A Travellerspoint blog

Budapest

sunny 29 °C

I arrived in Budapest via my first ever night train. It was certainly an interesting experience. The train departed from Ljubljana at 1am and got into Budapest at around midday. I didnt book a couchette as i was looking to travel as cheaply as possible.....upon boarding the train i kinda regretted this quite a lot as i was just in a normal seat with no leg room and most certainly no hint of comfort! The first hour of the journey passed by and i was trying to get comfortable, im just at the stage when im drifting off to sleep and.........we arrive at the Croat border so they wake everyone up to check passports etc! My border guard obviously took a liking to me as he gave me 2 stamps which i was very pleased about (two off the Croat guard, the sloven guard just ignored me once he saw i had a british passport......ah the comfort of being a former imperial power!). For the next 4 hours or so nobody in our carriage got any sleep at all except one man.......who snored very loudly, basically he was just about shouting! He did get woken up again though when we were leaving croatia to enter Hungary (strange train route i know) and i got another stamp (off the croat again.....all i have so far is millions of croat stamps!.........ignored by the hungarian). And that was about all the fun and frolicks of the journey.

My hostel was about 2 minutes walk away from the train station (and also next door to the colonel!) which is great news when u have just come off a night train. As i hadnt slept much i just went to my bunk and got a couple of hours sleep. Waking up again i bought a travelpass and ventured out to see a bit of Budapest. As u might know the city of Budapest is divided into two halves Buda and Pest. One half is mainly like a normal city with a view good sites (buda i think.....though i keep on getting them mixed up) and the other is the tourist half. I was in the normal half which was good in some ways (amazingly cheap.......10 euros a night, close to the train station, cheap food) and bad in some ways (20min tram ride from sites and an amazingly complex tram system). So as i wandered around the normal side only i wasnt that impressed with budapest on the first night and went to sleep that night abit worried about what i was gonna do with my next 2 days.

I woke up early on day 2 (yes early....about 8:30!...i havnt actually stayed in bed past 10am yet!) and figured out where most of the sites should be. I got tram 18 which i thought should take me to the centre.....nope it took me to some industrial estate, which was alright but still just an industrial estate :) After backtracking the tram 18 route and giving tram 21 a try i finally found myself in the city centre, which to start off was just like any other city centre, all the normal shops, topshop h&m etc etc but after wandering for 10mins and then walking around a corner u come to the beautiful chain bridge which is overlooked by a huge citadel, palace and museums. For the first time in Hungary my camera was out of my pocket! I went over the bridge and upto the citadel which was really really beautiful, some superb views, great history and incredible architecture. I was walking around with a french girl at this point from my hostel who was also travelling alone (no i didnt before u ask) and we went into the national museum, budapest musuem and military museum (surprisingly that was her choice) all of these were really really amazing and told me lots of things that were really helpful with navigating the city. My only minor complaint would be that the military museum concentrated mostly on the hungarian uprising (which clearly is hugely important for hungarians!) but largely ignored world war 1 and 2 (ignoring ww2 i wasnt overly shocked at, but ww1 come on....they were the damn austro-hungarian empire!). Anyway we finished the days sightseeing with a trip to the hungarian parliament (my choice...not surprisingly) which is a wondeful wondeful building which puts the houses of parliament in london to shame. at night we ate in the hostel (some kind of weird pasta mix that we threw together from what we both had left from the last night...and a box of ice cream for dessert), drunk a bottle of Macadonian wine (cost around 80p) and a bottle of moldovan wine (about 1.50) and played cards. if i was gonna offer wine advice...and im by no means a professor, i would say go for the moldovan....its actually really really nice! and hungarian beer is a bit shit, though austrian and slovenian are both widely available and both quite nice though austrian is pricey!

my final day i said bye bye to valerie (hello if ur reading this by the way) and put my bag into storage at the train station before heading off to the thermal baths. This place is very very amazing, its a comibination of steam rooms, sauna's, heated pools (ranging widely in temp), ice baths, swimming pools, whirlpools and massive heated swimming pools. Its all set in beautiful beautiful buildings and i kinda regret that i only had a few hours in there as its a place u could happily spend a half day or so. Unfortunatly u werent allowed cameras in there so all i have is a couple of pics taken from the entrance window. After that i went to a place called Hero's column which is the most amazing individual place i have visited so far, i have loads of pics of it, but none of them do it any justice, it was just so out of this world!!

My last 2 hours were spent killing time in a cafe in Budapest....while waiting for my night train to Krakow in Poland. I have booked a couchette bed this time so it will be interesting to see how it goes!

take care everyone, pics coming soon

Posted by coldposts 01:42 Archived in Hungary Comments (1)

shiny pictures of Slovenia

sunny 35 °C

As promised here are the pictures of Slovenia!!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=10147&l=18cfa&id=514972396

And oh yes, i remembered the thing i did on the first full day in bled, i went on a summer taboggon, it was fun even though iam scared of heights!

take care all

Posted by coldposts 00:50 Archived in Slovenia Comments (0)

Slovenia

Ljubljana, Lake Bled, Bohinj, Triglav

sunny 33 °C

I have decided now to class things as countries rather then days because im becoming increasingly useless at remembering how day it is nevermind how many days i have been out here!

Anyway the train ride from Split - Zagreb and then Zagreb - Ljubljana were two of the most beautiful train journeys i have ever taken in my life. Both were filled with so much beauty it all got a bit difficult to take in. But eventually arrived in Ljubljana safe and sound after around 9 hours on a train. Wasn't really sure what to expect from this city as i didnt really know anything about it, so spent the first night just wandering around taking in a few of the sites. From first impressions it seemed the centre of the city was very pretty, kinda like a minature version of Prague in a way. So i wandered back the next day when i had had a good nights sleep and found that the centre of the city was just incredible, some really really gorgeous sites, the castle especially was lovely as it gave u some great panoramic views of the city. At night went out for a pizza, i ordered a medium pizza.......it was 18inches and cost me five pounds!!! i was gobsmacked, but being a fat bastard i managed to eat it all!!! I did actually see one large one brought out.....and the only suitable word to describe it was fucking massive, it basically covered an entire table!! Anyway back to important stuff.....me! I then after a couple of nights moved onto Lake Bled, which is a place i had kinda high hopes for as my mum and dad had been there years ago and told me it was very pretty.

I got off the train, and got on the bus down to the hostel i was staying in (an old farmhouse, very very dated but also immensly cheap!) and so far it looked like any old normal town but it was in the mountains. After dumping all my stuff i asked the owner where abouts the lake was, he pointed me round a corner, i walked round it and nearly collapsed it was completely staggering beautiful, i cant really describe how the lake was as it was just so incredibly nice, but when my pictures get uploaded in a couple of days i hope all will become clear. First day in bled i didnt do a whole lot, just wandered the town took in the sites and then later on walked upto the castle which overlooks the town and the lake and looked around. The castle was very very small but offered some great views across the lake and all around the surrounding area. But i had realised one of my goals of the trip to find a castle on a cliff surrounded by forest! Day two i took a gondola to the island which sits roughly in the middle of the lake (i didnt sing one cornetto on it, i couldnt remember the words!). I rang the bell in the middle of the island, but that was pretty rubbish as it wasnt what i hoped for. In the afternoon i hired a bike and cycled round the lake a couple of times, this was really interesting as it gave some fantastic views of the lake and i also got to visit Tito's old mansion, which was pretty amazing! I did something else this day but i cant rememeber what it was, i will mention it when i upload the pics if i can remember!

Day three was a fun day as it started with a trip to Triglav national park and the Vintgar gorje. the gorje was really really beautiful and again i cant find words to describe this place but i hope the pics will do it justice! In the afternoon i landed back in Bled and hired a rowing boat. This was loads of fun as i had never rowed before, i spent the first 15mins just going round in endless circles!! but i soon got the hang of it and im pretty sure i can give those stupid public school boys a run for their money now! I'm back in Ljubljana now writing this but am leaving on a train at 2am to goto Budapest and Hungary!

I will give u a summary of my time in slovenia when i upload the pics!

take care everyone!

p.s. mark, im now fucking awesome at shithead, so i can kick your arse anyday!!

Posted by coldposts 11:59 Archived in Slovenia Comments (0)

The Second Week

sunny 41 °C

What day am i on now? i have no idea!!!

It's been really really hot here all week, never really dipping anything below 40c which by this fancy google translation thing is about 108 fahrenhiet, plus its been stupidly humid! So all i seem to have been doing for most of the week is drinking water and hiding in the shade and swimming of course. For some reason i still have a pasty white body though, i dont think i have tanned at all, though maybe its just me not being able to notice it.

Anyway what have i been doing all week, i have seen all the sites, sounds and views that Split has to offer and i have 2 say its a truly fantastic city and im pretty sure im gonna be coming back here at some point before this trip is over! If anyone wants to see a few pictures u can find some at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=9430&id=514972396

i tried to upload some onto this site also but it ran really really slowly so i just figured it would be better on there.

I have also been to the island of Hvar which is kinda like a millionaires playground (i fitted right in!) in Croatia, i noticed an advert there for a house for rent. a 2 bedroom townhouse, was £2500 a week!!!! i've booked two weeks :) I also took a daytrip with Dajna to the town of Mostar in Bosnia (famous for a bridge linking up the muslim and christian side of the town, which was destroyed in the civil war but has been rebuilt) which was great. I have been cycling for a day also, which was good fun but i lost about 1/4 of my body weight in sweat!

I'm planning just to goto the beach and relax today as im heading off to Ljublana tomorrow and have 2 b up and awake bright and early in order to catch my train. Will update again in a few days time

hope your all well, take care

Posted by coldposts 04:01 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Week One....and a bit

sunny 36 °C

Day 8

Returned to Split. Once i was unpacked and sorted out, we headed down into Split and i got the guided tour off Dajna and her brother Demo (cant remember how 2 spell it, sorry mate!). He is a Klappa singer (local folk music...kinda like A'Cappella) so is a bit of a local celebrity, which meant to the tour took us practically all day because he seemed to know everyone so was stopped to shake hands and chat with what seemed like every person! Anyway the city of split is absolutely gorgeous and somewhere where everyone should visit, english is virtually spoken fluently by everyone so lack of language cant be an excuse for not coming along! I have plenty of pics of Split which will hopefully show the beauty of it but i will be uploading them later in the week. At night Demo took me along to watch Hadjuk Split V West Brom (friendly match) which was fun even though it ended up 0--0.

Days 5 - 7

All of the past few days have been spent on Brac. I have to admit i really love it here, the town we are staying in is called Supetar and is one of the most beatiful little towns i have ever seen. The locals are stupidly friendly, even when they are being over-run by tourists. We have spent most of the time sunbathing, swimming and generally relaxing as it now around 35-37c everyday so a bit too hot 2 do anything more gruelling. Unfortunatly though i forgot my camera so dont have any pictures of Brac!! Oh yeah, Mum, you are gonna be shocked by this, i have been eating lots of the local cuisine, which means lots of salad, lots of pastry things and lots of.....fish!!

Day 4

Woke up bright and early.....well 9:30! Packed a small getaway bag (supplied by Dajna's dad, thanks for that!) and headed for a long weekend on the Dalmation Island of Brac (pronounced Brach, apparently if u say Brac it means to get married so i steered well clear of that!). Dajna has a small house here so again no rent to pay! Unfortunatly this means though that i have 2 buy everything when we go out, whether it is food, a scooter (which we rented!) or the ferry tickets but i cant really complain as i do have free accomodation. Anyway today it started to get really hot, apparently it was about 31c today (not sure how much that is in fahrenhiet...i get confused on working it out) which is considered something near a tropical heatwave in UK. We headed down to the beach, which was stone but a kinda comfortable stone. The beach seemed quite busy but once the locals saw my pasty white body heading towards them they panicked a little bit and many people deserted the beach with 15mins (or it might have been because it was dinnertime and sensible people were heading for a bit of shade). The water was strangely warm and was amazingly clear! Spent most of the day at the beach, though we briefly chopped it up by returning to the house and cooling down for a while. At night we watched Shaun of the dead....and i attempted to drown myself in a pool of aftersun.

Day 3

Dajna had her last uni exam today at 8am (a sickening time to be awake never mind in a oral exam!), so i stayed in bed till she got back. She passed, so well done Dajna! Shortly afterwards we were packing up all our stuff and getting ready to move onto Split, which much to my surprise was a 5 hour coach ride away (and 7 hours by train!!). Knowing im not the best with coach travel i put on the travel sickness bands mum gave me (thanks mum!) and gritted my teeth and tried not 2 cry for the entire journey (i was brave and never shed a tear!). Anyway while staring at the countryside and passing small towns i realised some very interesting things about Croatia, firstly the north is hugely green with plenty of small towns out in the isolated wilderness while the south and Dalmation coast is more barren with hardly any greenery and all the towns hugging the coastline. There is actually one point where a strange transformation happens, you see miles and miles of forest all around you, you enter a tunnel that runs under a mountain, pop out the other side to see nothing but burnt grass, dry soil and the sea. Personally i liked the countryside of the north better because of the forestry but i quickly adapted to the dryness of the dalmation coast. Upon reaching Split i met Dajna's family and went back to their house. That night i had a quick look round the city at night with Dajna but she spent most of the time moaning about a new walkway which has been put in on the promenade which i thought looked good but she disagreed!

Day 2

After 10 hours sleep i was much refreshed and we went sight-seeing round Zagreb for the day. We took in countless Museums, art galleries and cafes (including the resturant owned and run by Zvonimor Boban!) during the day before going to a cafe at night. I think Zagreb is probably not an ideal tourist destination. The centre of the city is beautiful but this only really lasts for about a few miles square and the rest of the town is just a industrial city with plenty of stereotypical communist apartment bloc's. However i did find the people really really friendly, especially in Dajna's neighbourhood where everyone already knew who i was before i even arrived, apparently Dajna's flatmate had been gossiping about me to everyone.....disturbing! Anyway something i was really impressed with in Zagreb was the amount of VW Beetle's on the road, theres is hundreds of them all milling about in perfect condition! Dad if u have figured out how 2 use the internet and are reading this, if u fancy another Beetle Zagreb is the place to get one!

Day 1

I set off from home at around 5:30am feeling immensly grumpy and already suffering under the strain of my far far too heavy bag! Getting a lift to the train station i was to be honest, completely shitting myself! Anyway i saw off mum and dad and all the hugs and kisses and everything and got on. The train ride down to London was fairly quiet and i arrived at 9:15.....yes thats right rush hour!! In London i learnt the first lesson of my trip, do not EVER lean backwards when wearing a very heavy bag on a esculator! I navigated the London underground and the regional trains alright and ended up at the shining metropolis that is Luton and its really crap airport (its kinda like Liverpool airport but with 100 times less to do). Checked in with Wizz Air (who i thought were excellent by the way, a lot better than EasyJet or any of the other discount groups) and had a lovely plane ride (i was asleep for 4/5 of it) and landed into the bright sunshine of Zagreb. After recovering my bags and getting the airport - zagreb bus i met Dajna and collapsed into her apartment knackered. Luckily at this point, the british weather seemed to follow me and it clouded over. Went out for some Tea (or dinner, whatever u call it) and then went to the apartment for some lovely well deserved sleep.

Posted by coldposts 04:24 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 16) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 »