A Travellerspoint blog

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Prague

Day 2 - 28th August

sunny 28 °C

Too good to be true. Woke up to sunshine and blue skies. Finally, some good weather in Prague.

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Dumb luck. I love festivals and there happened to be one in the centre of town. Beer, music and a wide range of stall food. Splendid.

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Mixing with the big wigs. In true festive spirit, we visited the wax museum for a bit of light hearted entertainment. The festival had set us our jolly way. Check out the lifelike resemblance of some of history’s greats. Pretty convincing.

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Shopping. Yep, back to the shops. Normally, I’m whining about the amount of time Vic spends in stores but this time, I'm the instigator. I was in the market for a new suit anyway and after trying on almost everything they had in store, I came out with a cracker deal and a few accessories to boot. Got to slow down soon or I won’t get any of it home! Vicki was very patient, I think I was in there for more than 2 hours… the payback will be costly.

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Accommodation Budapest. We were heading to Budapest the very next day and still hadn’t booked anything. So many quality hotels and apartments to choose from. It couldn’t wait any longer. Took the laptop to the bar, drank a few beers and searched the net until we found something we were happy with. Pretty lush but unfortunately we drank our way through dinner. The peanuts helped the hunger pangs. Can you believe we still have to follow up in the morning to confirm accommodation? Same day booking, just a little risky.

Posted by samandvic 03:11 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Prague

Day 3 - 29th August

sunny 29 °C

Sammy’s Toy. We had a bit of time to kill before heading to Budapest. Last time we were in Prague, I bought my nephew, Sammy a storybook of a well loved Czech fictional character. I was planning to get him a matching soft toy last time we were here but unfortunately ran out of time. Got it this time.

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Attention Attention… please evacuate from your nearest exit. Please stay calm… We were in a shopping mall when the evacuation alarm sounded. As soon as the words ‘please stay calm’ were uttered, Vicki did a ‘George Castanza’. ‘Let’s get the fuck out of here’ and pushed an old lady and 3 kids to the ground. Not quite but she did panic a little.

Slovakia. The train to Budapest had a connection in Breclav, which we later learnt passed through Slovakia. How were we to know? Once we crossed the border an inspector came on board. He happily informed us that our global passes were not valid in Slovakia. ‘But the train is advertised to Budapest’. ‘Not valid’. Chill out, dude. 76 Euro it was going to cost us. ‘What about second class?’ Apparently not much difference. ‘Well, how about you check mate’ He then put his ticket machine away. ‘You can give me 40 Euro and I will protect you until you get over the border’. Gee thanks. I gave him 30. Either the lady at the train station is an absolute idiot or what they were saying is utter bullshit. I have a feeling the latter is closest to the truth.

Posted by samandvic 03:24 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 1 - 29 August

sunny 31 °C

Warm glowing warming glow. The moment we crossed the Hungarian border, Vicki unknowingly began to emanate a radiant glow. I noticed it almost instantly. She was home and her genes knew it.

Nyugati Gypsy dance. My fondness of the term ‘gypsy’ certainly hasn't faded after two years. The Gyppos were in full force outside the station singing and dancing, and of course the standard request for a bit of coinage.

Boscolo. We managed to negotiate an upgrade to a larger room over the phone with the hotel early that morning however on arrival we were told that our upgrade was upgraded. A suite on an exclusive floor. Could not ask for a better greeting to Budapest. The hotel was magnificent, inside and out. A sense of ‘real’ opulence. We could barely contain our excitement. Probably the most tasteful hotel we have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Not too shabby.

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Late dinner. After all the excitement of the hotel, we managed to pull ourselves away to grab a bite. We stumbled across a quaint little sidewalk café which was in happy hour. Two for one cocktails a bonus. 8 cocktails, two schnitzels and a couple of side salads for a glorious total of $25. Love being off the Euro! Other than a drive by egging, which just missed my leg, the night was perfect.

Almost normal. We jumped at the opportunity to avoid suitcase living and unpacked everything into the his and her wardrobes. Boy does that feel good.

Posted by samandvic 00:58 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 2 - 30th August

sunny 33 °C

Fitness centre. Now I thought we were spoilt at the Ritz-Carlton. This place was like an underground ice cave filled with fitness equipment, saunas and a glorious lap pool that doubled as a Jacuzzi of sorts. I’ll enjoy my time here.

New york café. The ever famous Budapest New York Café, amongst other features, made up part of our hotel lobby. I ordered scrambled eggs with Hungarian sausage (csabai) and Vicki ordered her most favourite Hungarian desert, Dobos torte. What a way to start the day. The eggs and cake were very reasonably priced at about $8 a pop but the coffee, the sweet sweet coffee was also about $8. Probably a measure taken to avoid undesirable types consuming their table space whilst endlessly sipping on a coffee. Well played but we’ll have to find a local coffee haunt of our own. Can't stomach paying that much for coffee each day.

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Vorosmarty Ter. One of the many famous squares of Budapest. Lots of little shops, food, and drink on offer. We simply walked around enjoying the beautiful scenery whilst indulging in whatever local delights caught our eye (almost everything).

Market. Last time we were in Budapest, I had the most scrumptious serve of Gulyasleves form the local Market. I couldn’t leave without a quick visit. I upsold myself to a side of stuffed chicken and lets just say I could have been mistaken for exactly that when I walked (or waddled) out of the marketplace. Vic had her usual Langos but she was a little disappointed. Anyone who has eaten Langos knows it is best served piping hot, straight out the oil. Not the case this time.

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Cocktails. Got a taste for cocktails now. Off the beer and mixing it up a little. Sipping away in the heat of the Budapest sun. Livin’ large and lovin’ it.

Liszt Ferenc Ter. One of the popular eating haunts of Budapest. the place really comes to life at night. A little similar to hardware lane except the spruikers are much less aggressive. I sampled the local duck and Vic went straight for the goose liver. They say Hungarian goose liver is the only ‘real’ rival of French frois Gras however you have to endure the French when indulging in theirs so I think the Hungarians win by default. I wouldn’t know because as much as I have tried, I just can’t palate liver in any form. Brilliant night.

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P-P-P-P-Palinka. The local spirit and it’s lethal. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Approx. 50% alcohol and it is made from almost any fruit imaginable. It tastes a little like smooth flavoured vodka however has the adrenal fire of tequila. Palinka gives you wings! I wonder how it would go mixed with red bull?!

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Posted by samandvic 01:06 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Budapest

Day 3 - 31st August

sunny 32 °C

Power sesh. Hit the gym pretty hard this morning. With a fitness centre like this one, it is pretty difficult to pull yourself away. I am also acutely aware of the sheer volume of food and drink I will consume. Time to get running. Quick dip in the pool and a sauna (trauma free) and I was energised for the day ahead. Gym is a must in Hungary. The food is so rich and bountiful that there is absolutely no chance of burning off what you consume without exercising. Even then it is a struggle.

Coffee. A couple of New York Café house specials whilst organising our day before heading off for a bit of natural therapy.

Szechenyi. The largest medicinal thermal bath complex in Europe. The water is drawn from underground thermal ponds at about 70-80 degrees Celsius. Lavishly decorated with more than 20 indoor and outdoor baths to choose from. All of differing temperatures. Most of the outdoor areas were more like swimming pools. Several different saunas to choose from again with varying features, infra red, steam, dry, etc. A few more English yobbos than I would like to see but that didn't stop us from spending the entire day here.

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Swirl pool. In the centre of one of the outside pools there is a centrifugal-like section which propels you and the water in a circular motion, almost like a whirlpool. Lots of fun.

Massage bliss. The massage came highly recommended by the hotel. I was able to convince Vic to join me. Vic was rather judgemental that I requested a female masseuse. After my experience in India, when an 8 foot black man rubbed me down, it was well justified. I was paying for relaxation therefore a prerequisite is to come out feeling ‘less’ tense. I stand by my decision.

New york café dinner. Well, we’d tried their breakfast and were not let down. Dinner was even better. The highlight reel just keeps getting longer. Gulyasleves for starters which is standard. I had a lovely farmhouse chicken dish and Vic had Pig’s trottle, not trotter but trottle. Exquisite.

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Posted by samandvic 01:24 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

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