Eastern Europe Trip ’07

This is a legacy post about myself and Paddy’s trip to Eastern Europe, specifically Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava in October 2007. We flew into Bratislava first, thanks to Ryanair, and headed straight to the train station. We’d hit Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava in that order as the cities are quite close together. Certain things struck me as strange about Bratislava: the man carrying a dog on his shoulders was a prime example. Our journey is outlined in an extended entry below:

Vienna
Palace in ViennaA few hours later we had arrived in Vienna. We stayed in accommodation known as a ‘pension’, basically a few different bed rooms in an apartment with a shared bathroom/shower. It was grand for us as we would only be staying a few days. The nights we stayed in Vienna were all pretty quiet as regards pubs and clubs. It’s a beautiful city and getting around is tremendously easy with the metro and subway running every couple of minutes. The palace in Vienna is truly stunning and we had a gorgeous day for out trip out to it.

One of the best things we did on the holiday was take a trip down the Danube by boat. While it was quite cold, the sun was shining and we took plenty of snaps. Turning off the Danube canal into the main flow of the river, we went through a lock and must have risen the guts of 70 feet before resuming our journey. On our final night, we decided to go for a pizza in a place called Mafioso. It had been recommended on WikiTravel and the food was lovely. Total price for 2 big pizzas, 2 cokes and 2 beers: €12.60 Unbelievable good. I should mention that we also saw a rose seller on a bike being chased by a bike cop. 😆

Budapest
Myself, Paddy and RossWe arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and decided to walk to the hotel. Bad move. Google Maps makes distances look smaller than they actually are, to me anyway, so the guts of an hour later we arrived at the hotel. It looked a bit run down from the outside but the room was grand. Ireland were due to play Cyprus in a World Cup qualifier so we headed to an Irish bar that evening to catch it. Just before the match was to begin, in walks a bloke myself and Paddy knew from college, Ross. We hadn’t seen him in years and he was with some friends so we resolved to go to the West Balkan nightclub after the game. That was a great night and went on until all hours. Needless to say the next day we were hungover and didn’t do a hell of a lot. Friday we decided to actually do stuff and saw the castle, bridge and a torture house from the Communist era. Budapest has a lot to see but we’d see even more the next day…on our Segway tour.

I’d spotted the Segway tours on the web and was convinced we had to do one in Budapest. As it was a Saturday we were the only two people on the tour and our guide was lovely. The Segways themselves were fantastic and we got the hang of them fairly quickly. If they were more affordable I’d go out and buy one tomorrow. Here’s a video I took while going down some street:

Bratislava
On Saturday afternoon we travelled to Bratislava by train. It was one of the more harrowing journeys I’ve been on as mid-way through we panicked thinking we had to change train. This all stemmed from the fact that the Hungarians have another name for ‘Bratislava’. Unbelievable but true. We eventually got to Bratislava and got settled in our apartment which was literally a couple of minutes walk from the city centre. The Rugby World Cup Final was on so we decided to go to the Irish pub to watch it and then on from there to a Slovak bar that the landlord had recommended. The Irish bar was jammed for the game but cleared out after. We didn’t stick around for long and went off to the Slovak bar instead. Got chatting to 2 Slovak birds at the table next to us there. Had great craic teaching them “Irish” with random sentences. In fact it was funny to see the new Carlsberg ad which will give you a flavour of how we got on. The next morning we rose to catch our flight back which we came within a whisker of missing and I left my belt at the security counter.

All in all a really enjoyable holiday and one that’d I’d do again.
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