuck up a conversation in English. They seemed out of place in this non-touristy market. They recommended I have Slovakia’s national dish of potato dumplings smothered with sheep cheese. I ordered it along with some home made soup. It was a delicious meal and it cost less than US$5.

I finished my afternoon in the market enjoying some tea and strudel at a cozy cafe surrounded by hundreds of books. A stand-up piano was in one corner. A gentleman seated near me was reading a book while sipping coffee. The cafe was perfect for peoplewatching given it was in the middle isle of the market’s main floor and the bookshelves that formed the cafe walls were only a few feet high.

I especially enjoyed watching the two charming, young ladies, who obviously ran the cafe, handle a steady stream of customers by phone and in person behind a counter. Periodically they each gave me a knowing smile with a twinkle in their eyes, aware that I was watching them and the surrounding scene with much interest.

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