By Brianna Hurwitz
Our UMD investigative journalism class arrived in Bratislava, Slovakia Saturday! After a 3-hour bus ride from Budapest, we checked in at the Falkensteiner Hotel and hit the streets at night for a photo-filled tour with our guide, Maria.
We walked a short distance from our hotel to Bratislava Castle – where we saw nearly the entire capital of Slovakia decked out in a sea of golden lights.
From the castle we strolled through Old Town and took advantage of almost every photo-op that came our way. Majestic is the word I would use to summarize the sights of medieval castles, statues, and buildings that Bratislava has to offer.
Early Sunday, we met with social scientist and professor at Comenius University, Darina Malová, for a 3-hour lecture. Professor Malová taught our class about the history of Slovakia and how the country struggles to find its identity through legal, financial and cultural aspects.
“In my opinion there are many young people too radical and too Catholic in Slovakia,” Malová said.
Our detailed lecture concluded by comparing Slovakia’s industrialized economy to that of Detroit’s prior to the city going bankrupt.
With time on our side for some follow-up questions, Professor Malová mentioned how the city has very little violent crime but is saturated with political corruption. Her statement left me with one question: how can a city that has so much mistrust in the government and its judicial system boast very little violent crime rates?