Red Corner: Slovakia’s Capital

Trivia question: From what Eastern European city did Steve Martin and Dan Ackroyd’s “Two wild and crazy guys,” originate from? “We are from Brat-is-lava,” was what Jorge and Yortuk Festrunk so often chimed in their silly faux-Slavic accent.

At the time of the old Saturday Night Live broadcasts, Bratislava was just another city in Czechoslovakia. When the country spilt into two parts in 1993, however, it became the capital of Slovakia.

Bratislava has always played second fiddle to the more popular and beautiful Prague further north, but that’s not to say the Festrunk brothers would be disappointed if they were to return today. Indeed, The New York Times paints a rather pretty picture of this oft-neglected capital and its “giddy Baroque palaces in shades of marigold and lavender.” Writer Andrew Ferren writes fondly of its architecture before moving on to describe what the buildings contain; boutique shops, crystal, art galleries, cafes and pubs.

Ferren is not the first to speak about Bratislava’s pubs. Much has been written about the cheap alcohol served and the magnetic quality this has upon bachelor parties from England who regularly invade this small capital. It’s sadly ironic, but on any weekend night, it looks like geeky westerners have traded places with the Festrunk brothers in their own home town.