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Buda Hills + Pest = Budapest, Hungary

Posted on 17 July 2012 by christie

Hop On, Hop Off Train @ the Danube River

Hop On, Hop Off Train @ the Danube River

The enchanting two-sided city of Budapest is hard not to fall in love with. From the moment we stepped off the train, we were immediately mesmerized by the city’s timeless beauty. At every step and turn an architectural wonder awaits. Baroque, art nouveau, neoclassical and eclectic structures line the city streets, plenty to cause your head to spin. Feeling like we could spend well over a week in Budapest, we wished we had planned for a longer stay.

Interestingly enough, the city had once been three cities separated by the Danube River. Buda city lies on the western side of the Danube consisting mostly of tourist attractions, including Castle Hill. Pest is on the eastern side and is where most local Hungarians call home today. The cities joined together in the late 1800’s to mold what is today Budapest. Although the city was destroyed several times through war, the Hungarians have done a stellar job in rebuilding the structures to model its traditional architecture. When looking at buildings we were shocked to find that most were constructed only within the last century. Our guide was amazed that tourists say they love the medieval architecture when its really as new as America. She reminded us of Hungary’s sad history being conquered and ruled by the Mongols, Romans, Turks, Habsburg Austrians, Soviets and Nazi Germans. Continue Reading

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Vienna… City of Arts, Music and Big Dreams!

Posted on 24 June 2012 by christie

Our time in Tallinn, Estonia was great, however the days turned dreary and cold. The seven  day weather forecast didn’t look hopeful, so we made a last minute decision to fly to Vienna, Austria and spend the last week of June with sunny skies. We’re scheduled to be in Prague by June 30th for the Pearl Jam show, therefore Austria was the perfect spot to make our way north into Czech Republic. We had planned on exploring more of Estonia, especially the beaches. Now that we’ve made some good friends, we’ll have to go back again someday. 

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Air Baltic Travel

Blue Skies on Air Baltic Travel

Neither of us had known much about Vienna other than it’s a city of arts, music and love. We had no idea the scale and size of Vienna with it’s 23 districts. We were shocked at its extensive metro line and the amount of time it takes you to get from place to place. The hotel prices were astronomical unless you stay far outside of the city. Luckily we booked from the airport 2 hours before regular check-in time and found a “deal” for $60, but the second night price for the same room, in a hostel!, was $150.

We stayed at the MEININGER Hotel Wien Downtown Sissi, which happened to be in the old Jewish quarter. The place felt very sterile and full of young kids. They wanted to charge us for every little thing, such as Internet 2 Euro/hour and check out 10am unless you pay 6 Euro extra for later check-out. We were shocked at the contrast with other cities we’ve visited. Continue Reading

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