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Hungary

Curious what backpackers do in Hungary? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Headed into Hungary with a hotel booking in the capital Budapest. Wasn't sure what to expect,but certainly not something in the vein of Prague.

    A couple of things first. The road down ftom Slovakia is pretty flat and boring with nothing really to write home about. I had seen on the road one particular warning sign heaps of times...see below. I had seen lots of tractors (almost always in towns/villages for some reason) and pushbikes but didn't really expect to see many horse and carts. Well I was proven wrong and took the photo below as proof!!!!! Lots of reindeer warning signs too, but haven't seen any of them yet. To drive/ride in many Europen countries you gave to buy a road vignette (some countries exempt motorcycles). This is basically toll, although sometimes you also have to pay additional tolls for some particular roads ir bridges. If you're caught without one the on-spot fines can be huge (over $1,000). Some you can buy online (see my Hungarian one below) but some you pick up at the birder or services stations etc.

    Budapest took me by compete surprise, fantastic buildings, beautiful squares, hundreds of bistros, cafes & restaurants, beautiful bridges, monuments and statues. I walked almost 20 kms in one day, mostly with my eyes looking up with my jaw hanging down. There are a couple of places I'd love to revisit with Anne and this is definately one of them. When I thought about historic and beautiful European cities I used to think about Paris, London and Rome - but there is so much more.

    I'm heading to Szeged (still in Hungary) close to the border with Romania. Next stop will be Romania actually have yo stop at the border to seek entry permission. Not sure how long it will take to cross to want to have some time up my sleeve.

    Talk soon.
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  • Bus trip to Budapest this morning from Vienna, arriving midday. Lunch in the markets a quick tour around the highlights (and there are many) before boarding the ship. Very impressive vessel crewed mainly by Romanians and Hungarians. Most of the travellers are North Americans - Canadians and US, a few from minor countries including Australian and 2 other Kiwis.

    Weighed anchor about 10 tonight and set the mainsail for Mohacs, expecting to be there when the sun rises above the yard arm. After scrubbing the decks, we set off to tour Pecs, but there may be some changes to the schedule due to a refugee camp being set up in that area. The tour director is expecting delays with the reintroduction of border checks, though we are heading down river and the refugees are going up. Fairly easy to work that one out.

    It has been a very full day, and will need now to balance our days between full on tourist and retirement village. Not realy like that as we shared the dinner table tonight with a couple from Wisconsin who are slightly younger. All in all they appear to be a fairly interesting bunch, though we have yet to mix much with the Aussies.

    Photos of Das Boot today, the language of the river is German. It is truly amazing.
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  • Today we woke in the sleepy Hungarian town of Mohacs. After breakfast which offers everything including champagne, we were bussed to Pecs which is a geothermal city an hour away. The usual old buildings, Roman ruins and a former Turkish mosque which is now a Catholic church. We chose the 'active' tour however the guide wore 6" heels so it was snail's pace.This is a very important town because of a scrap between the Turks and Austro-Hungarians back in the early1500,s. Today it is a bit of a backwater as you can see.

    We found the best coffee in Europe so far which was freshly ground and very good.

    As we crossed Austro/Hungarian border yesterday there were loads of Red Cross tents and piles of litter left by the migrants. The tour company is doing everything in their power to keep us away from them and it means changing a tour in Serbia tomorrow. Pity really as we might have been able to offersome advice - careers or otherwise!

    This afternoon there is a wine tour so Gary has headed off to try the local vino. I went to gym and enjoyed being back on a bike. (OK, back from the wine tour now and the verdict is don't rush to buy Hungarian wine. Photo of houses is a row of cellars, little sheds with a brick lined underground cave dug into the hill. That was the most interesting part. We tried 6 wines being given generous samples in an effort to stupify us into making errational purchases.

    The Hungarian flag flies everywhere and it was the same in Slovakia. Both distinctive flags and easy to identify.

    Tonight we have to stay up till the Hungarian police come on board and do a face to face passport check. That should be interesting. Then we head for Vukovar and wake up in Croatia where it will be 'dobra dan'. In Czech it was similar - 'dobra den'.
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  • Since I took many beautiful shots of the city, I'm putting them in one update because each entry is limited to six pictures. The most beautiful vista is from Castle District, looking across at the "Pest" side of the Danube. But the first shot was taken when we disembarked on the Pest side (first picture.)

    I'm so glad that's where our hotel is. These are all taken with my phone camera so I could upload them to this journal. They are pretty good but I took many more with our good camera which has a wider lens.Read more

  • Amazing views. We started in Pest at St Stephen's Basilica. Crossed the Chain bridge to Buda. From Castle Mountain, we looked out over Pest. We finished at a local café where we had some mushroom paprikash.

  • We stopped at one of Budapest's famous ruinbars. This one was called Kuplung. We had a beer and tried the local drink - Palinka. Mondays are half off. The beers were a 1$ and the shots were 3$, so 4$ total. Not bad. I can't say that Palinka is one of my favorites though.

  • No visit to Budapest is complete until you’ve been to one of the city’s famed natural thermal baths. Lucky for us, the Gellert Thermal Bath was within walking distance from our accommodation, just on the Buda side of the Liberty bridge, at the foot of Gellert Hill. No better way to soothe our tired feet from hours of walking on end.

    We had previously gone for a run up Gellert Hill to see the city from up the top. It is definitely worth the climb. We did, however, get weird stares from the people getting off the tour bus at the top.

    Today was all about relaxation. The Gellert Bath is architecturally stunning. It is actually a Turkish bath built between 1912-1918 which was damaged in WWII and subsequently rebuilt. According to literature from the 13th century, the warm spring water has healing powers stemming from its rich minerals content. This bath, and other baths in Budapest, are used to treat degenerative joint illnesses as well as many other ailments.

    The hot baths range from 35-40 degC. As we learnt, it is more than just warm. The thermal baths are decorated beautifully with mosaic tiles to give you the feel that you’ve gone back centuries in time. It was very therapeutic indeed, if you don’t think too much about the little black floaties in the water. Don’t ask too many questions.

    This thermal bath is unique as it has a wave pool. Yes, one of the outdoor pools turns into a wave pool for a few minutes every hour, much to the delight of squealing patrons such as ourselves. We thought we would spend only a couple of hours here before getting bored, but we surprised ourselves. You can easily spend an entire day going in and out of the all the different pools plus relaxing by the poolside.
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  • Decided to treat myself (mainly because I deserve it) and stayed in a Novotel in the middle of the city...might sound extravagant but was only about a 1/3 of what you would pay in Brisbane or Sydney and it included breakfast and parking. I picked this city because it's close to the Romanian border and am not sure how long it might take me to cross as it isn't a schengen country, so actually have to stop at the border post to show passport and bike papers. The ride here wax fine, nothing special but enjoyable...lots of flat area in Hungary!!!

    I got a bit lost trying to find the hotel but made it in the end but it was worth it...nice room

    Just overnight so a quick walk around and dinner at an outside bistro.

    Romania next
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  • Well we met up with our bla bla car ride Matteo, who happened to be a policeman in terrorist investigations and cruised at 160km/h into Budapest. It was a five hour drive and he dropped us off at our Airbnb. We got in around 7 so quickly did some grocery shopping and then went to the most beautiful cafe called the New York cafe which was totally renovated by the Italians. Had my first bowl if Hungarian goulash which is just how my staramama made. Scrumptious. Big day of touring tomorrow.Read more

  • I spent the afternoon on foot touring around and getting a holistic feel if Budapest. I walked for 2.5 hours and found the St. Stephens Cathedral(not the most ornate church I have seen) and also saw the right hand of St. Stephen which was found in the early 1400's. Kind of creepy to have it on display but the hungys worship it. Saw the beautiful Opera house and the Franz Litsz museum. Lots of musical culture here. I must have put on about 10 k today walking but it was great to feel like a local. Couldn't see the sinagogue as it is closed today and tomorrow. I did see the stainless steel tree of life which had the names of the persecuted inscribed on each leaf. Tomorrow I hope to make it to the spa for a day of mineral baths and relaxation treatments.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

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