Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 15: On to Austria and the Opera

Leaving Budapest, we hop on the train again and make our way to Vienna, or Wien, Austria. Once again the train ride is a much needed rest or break, because we have done a very good job of hitting up each city and taking full advantage of our time there. Budapest seemed to exceed our expectations, at least it did for me. Not knowing much about the city, we did not know what we were getting into, but ended up we had an amazing time! The people are kind, the city beautiful, and the food exquisite!! We have heard good things about Vienna and are looking forward to what the city may hold.

The Austrian countryside and farmland on the train ride.

Good to see my friends like the bring icing to Europe.
Great way to start off the day. Good Lord those things are gross.
Thanks Phil!!

We arrive in Vienna a little later than we had planned due to a train delay of a couple of hours. A little upset and worn out, we get to the hostel, called Wombats, and get settled in. Luckily the four of us have a room to ourselves so we can relax a little easier. After a quick shower and changing of clothes, we push through and hit the town. Making our way to the Old Town of Vienna, we make it to the central square, which is the site of the old cathedral of the city. Luckily a free tour allowed us inside, where you can see from this picture just how beautiful it was.

An image of the sunset gleaming on the side of the Vienna Cathedral

A major experience we were told to partake in while in Vienna is its opera house, to go see a live opera. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little weary of this because one, I have never been to an opera, and two, it is not usually my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, I love music and I love the power music has on people, but for reasons some of you may understand, opera music is not at the top of my list of concerts I want to see. But hey! When in Vienna right?? Trying to engulf ourselves in all types of culture on this trip, we gave it a shot, and let me tell you, it was great! We arrived right at intermission and got standing room tickets for only 3 euro a piece! Can't find a better deal. One thing that I really enjoyed during the concert was the building itself. Very large and very old that is a magnificent view. Here is a couple of videos within the opera house.

YouTube Video

Video: opera intro

YouTube Video

Video: opera live

A picture of the four of us outside of the opera house after the show.

After the concert we walked around the Old Town, getting to see how the city nightlife was. The buildings and their lighting was beautiful.

So far we are really enjoying Vienna as you can probably tell. Time to get some rest for a full day of sightseeing tomorrow.

Recent opera connoisseur,


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Location:Vienna, Austria

Day 14: Exploring Budapest

Author: Ketan

We spent most of the day walking around Buda then we hit up the other half, Pest. Brief history lesson Budapest wasn't always one city. As we walked around the city we searched for the highest parts of the city so we could get a good view of the divisions of the past.

In the morning for breakfast we found a market. The picture above is a hotdog that Phill got. All the stuff we got was about that size. Akin got a burger about the size of this head ( hair included haha)

YouTube Video

At the top this hill we were able to see the division between the cities. The view from the top was definitely worth the climb up.

The two pictures directly above show us and the amazing view behind us from the highest point we climbed too.

Here is a picture of Daniel loading up to take a few pot shots at Buda from Pest.

The weather was not on our side most of the day. We had to take cover a few times to get out of the rain. As we walked away from hills we had climbed we looked back and say a few clouds open up. Scott was able to get a good shot of this statue of an eagle with the clouds opening up behind it.

YouTube Video

After a fun night out we learned that capacity limits in elevators aren't just a recommendation.

Video: elevator

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Location:Budapest, Hungary

Day 13: Spa Day

Author: Ketan

The baths of Hungry. The picture above shows a shot of the famous baths we visited. We heard about this place from a few of the locals. After the biking in the Alps a day in the spa is just what we needed.

YouTube Video

Video: intro to baths

We spent a good bit of time exploring different area's of the baths. The out side was pretty much a pool and place to sun bath. Which i think Ketan got the most use out of. The baths within the buildings were temperature controlled so we would leave a sauna that was around the boiling point and then jump into a pool just above freezing. After a few hours of jumping from bath to bath we all got massages.

YouTube Video

Video: whirlpool

This was the walk to the baths.

This monument was located out side of the park leading to the bath.

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Location:Budapest, Hungary

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 12: Long Train to Budapest

Author: Phil

We left Croatia in the early am after we grabbed some breads, homemade strawberry jam and coffee. We arrived shortly after in Budapest around 7pm that night. I don't recall much from the trip except lots of staring, sitting, good conversations and making fun of each other. The weather forecast was NO A/C, high 82ish, sunny, untainted windows with a chance of sunburn in the train car. But at least we didn't go through Slovenia (read: ride for 14 hours) and only had like 10. But that's 10 hours of only eating the bread we ;

We get to Budapest at 7pm and find our hostel pleasantly located 20 yards from the train station which I've learned is a thing to look for when planning trips like these. It's called Boomerang hostel and our first impressions were mediocre after leaving our beautiful loft in Zagreb. The less walking to and from trains with packs means more smiles all around. Our Hostel was on the 5th floor though, so we made up for lack of distance with elevation.

We shake off the Trainlag (yes, Trainlag, and its 3x worse than Jetlag.) We ask the receptionists to point us to a solid Hungarian restaurant and we head to Lugas restaurant which is a short walk from our hostel.

Scott orders the duck, Daniel orders the pork tenderloin in honey-dijon sauce, Ketan the chicken breast in yogurt cooked in a pot (cooked in a pot was written on the menu?!) and I the Chicken breast with green herbs and rice as it was the cheapest plate on the specials menu at <10euro. Our meal cost less than 60 euros for 2 rounds of beers and the best food on our trip yet.

This meal really started our fondness for Budapest greatly as we talked about plans for tomorrow at the SPA. Honestly, I never thought I would step foot inside of a spa except to purchase gifts for significant others and mothers. After chowing down every last bite we head back to the hostel and ask where to find the hippest club. A decent walks away is a street full of bars where we find our spot for the night: Instant. It's a 3 story club with several DnB DJ's and we enjoy watching some locals dance and mingle and head back to the hostel after a short while as none of us are feeling like dancing due to Trainlag, cool club though.

Off to bed to get ready for a full day tomorrow.

Not Hungry.

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Location:Croatia and Hungary

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 11: Zagreb and Plitvice

Author: Ketan

The picture above shows a park we passed on our way to the the hostel in Zagreb. As we walked thru the city we found it had a very young feel too it. The majority of the people we saw were in their 20's or 30's.
We had a slight mix up at the hostel with our reservations turns on we books it for the wrong day. So the receptionist had to give us a beautiful apartment loft. Worked out pretty well. The hostel we stayed in was near the town square. It was easy for us to get a feel of the night life.

YouTube Video

Video: intro to Plitvice

Plitvice, the alleged "Garden of Edin".

The picture above speaks for itself. Between the falls, cliffs, and crystal clear blue waters Plitvis lives up to its name.

We spent about 3 to 4 hours walking thru the park. We were joined by children on field trips, elderly couples, and many "professional tourists".

Throughout the park we were able to walk right up to as well as a few inches above a number of falls.

We found a cave and decided to go exploring. The exploration of short lived seeing as the cave only went about 15 feet in. Though it proved to be a good place for a pit stop.

Here is one of our little friends we made on the trip.

The picture above shows a trail on the falls. At this point in the park we could see water passing over our path. A few more inches and we would have been swimming our way through the park.

YouTube Video

Video: mid-Plitvice

The pictures below are giving a top view of the park. The first half of the trails were winding thru the falls and the second half took us above the park. We caught a bit of rain about half way through the park. The ferry we caught kept us dry, luckily.

On the way back from Plitvis we saw a wall stretching about 7 blocks covered in graffiti. We have seen plenty of gang names and symbols throughout out the city but few places had actually artistic graffiti.

We made our way around the square once more and came across gothic cathedral under construction.

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Location:Zagreb, Croatia

Day 10: Bavaria, Austria, and finally Croatia

Author: Daniel

We started the morning off on a 6:27 train and said goodbye to Interlaken. Because of our mistake of missing Munich, we had to spend the whole day in the train.

We traveled from Interlacken to Bern, Bern to Zurich, Zurich to Salzburg, Salzburg to Zagreb- Talk about getting the most out of a rail pass.

We spent a lot of time sleeping but I do have a few pictures to share.

The effortless train travel described by many Europeans is not completely accurate. We definitely had some challenges.

YouTube Video

Upon entering Slovenia, we were greeted with our first border check of the trip.

YouTube Video

We finally made it to Croatia around 9:30pm. Due to some scheduling issues, we got set up in an awesome loft apartment instead of a 10 Bed Dorm Hostel room. We're definitely going to enjoy Croatia.

Stamping the passport,


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Location:Trains through Bavaria