A Travellerspoint blog

Budapest

The austro-hungarian empire

We arrived in Budapest (pronounced buda-pesht) this afternoon via train to a pretty station in an uneventful location. The metro system is one of the oldest next to london but is quite efficient. The cabs here are good hustlers, we started out at a price of 30 euros and used our indian skills to haggle down to 10. Interestingly, they mostly use local currency here even thoug hungry is part of the EU. You can get by with euros in main attractions, restaurants, and some cabs. Also, language is a bit challenging relative to the other stops we have made thus far.

We took a spin of the city to get our bearings today and we think Budapest may now be one of the prettiest European cities we have seen. Combining Austria and hungary works out perfect since the history overlaps so well. So many of the monuments, churches, bridges, etc are named after the Austrian/ hapsburg emperors. The city is split by the danube, with buda on one side ( rolling hills, historical palaces, etc) and pest which is flat and more commercial, having been developed more recently than buda. The Danube is much larger than I ever knew, running through 8 countries! Budapest has a population of 2 million, is split into 2 by the Danube, has 2 islands in the middle, and a history over 2000 years old (a lot of 2's).
We took a boat ride on the Danube at night and saw the city light up further. The architecture is so eclectic and so different in some ways from western europe. It's even more stunning at night!

Our hotels ac stopped working so we have relocated to a nicer hotel of theirs that is more central- so it ended up working in our favor. We are only a few blocks from the danube on the buda side.

Tomorrow we plan to visit the castle, the house of terror (should be interesting), the jewish quarters, etc.

Posted by Rits blog 15:50 Archived in Hungary Comments (1)

Vienna/Bratislava

Rewriting my entry

So I wrote the longest entry thus far yesterday on a train ride but lost reception and the entire entry! So let's try this again:

Started the morning with a cafe melange- Viennese coffee with steamed cream at a cafe off the main street of stephansplatz (not touristy). We then moved on to the hofsburg palace in the heart of Vienna which was occupied by the empire for almost 600 years I believe. It was quite a worthwhile visit- saw queen sisi museum- her collection fo china and silver and linens, which sort of went on and on even for me! The most interesting part was seeing the imperial apartments or rooms of the palace. It brought the history to life- with sisi having been quite an unhappy woman to be in the royal limelight, having been married off at 15 for political reasons obviously.

We then took a 40 min train to Bratislava in slovakia. What a gem of a city- with an interesting history. We took a 2 hour informative (and free) tour of the city conducted by a young student. We learnt about the history of the czechloslavakia (spelling!!) and how the two countries split. There was someone in the tour who asked if they were ever one country (I am sure you can imagine what country he was from! The ignorance!! We had a blast and saw a beautiful old city- and 1 day was really sufficient here.

We bid farewell to Vienna and took a 2 hour ride this morning from Vienna to Budapest. We watched the movie before sunrise where they take that very same train ride. It was relatively scenic- some fields of sunflowers along the way and rolling small hills. We have arrived safely in Budapest and are running to catch a glimpse of this city. It is like Delhi hot here for those who can relate!!!!! More on Budapest tonight/tomorrow.

Posted by Rits blog 07:16 Archived in Slovakia Comments (1)

The sacher torte

More food

We had a wonderful dinner last night with a girl we met in California who is from Vienna. Her family invited us for dinner to a very pretty Italian restaurant. The highlight of the evening though was coffee and dessert at the sacher hotel- a very famous old hotel. They are especially know for the sacher cake which was some famous cake that was made here many years ago. It has a hard outer chocolate shell and with chocolate cake and some sort of raspberry filling. Since my family in california are professional bakers of sorts, I have to admit I was not too impressed. Today we will try cafe demel also known for their pastries where the royal family would eat from. Fingers crossed we have better luck here!!!!

Food is definitely a highlight in Vienna. As part of this eastern European belt I think it's our best bet.

Off to the hofsburg palace and Bratislava for the day but had to write an entry about the food!

Posted by Rits blog 01:32 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Vienna

Hanging with the locals

We have had a phenomenal 2 days in Vienna and are blown away by it's beauty. It's a small and manageable city that resembles the opulence of Paris in some ways. The history, the cathedrals, palaces, cafes, etc. We are staying in an apartment of sorts overlooking the st Stephens cathedral. If I had loooong arms, I could probably touch it. So in simple words- we are super central!

We spent much of yesterday and this afternoon with friends of my dad- an old colleague who worked with him in Geneva. He and his wife ( who is quite a stunner) are some of the more interesting friends I have encountered. They live in Vienna but have travelled the world working for the UN. their apartment has spectacular views of the city but their warmth is what truly blew us away. We arrived to Viennese pastries- a must eat, followed by a walking tour of the city, we gate crashed a outdoor party near the hofsburg palace ( an old royal palace that was used as the winter stomping grounds for the royal family) and enjoyed a glass of wine, ate dinner at a typical Viennese restaurant not in tourist central, and finished the evening with the most amazing gelato outside of Italy! Walter and Zanna are officially our best friends. I enjoyed chanterelle mushrooms. ( they r in season and the largest chanterelles I have seen) with egg And potatoes, a specialty that was delicious. A tried wiener schnitzel which is basically inedible fried chicken cutlet.
This afternoon we met them again and had a 'quick' European lunch- only 2.5 hrs long in the nauschmarket. It's a very interesting market that has some hidden trendy restaurants. We ate israeli food at this really cool place where the owner sat with us for a bit. We were again thoroughly spoiled but had to push off to see the schoenbrunn palace a short while outside the city. The palace was beautiful, somewhat like a miny Versailles. It was all a good reminder of European history- reinforcing what I learned in 10th grade history. The chandeliers and the furniture, the number of rooms, the garden- all so beautiful.

Tomorrow we spend the morning at the hofsburg palace and lunch at cafe demel a very famous place in Vienna for pastries. Incidentally they filmed marie Antoinette here where they show the colorful french macaroons and cakes- pure decadence!!!! We then head to Bratislava for the day- only a short 40 min train ride away.

Off to dinner, more soon.....

Posted by Rits blog 10:52 Archived in Austria Comments (2)

croatia

tying on a russian computer

its been a hectic but amazing 2 days in croatia! i am currently typing on a russian toshiba laptop and therefore will probably have many spelling mistakes as the keyboard is completely different. when i type y the letter z appears!

anyways, on to more exciting topics, we have spent 2 amaying dazs in croatia. the beauty is parallel to that of the amalfi coast or santorini but it has a uniqueness that cannot be captured in words. pictures to come at a later date i promise! it has a very similar feel to california mission style architecture, with a vivid history of having been owned by the greeks and the romans, resembling architecture from both regions. the water is a tourquoise, green, blue, depending on which angle the sun is catching it from. the people are friendly and love tourists since its their main economy. i wrongly assumed that dubrovnik was untouched, it has soooo many tourists, but very few americans or indians even. we were representing from both sides! there are actually hundreds of islands, many to visit and 2 days do not suffice. we have added it to our list to come back to and visit at some point in our lives again.

the old city of dubrovnik is a huge gated-walled city resembling forts seen in india but with roman arches and touches. the inside of the fort has a beautiful promenade, bars, restaurants, shopping, views of the water, etc. you can walk the perimeter of the city walls and capture amazing views of the adriatic sea. we had a drink at a beautiful bar called buza that sits on the edge of a cliff over the water playing 80s music is the background.
we took a beautiful boat ride and visited the village of kortula, the supposed and controversial birth place of the marco polo. it was just as majestic as dubrovnik. along the way we visited a vineyard but being the california snobs we have become, were not impressed, nevertheless an interesting experience tasting undrinkable wine.

tomorrow we are off to vienna for 3 nights as we move towards the next part of our journey through eastern europe.

hope someone is reading!

Posted by Rits blog 14:19 Archived in Croatia Comments (4)

Day 2- 'Beautiful Day'

Woke up this morning to bright blue skies and a strong cup of coffee- much needed due to jet let as A tried waking me up for 2 hours! We still made most of our day and managed to conquer a lot of Dublin today! From grafton street, coffees and lunch at bewleys, a tour we tagged on to at Dublin castle, st Stephens cathedral, Christ church, temple bar (where U2 music was playing in EVERY pub), fish and chips, nasty Guinness, and of course gelato to end the night. I made us walk many miles to attempt to compensate for all we ate.

All in all a great day. Apparently dubliners experience a mere 3 sunny days in a year and today happened to be one of them. Also the sun sets at like 10pm, so it's forever a party here. We are happy to have experienced Dublin so far and are interested in exploring outside the city tomorrow.

It was a 'beautiful day'!

Posted by Rits blog 14:50 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Dublin- we have arrived!

After a longgg journey we have arrived. First impressions of today- shrapova lost- a little bit disappointed, planes from london to Dublin are tiny,pints are quite the opposite, people are very friendly, and most importantly what a beautiful city it is! I am a bit surprised to be honest, I didn't expect it to be so pretty. We attended an awesome party for our neighbors in Cali- they celebrated their anniversary with 70 or so people who have come to dublin from around the world. A made many friends, I just a few. The Irish can drink though! I haven't seen so many women drinking pints of Guinness! I am not sure if I am interested in joining that party!

Tomorrow we are scheduled for a walking tour of the city lead by our friend. And of course fitting in some time for a 'pint' and some wimbeldon finals!

More specifics to follow....

Posted by Rits blog 18:34 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Pack Light

packing light!

packing light!

Packing, packing, packing! I started a week ago and am still in the process. I am also keep A's best interest in mind, he will end up having to carry my bags!!! My grandfather once told me one advantage of having a husband is I have someone else to carry my luggage. It was obviously very compelling.

This is the beginning of my travel blog and the intension is to take you all along with us on our journey. Keep checking frequently, will do my best to keep it up to date.

First stop Dublin, talk soon.

Posted by Rits blog 12:15 Comments (1)

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