Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Nový Most

Off to Budapest. But first, Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. Not to be confused with Bucharest Belgrade Bern Berlin Brussels or Copenhagen.

Bratislava is famous for its huge tower blocks - Panelák - which resemble something from DayZ but with a higher frame rate and more colours and more loot, probably. Alas I didn't have time to wander around them otherwise I would have taken hundreds of nearly identical images of large concrete blocks viewed from below, like buildings from early 3D computer games, which is essentially the root of my visual sense.

Bratislava feels very cosy, not like a capital at all. The most famous landmark is the SNP Bridge, also known as Nový Most, which was built in 1972 so that people could travel from the tower blocks to the railway station and back again. Cars and trucks drive along the top, pedestrians have a pair of channels in the side of the bridge.

The bridge was a controversial project, because it has a distinctive look that dominates the surrounding area, and in the process of building it, the authorities obliterated a chunk of the old town and replaced it with flyovers and a bus station, shown here in the bottom-left of the picture:

Off to the right is a huge wind farm over the border in Austria. On top of the bridge is a restaurant, the UFO, which is expensive but one of the few places in Bratislava where the bridge doesn't spoil the view (because you're on it). It puts me in mind of the Post Office Tower, albeit that (a) it doesn't revolve and (b) you are actually allowed to visit the top.

On the whole the view from the castle resembles something from Dredd. My hunch is that the Czechoslovakian authorities circa 1972 wanted to obliterate the past because he who controls the past controls the present and thus the future etc.

Obviously it's not Leonard Nimoy (or Jeremy Clarkson). Nimoy's parents were from Ukraine. That's quite a way from Slovakia, although they're linked by the Danube; the Danube is Continental Europe's river. Human history is dominated by rivers and bodies of water. I wonder why they vandalised the woman?

I took the Olympus OM-1 I wrote about a couple of posts ago, with an Olympus 24mm f/2.8 - another one of those lenses I have used on a digital camera, but not on the film cameras it was built for - and some Ilford HP5. It was a sunny day. Bratislava's other tick-box attraction is the castle:

On the way to the castle. Dubstep is basically drum'n'bass but with all the rhythmic complexity and subtlety taken out, because that kind of thing scares white American teenagers.

But the lack of context (the castle is surrounded by building works) makes it feel a bit ersatz. Bratislava isn't really a tick-box place. It's a popular shopping destination for Austrians because it's cheaper than Austria, and as a tourist stop it has a low-key atmosphere of its own. Almost none of which I photographed, because I was too busy having lunch.