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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 9: Mountain Biking the Alps

Author: Daniel

I would like to preface this in saying that the pictures could never do this place justice. Hopefully my writing will assist in painting the shear majesty of these mountains.

There's nothing in the world quite like waking up to a crisp breath of mountain air in a valley at the base of the Swiss Alps. The air gives you a feeling of excitement coming down from the mountains as if daring you to seek adventure in them.
Interlaken provides some of the most amazing outdoor adventures available. With paragliding, skydiving, canyoning, and mountain biking to name a few, nearly everyone can find something to peak their interests in these mountains (no pun intended.)

For those that know me well, a passion of mine is mountain biking. I was unable to resist the urge to ride the coveted Swiss Alps.

The four of us rented bikes and started our morning with a ride up the mountain.

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The ride was not easy by any means. Switchbacks almost all the way up going from road to gravel to trail constantly. Frequent stops were made to take pictures (or honestly catch our breath.)

By lunch time, we were getting fairly exhausted but continued on to the town of Lauderbrunnen to check out a waterfall.

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Upon arrival in Lauderbrunnen, we parked our bikes and went exploring.

Above is a look from just behind the waterfall while below shows it from the ground beneath. Our curiosity was sparked by an interesting looking rock and we climbed down underneath the falls.

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Video: Underneath the Falls

I think the above picture is my favorite picture of the trip thus far. Its amazing how much it really does look like a postcard. I am confident it is the most beautiful place I have ever been.

The three hour trip up the mountain was celebrated with the 30 minute ride back down. The speed was exhilarating while the cars passing on the winding roads were terrifying. I think we're all pretty happy we made it down without injury but loved every second of it.

We finished the night at the Hostel by washing clothes. I know, we made it to day nine without washing. Be disgusted or impressed, take your choice.

Tomorrow we'll take an extremely long train journey to Zagreb, Croatia through Slovenia.

Everyday is something new,


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Location:Interlocken, SW

Day 8: Swiss Trains and a Little Bit of Luck

Today, we're going to change up the post a little bit. We have one fairly long video that summarizes most of the day. We hope you enjoy it.

We left Paris at 7:00 am on a train with the intent of arriving in Munich that night. However, due to a simple quest to find the Swiss Alps, we didn't quite make it all the way to Munich.

******gonna have to wait on the video. YouTube is giving me errors.****

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Location:France, Switzerland

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 7: Paris Again


The next day we headed to the Louvre which was ridiculously large, absolutely unfathomably large (read: Big) but we wanted to take a tour of the museum which didn't go out till 14:00 so we decided to knock off the other things that were on our list of things to do that day. We took the metro to the Arc de Triumph and toured it and even got to climb to the top.

The Rue de Champions is the road between the Arc de Triumph and the L'ouvre and is comparable to NYC's Fifth Avenue so we went window shopping for Ferrari's, Mercedes, Gucci bags and Louis Vuitton purses for our significant others and mothers.

We stopped for lunch in Toulleries Gardens.

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We then got to the Louvre and took our guided tour which we all highly recommend. They took us to the old castle walls that used to be the L'ouvre castle and then showed us some Egyptian time art pieces and large tapestries and many famous works of art and pieces from kings like Louis XIII. We even got to see the Mona Lisa and some good paintings that were very nice to see.

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The L'ouvre was way too big to be able to see in a day (read: 5 days) and we had to see a lot more of Paris,

We next went to St Chapelle Cathedral. A beautiful stained glass church built in just 6 years.

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Next we visited Notre Dame Cathedral and had a truly French moment- Crepes in cafe just behind the Cathedral.

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We then walked through the historic Left Bank and made it to the Luxembourg gardens to sit down for a minute.

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We then headed to the Sacre Cour (sp?) to watch the sun go down from this strangely tall hill in northern Paris. We watched the Eiffel tower sparkle from there and just missed the sunset, though watching the lights come on across the city was beautiful.

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We then headed to the steps in front of the Cour and made friends with some Germans who happened to be staying at our hostel. We drank beer together watching the city light up and then walked home with them after we challenged them to an international game of Foosball. The Germans happened to be better than anyone I've ever seen at Foosball. It was like watching a professional soccer team play the rec leagues from back home. Needless to say we lost horribly to the Germans but enjoyed talking some trash to them.


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Location:Paris, FR