Fantastic, wonderful, awesome - the list goes on. If you are heading to Bratislava and/or other parts of Slovakia and are looking for a guide service - you don't need to look any further. My wife and I started off our two week trip to Europe in Slovakia and we could not have asked for a better experience. Martin was extremely helpful with our planning and recommended excellent accommodations which we thoroughly enjoyed. Upon arrival, we started with a full day tour of Bratislava with Martin himself. What a delightful day it was. The tour was exciting, educational, and pure joy. We toured multiple districts of the city, enjoyed a delicious lunch in the city center, learned some basic Slovak language, learned some history of Bratislava & Slovakia, and picked up tips from Martin that helped us in our exploration of other European cities on our trip. There were also some wonderful surprises but I don't want to ruin those for anyone who might tour in the future.
My grandparents are originally from the Trenčín region in Slovakia and we were hoping to tour the villages they came from and perhaps meet a distant relative. This next part of our journey was when things really got exciting. With a few months notice, Martin and his associates were able to find the home where my grandmother was born and lived in, located a distant relative which we were able to meet and establish future communications with, gain us entry into the church where my great grandparents were married and where my grandfather was baptized, and we were able to tour both villages where my grandparents originally came from. The search also resulted in locating my grandfather's plot of land that is being held in trust by the government of Slovakia. I was informed by the mayor of the village that I can start the process to claim the land if I wish!!! How do you explain this experience with words? Martin arranged to have a driver/interpreter with us throughout this portion of the trip and he - Milosh - was a real pleasure to spend time with. He was also the person who conducted the research in the villages before we arrived. We are forever grateful for their efforts and the results. Truly unbelievable.
Now for the practical side of the trip. First, the prices for everything in Slovakia were very reasonable. We had an expectation to pay twice what the cost of Martin Sloboda's service was. The results were simply priceless. The accommodations in Bratislava and Trenčín were excellent and were extremely reasonable. I would estimate the cost to be a third of what you would pay in many capital cities around the world. I should mention that in Bratislava, our hotel was beautiful with modern amenities - with the original structure built in the 12th Century! Our meals were excellent and prepared fresh with local ingredients. Again, we would expect to pay at least twice as much as we paid for the same meals in just about every city in the U.S. The service in the hotels and restaurants was excellent and the people were very friendly. My wife and I went for a late evening walk along the Danube in Bratislava and came across many pedestrians and families. We walked from the Old Town to the city center and back finishing around 10pm and felt completely safe. Even in you are not of Slovak descent, Bratislava as well as the castle in Trenčín are a must visit when visiting Eastern Europe. It truly is a beautiful area. Don't hesitate to contact Martin and his associates if you are headed there. We can't wait to head back and visit the High Tatras.