Look for the ‘Man at Work’ in Bratislava


‘Travel is only glamorous in retrospect’
read a painted wall of the hostel I stayed at in Bratislava. I stopped for a minute to fully grasp the concept, because I’ve never thought about it like that, but, hell, how much truth it held. After a miserable walk from the bus station in the middle of winter, I was trying to get some feeling back to my frozen toes. I was in fact miserable, but I knew I was going to have fond memories of the trip. Because when you think back, you idealize and completely forget about the crappy times.

Even when you’re cold, scared, sad, or feeling lonely, questioning why you’re not in the comfort of your bed, after having a hot shower and a hearty meal, it dawns on you. It’s because comfort might make your heart warm, but adventure makes it beat. See the world makes you feel alive. Being too comfortable becomes uncomfortable.

Misery was quickly replaced by joy, and my warmed heart helped to warm my feet too. So I headed out to explore. Slovakia was nothing like I expected. I think it’s a completely underrated place. Probably because people visit after Vienna or Prague, and Bratislava can’t compete with such grandeur cities. But what it lacks in splendour it compensates with rawness, in a good way. It’s a smaller place, with beautiful architecture too, and full of little treasures.

St. Michael's Gate Bratislava Slovakia
Staré Mestro – Bratislava’s Old Town, looking at Michael’s Gate
Castle Bratislava Slovakia
From the city centre looking at the castle
Opera Bratislava Slovakia
Bratislava’s Opera House, although the building used to be the Slovak National Theatre
St. Elisabeth Bratislava Slovakia
Church of St. Elisabeth, known as the Blue Church – can you guess why? 😛

Street art is what caught my attention. The city centre has several real sized statues all over. I’ve read about the ‘Man at Work’, so I was on a quest to find him. It wasn’t hard. After being beheaded a couple of times by reckless drivers, the city placed an original sign showing his location. Čumil, his actual name, has many ‘explanations’. Some say it’s a satire, a way to describe the laziness of Slovakians. Others see him as an anonymous hero, like the many men that helped with the reconstruction of the city. It’s also rumoured than this man is just trying to sneak a peek under the ladies’ dresses. Probably they were all present in the mind of the sculpturer, Viktor Hulík. What we do know it that a little statue can say a lot about the character of a place.

Man at Work Bratislava Slovakia
Found him! 🙂
'Man at Work' Bratislava Slovakia
What are you thinking about, Čumil?
Tower Bratislava Slovakia
I’m not sure why I like this picture, it’s probably the fog giving it an UFO-like look (the tower is called ‘UFO observation deck’, and it has a restaurant on top with amazing views of the city)
Bratislava Slovakia
You see, raw. But medieval and artsy in any case 🙂

Was it worth a spot in the list?

The statue itself is pretty cool, but I wouldn’t go out of my way only for it. I would for what surrounds it, though. Bratislava is the perfect place to see a beautifully conserved medieval city without the crowds of the Western European capitals. Even if it’s a day trip from Vienna, if you have the chance, go for it! If you have more time in Slovakia, also add Košice to your itinerary!

Look for the ‘Man at Work’ in Bratislava

20 thoughts on “Look for the ‘Man at Work’ in Bratislava”

    1. Thanks so much! I’m so happy to be spreading the wanderlust! 😊
      For a European capital city, it’s really cheap. Especially if you’re going from Vienna or Prague, you’ll feel like a millionaire! You can eat for a few euros, and have a nice beer for less than 1€!
      Please let me go how the trip goes. Happy travels!

    1. Every trip is special on its own way, and you always learn something. That quote made that trip. It got me to understand that even the bad parts can be enjoyed, even if it’s only in retrospect…

    1. Thanks so much for your words, Leigh! I love that you felt that way, because that’s exactly what I want to accomplish with my blog 💕 Please let me know when you go!

  1. You seem to be a person who does not often choose beaten pathways. It is interesting that you picked Bratislava to visit as opposed to other popular places like Vienna or Prague. Bratislava’s old town of Staré Mestro reminds me of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico to the extent that it seems to hold a lot of interesting history waiting to be explored. I am impressed by the your philosophical statement that “Being too comfortable becomes uncomfortable”.

    1. What a sweet message! Thanks Ingrid! You read me right. I love to go off the beaten path, I enjoy discovering new things more than anything! And that makes me the kind of person that doesn’t enjoy being too comfortable, as weird as that sounds.
      I haven’t been to Puerto Rico yet, but old towns all around Caribbean had that unexplored vibe. Most people go straight to the resorts, and miss out on the amazing treasures that are waiting to be discovered.

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