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  #1  
Old 04-15-2009, 04:14 PM
tompaah7503's Avatar
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Eastern trip

Had a couple days off from work during the eastern holiday so me and two friends decided to drive to Budapest. First time for me in that city, and I got to say I loved it! Anyone reading this forum that been there?

Here's our route and some notes on the route
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=110492453105877073387.000467979aa3aa15fae3a&ll=52.187405,13.051758&spn=12.324146,28.300781&z=5

It's a minimum 15 hour drive to get there, so we stayed one night in Prague. We all had been to Prague couple of times before so we didn't stay longer than one nights sleep there and drove off in the morning. It's a wonderful city with lots to see, from the Karlovy bridge, old town, the gothic cathedral (which is the epitome of gothic buldings, it is scary!) to newer architecture, great restaurants/pubs and very friendly people. One funny thing with Prague this time was that there was not one single pub open at the hour when we arrived (about 11.30 PM). It is supposed to be the beer capital of the world! We ended up in the hotel lobby emptying beer cans, had fun nonetheless.

Next day we drove to Budapest and had a wild four days! First night we ended up in a night club that was on the rooftop of an abandoned shopping mall right in the city centre. Danced my feet off to some half famous gypsy band that was totally wild! That kind of set the tone of the nightlife there..
Next three days were spent sightseeing around the city. There's an old castle, that and the area surrounding it is quite huge, well worth visiting. A stones throw from the castle is the old citadel which offers an almost 270 degree spectacular view of the city, from high above. On the other side of Donau river, connected by the many beautiful old bridges, you find the parliament building (in magnificient gothic style), myriads of streets, shops, outrageously good restaurants, squares, pubs, whatever you need for your city/cultural/gastronomical needs!

Aside from lots of partying, great new friends and a spring heat unheard of even by the locals (27 degrees C) the most memorable experience from the city was a visit to one of the thermal baths. That is a must-do if you ever go to Budapest! Fantastic old baths built by the turks in the 16:th century, offering different temperature baths (commonly 28,30,32,37 and 45 degrees C), steam and dry saunas, massage and whatnot. After one hour in one of those places you'll be so relaxed that nothing will distress you!

On monday we tried to get to a traditional Hungarian eastern celebration even held a bit north of the city, in a small village in the mountains. Unfortunately it was about 20.000 others that had the same idea so the single lane roads (in very bad shape) leading there were packed with stand-still traffic. Instead we toured the area, small roads, mountains, traditional villages (quite poor and deteroirated all of it). Found a restaurant and had a three course dinner with beer and all for less than $20 a head. Terrific food!

When leaving the city on tuesday morning I almost felt a little bit sad, it was that great.
The thing I love about eastern Europe is that the cityscapes are constantly changing while maintaining a strong sense of culture and history. People are generally very nice and you can ger very far by English language and where that doesn't work just use plain old sign language!

Two pictures to go with the post, first a view from the castle and secondly a picture of me (right) and my friend while climbing the castle wall.

Attached Thumbnails
Eastern trip-jj1-040.jpg   Eastern trip-jj1-094.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2009, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompaah7503 View Post
Had a couple days off from work during the eastern holiday so me and two friends decided to drive to Budapest. First time for me in that city, and I got to say I loved it! Anyone reading this forum that been there?

Here's our route and some notes on the route
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=110492453105877073387.000467979aa3aa15fae3a&ll=52.187405,13.051758&spn=12.324146,28.300781&z=5

It's a minimum 15 hour drive to get there, so we stayed one night in Prague. We all had been to Prague couple of times before so we didn't stay longer than one nights sleep there and drove off in the morning. It's a wonderful city with lots to see, from the Karlovy bridge, old town, the gothic cathedral (which is the epitome of gothic buldings, it is scary!) to newer architecture, great restaurants/pubs and very friendly people. One funny thing with Prague this time was that there was not one single pub open at the hour when we arrived (about 11.30 PM). It is supposed to be the beer capital of the world! We ended up in the hotel lobby emptying beer cans, had fun nonetheless.

Next day we drove to Budapest and had a wild four days! First night we ended up in a night club that was on the rooftop of an abandoned shopping mall right in the city centre. Danced my feet off to some half famous gypsy band that was totally wild! That kind of set the tone of the nightlife there..
Next three days were spent sightseeing around the city. There's an old castle, that and the area surrounding it is quite huge, well worth visiting. A stones throw from the castle is the old citadel which offers an almost 270 degree spectacular view of the city, from high above. On the other side of Donau river, connected by the many beautiful old bridges, you find the parliament building (in magnificient gothic style), myriads of streets, shops, outrageously good restaurants, squares, pubs, whatever you need for your city/cultural/gastronomical needs!

Aside from lots of partying, great new friends and a spring heat unheard of even by the locals (27 degrees C) the most memorable experience from the city was a visit to one of the thermal baths. That is a must-do if you ever go to Budapest! Fantastic old baths built by the turks in the 16:th century, offering different temperature baths (commonly 28,30,32,37 and 45 degrees C), steam and dry saunas, massage and whatnot. After one hour in one of those places you'll be so relaxed that nothing will distress you!

On monday we tried to get to a traditional Hungarian eastern celebration even held a bit north of the city, in a small village in the mountains. Unfortunately it was about 20.000 others that had the same idea so the single lane roads (in very bad shape) leading there were packed with stand-still traffic. Instead we toured the area, small roads, mountains, traditional villages (quite poor and deteroirated all of it). Found a restaurant and had a three course dinner with beer and all for less than $20 a head. Terrific food!

When leaving the city on tuesday morning I almost felt a little bit sad, it was that great.
The thing I love about eastern Europe is that the cityscapes are constantly changing while maintaining a strong sense of culture and history. People are generally very nice and you can ger very far by English language and where that doesn't work just use plain old sign language!

Two pictures to go with the post, first a view from the castle and secondly a picture of me (right) and my friend while climbing the castle wall.
Interesting. I've heard Budepest is a beautiful city. My wifes parents are of Czech German origin. We'd like to visit central/eastern Europe someday.

- Peter.
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  #3  
Old 04-15-2009, 05:42 PM
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Spent one night in Budapest last summer on a train trip from Edinburgh to Istanbul. Really liked it but I didn't have much time. Took the bus tour of the city and a river cruise. The large synagogue was impressive, along with the sculpture behind it to commemorate the Holocaust. The old train station is very cool with statues to James Watt and George Stephenson on the outside. I liked that you could walk just about everywhere in the city. I'd like to take a small craft for an extended cruise down/up the Danube sometime.
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  #4  
Old 04-15-2009, 05:45 PM
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I visited many years ago. If you think its cheap now, at the time I took out a group of 12 people for dinner, and the tab, including drinks and violin music, came to like $25 total! I saw many of the sites you did, and I agree its beautiful. Our host made sure to point out certain fragrant trees that only grow in Budapest. (not sure if he was BS'ing us there). Only the air pollution and resulting blackened buildings detracted from the historic architecture. Maybe that has changed. Our biggest challenge was navigating Hungary with a road map printed in German. Wow, the Germans like to rename everything, ie, Lake Balaton becomes Plattensee!

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