Archive for ‘Hungary’  

Austria, Hungary, Slovakia : Tale of 3 Towns

Monday, 12th May 2008

We started the day with breakfast in Budapest (Hungary), took the train at 09:30 and arrived in Bratislava (Slovakia) at 12:15. We only had a few minutes to find a hostel, check in, drop our bags and get the 13:00 1-hour train to Vienna (Austria). So we covered 3 capitals in 4,5 hours..

Photos of Vienna here
Photos of Bratislava here

Like we said before, Budapest is a wonderful city to explore with loads to offer. Moving on to Slovakia, we never expected too much from Bratislava, which is why we decided to take a quick afternoon trip to Vienna. Of course Vienna is lovely and has some amazing sights, but in the end we only zipped through the main part of town in about 3+ hours to get a good feel for the place.

Catching the 17:30 back to Bratislava (where we’re staying tonight), we thought we’d have enough time to see the 1 or 2 sights here. We were wrong, Bratislava exceeded our expectations and is also a really lovely city with plenty of pedestrianised streets, lovely coffee shops and a wonderful atmosphere. These capitals are so close together and all have great things to offer that we highly recommended it for a long-weekend trip.

Easter weekend seems to follow us around – from Greece all the way to Slovakia we’ve hit public holidays. So far we’ve been lucky that it hasn’t affected train schedules too badly.

We’ve now seen and crossed the Danube river for the 5th time, but we have yet to take a cruise on it (too expensive so far). Eastern Europe have been a real eye-opener for us and countryside and people are lovely.

As a result of the extra countries we included in South-Eastern Europe we were 7 days behind schedule, but we managed to make up 1 day by cutting our stay in Budapest short with a day. We are fairly flexible, but have a maximum of +-15 days to play with because of our Vietnam visas.

Tonight will be spent in Hostel Possonium which has a great location for us – literally 800m from the train station – which is exactly what we needed today. We had never heard of them, but saw them advertised in the train station and walked straight here. Our room is a 10-bed dorm and unfortunately some of the other occupants are currently downstairs in the bar getting warmed up..

Tomorrow we are booked on the 10:00 train to Poprad from where we’re hoping to get the bus to Levoca to see a bit of the Slovakian countryside.

Vienna slideshow

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

Photos of Bratislava here

Hungary : Buda and Pest

Sunday, 11th May 2008

Photos of Budapest here

Arriving at 19:30 we were immediately targeted by the local “hostel officionados” trying to sell us the best places in town. We got a flyer from someone in the hostel in Sighisoara advertising private accommodation close to the station, so we headed straight for that.

Unfortunately “Mama Helena” couldn’t help us as all her hostel-type rooms were full, but she offered us a private double room in one of her son’s appartments. It is a very small studio-type flat in an old block that was used as a Jewish getto during the war. It sounds pretty bad, but it is newly done over and perfect for our needs.

We made our own dinner with our little one-plate stove and had a quite night in.

This morning we hit the town full of energy and started in the Buda side with the old Citadel first. There are loads of beautiful sights in the Old Town as well as amazing views across the city.

After a few hours there we took a bus out the Monument Park (20 minutes out of town) but is was a complete disaster and waste of time and money. Luckily we manage to sell our tickets to others and got the bus back – only lost 1,5 hours.

We got back to town and did a walk around the Pest side, visiting St Istvan Basilica and walking through Varosliger Park with the amazing Vajdahunyad Castle built on an island in the park.

We absolutely love Budapest and can highly recommend it to anyone!

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.