A Travellerspoint blog

Rome

sunny 13 °C

Roma! I made it to Italia I arrived in Rome around 10pm, collected my lugagge and hopped on the bus to Termini. I finally got there around 10:40 and started the long walk to my hostel. It was asupposed to be a ten minute walk but the directions the hostel gave were crap and I ended up wandering for a bit. At 11:00 pm. In Rome. As a girl. Alone. With a backpack. Not fun. Anyways. I finally got there. Made my bed and crashed out. Or, at least that was the plan. One of my roomates decided he would rather keep me up with hos loud snoring. Normally snoring doesn't bother, but jesus he was loud! One of my other roomates and I ended up out in the common area laying on bean bags trying to get a few hours sleep.

In the morning I began the great wander.

Here's a statue built into the building on one of the streets Iwalked on the way to the Fontana di Trevi
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View from the Piazza di Quirinale
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Neat little street
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Trevi Fountain
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Pantheon
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Piazza dela Rotunda
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On the way to the Piazza Navona
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Piazza Navona
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Piazza Venezia
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Vatican
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Dei Fori Imperian and the Roman Forums
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Colosseum
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I wandered for three days straight! Met a few people at the hostel who I wandered around with and made friends with some neat people!
I have to say Rome was neat for the sights, but other than that it wasn't to special. The people there were tired of tourists, so they didn't really care to help you out at all and were often times plain rude. It was a lot nicer at night. The lights hitting all of the building with the perfect mix between ancient and modern.

Next Stop: Naples, Italy

Posted by Michele530 12:43 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Budapest

Best city ever!

storm -4 °C

So I hoped on a short train from Vienna to Budapest early in the afternoon. I arrived around 1:00, and headed straight to the hostel. I walked up the million steps ( and when I say million I mean six floors without and elevator). I was greeted at the door by Juice (a crazy aussie) who showed me all the good sights to see, cheap places to eat, Tesco's in the area, where not to go, tourist traps, and insider places to go. Then he introduced me to everyone that was staying in the hostel that was currently in the building. After I dropped my stuff in the room I headed into the common area to chat with people and found out that a few were going caving. This sounded like an excellent idea to me, so I put on my running shoes, some extra layers for the chill and we headed out to meet with the group that was going.

Our tour guide took us on three different buses just to get to the sight where we suited up and walked to the cave. I, of course, got picked to be the first one behind the guide as we went into the cave to begin our spelunking. We ducked, dodged, dived, crawled, slithered, scooted, climbed, inched, hopped, skipped, jumped, and struggled through one of the largest cave systems in Hungary. Yet, the worst part was climbing down almost two stories on a creepy ladder. Needless to say, I came out bruised from head to toe, loving every second of it. When we finally trudged back to the hostel it was almost midnight. We leaft our hostel around 330, had an hour bus ride, and got dressed-- so we'll say we started caving around 500 pm. Then we undressed and took the hour bus back, so we will say we finished caving around 1030. Thats 5 and a half hours of crazy spelunking!

The next morning we all woke up bruised and battered, but we truged on through the day anyways. I can't really say I did much this day. We walked lazily about, sat on terraces and sipped beer-- pretty much just relaxed. I headed back to the hostel around 500 so that I could eat dinner there (you could buy a home made dinner for 4 Euro) with most of the other people staying at the hostel. Then we all got dressed and headed out for a night on the town.

If there is one thing that stood out about Budapest is their bars. I have never seen a bar like the ones there. The are half indoor half outdoor. The outdoor is usually a massive open space with a fire pit or rows and rows of tables. The insides usually have 15 to 20 different rooms with different themes and high ceilings.

The staff at Carpe Noctem were all travelers that just never left the budapest. So, they want you to have as good a time as they did. Every night there is some kind of activity that they will take the hostelers to. This night happened to be the pub crawl night. The first bar we went to was Szimpla. The inside had empty bathtubs that were cut into weird shapes. The outside was just picnic tables with hookah and heaters. Our hostel took up two of the tables- one with mixed fruit hookah and one with pineapple coconut. They were delicious! After this we hit different bars taking a shot at some, having a beer at others, and just having a good time. We finally ended up at Instant-- one of the creepiest, coolest bars I have ever seen. The main room had half owl half woman statues on one wall and about 3 dozen white rabbit statues climbing up another wall. There were 26 different rooms in all-- and each one had something weird and mystical in it.

The majority of the good ended up walking back to the hostel around 5 in the morning to get up the next day to go watch the kiwi-aussie rugby match in a pub around 10. At 940 every one started rushing to get dressed and get to the pub before the game started. When it was finally over (go Kiwis!) I decided it was time for me to actually see some of budapest besides a cave and bars. So I grabbed my handy dandy map and hit the streets.

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Tank at the Terror Museum about the second world war and the effects it had on Hungary after.

After visiting the Terror Museum, which was interesting but not enough to keep my attention for 4 hours, I walked to the chain bridge and up the river past the parliament back to the hostel, ate lunch, then keep going up to the city park. I passed tons of famous landmarks and buildings, but honestly there were some many I can'tremember all the names to label them. But, here's a gander:

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This is view looking over from Pest (where I was 90% of the time) to Buda where the castle lies

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This is the parliament building

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This is "Anonymous" It is said that if you rub the pen he is holding then you will have good writing in the future.

After my extensive sight seeing during the day I met up with the hostel for the evening again. This time we headed out for dinner. It was 1000 florints for a traditional hugarian goulash soup and a pint of beer. The soup was cooked over a huge fire pit in a massive bowl and fed about 50 people. The dinner was at a club called Grandio and also had a night club underneath called "The Cave." The lady who owns the hostel I stayed at also owned three other hostel in budapest. That night, all four of us joined together for one big party. Apparently a tradition of this party is a Jaeger Train. We had 350 jaeger bombs in our Jaeger train.

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After the Train took off I went and joined a few guys from my hostel for pool. We finally headed down to "The Cave" for open mic night. We gotto watch people from all over the world play all kinds of music with each other for a good five hours. I also went up there with some people from the Hostel (they played guitar, etc.) and sang Jolene. It was amazing! We finally stumbled out around 430 in the morning and walked back home, only to realize we went the wrong direction. So we stumbled back the other way and finally made it home around 515. We made some breakfast, listened to music, and chatted a bit, before finally calling it a night... or morning?

I finally got up around 11 and started packing my things to head back to Den Haag for a few days. I almost stayed in Budapest longer but I couldn't bring myself to waste the money I would have lost on missing the flight. I think I will have to make my way back there before I head home in December. It was that amazing!

Next Stop: Rome, Italy

Posted by Michele530 04:40 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Vienna

Trip 2 Days 8-9

rain 13 °C

I trained in to Vienna to meet one of my Canadian buddies I met in Prague. We happened to be going to Vienna at the same time and on top of that had booked the same hostel. I met her there around 200 and we set off to wander the city. But, we only made it across the street to the Naschmart. The Nashmart is an outdoor market with food, drinks, clothes, etc. etc. etc. We sat down and had some traditional Viennese food and a yummy beer. Then we wondered for a bit more and headed back to the hostel to put in some laundry, shower, and get ready to go out for the night. After we took our laundry from the dryer we walked to the Vienna Opera House. We bought some standing tickets for 3 Euros. The Opera was La Triviatta, so I was excited to see an Opera I had at least heard of. We lasted about an hour. The fact that we were standing, mixed with someone's terrible B.O. and terrible heat-- just didn't work for us. We made it back to our hostel and headed to the in-house bar. And stayed there. For at least 8 hours. We met a bunch of crazy Aussies, American, Canadians. Played pool. Did Jager trains. Had crappy beer and shots. It was a blast! We ended up going to bed around 3 or 4 in the morning.

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Jager Train

The next morning we got up around 10 and had a nice easy day of wandering around trying to shop, but relly having the energy. We ended up going out to a late lunch then wandering back to the hostel to have a lazy afternoon playing on the internet.

So, unfortunately I dont have any pictures besides the Jager Train.... oops!

But, I have just arrived in Budapest and it looks like it will be an interesting weekend. Supposed to meet up with the Aussie and Canadian that I met in Prague. Let's hope we find each other!

Current stop: Budapest, Hungary.

Posted by Michele530 05:49 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Prague

Trip 2 Day 6-7

rain 14 °C

I pulled up to Prague in the late afternoon, hopped on the underground rail and a tram to get to my hostel, check in, and made some friends. All within an hour. I walked into my room at the same time as two other people around my age. And we all hit it off. We were also joined by another girl who had gotten to the hostel late the night before. We decided to go down to the hostel bar and grab a drink and figure out what we wanted to do. There a big group of Aussies noticed us trying to figure this out and asked what we were up to. So, we naturally decided to do a pub crawl. We started off at the drunken monkey where there were unlimited well drinks. Basically we had a bunch of 3% crap beer, vodka shots (that had more apple or craberry juice than actual vodka) or yucky watered down rum. But, it was still free, so I shouldn't complain too much. Then we continued to wander around the city to at least two or three other clubs. Each one had free shots for us. It was 450 Koruns for the night, but you also had to buy your own beers, etc. So, in the end I don't know if it was worth it, but it was fun wandering around with a group of 30 people or so.

The next day we went for a free walking tour. It started at 1015 and ended at 3. So it was a solid 5 hours of walking around Prague. Its a good thing our tour guide was amazing, otherwise I don't think I would have been able to stay entertained that long. We learned tons of the history of Prague and the Czech Republic and saw most of the city.

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Pretty building I found while wandering

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This is one of the only Hebrew clocks left. It run counterclockwise!

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Famous Prague Astrological Clock. Over 600 years old and still works!

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Supposed to be one of the oldest churches in Europe. The stones used to build it are supposedly from Jerusalem and will be returned to their homeland when Jesus comes back to Earth.

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Delicious Cuban Cigar. Ended up sitting outside of a cafe drinking a beer and my Cuban discussing politics and foreign policy with a Canadian and an Aussie. I felt like a grown up :)

After the walking tour and a few hours of relaxing outside of a pub, we decided to go shopping! But, the only thing we ended up buying ws some yummy Indian food. We finally wandered back to the Hostel around 7. None of us had the energy to go out so we decided to stay at the Hostel chill area and bar. Then we saw a guitar on the wall, and the Aussie had a harmonica. So Canadian grabbed the guitar, Aussie grabbed her Harmonica, and I sang. We sat there for probably 4 or so hours just drinking beer and playing songs from the Beatles to Nirvana to Jason Mraz to Adele to Neon Trees to Alanis to Dolly Parton. It was fantastic. I was in pure heaven.

One of the Canadians was headed to Vienna the same time as me and we also happened to have booked the same hostel. So we will be kicking up trouble together again. And the Aussie and other Canadian will be in Budapest at the same time, so we will reunite again!

Overall, I had the best time. I loved every moment in Prague!

Next Stop: Vienna, Austria

Posted by Michele530 06:08 Archived in Czech Republic Comments (0)

Poland and Slovakia

Trip 2 days 1-4

rain 8 °C

As I said in my previous post I finally arrived in Warsaw after an excruciatingly long day of train rides. After I submitted that blog it was nearly 11 pm. Then quickly showered and headed to bed. Normaally when I try to go to sleep it often takes me close to an hour to finally drift off, but not that night! I finally understand what people say about falling asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. I woke up the next day around 830 and began to get ready for the day. Because I lost a day on my train rerouting, I only had one day in Warsaw, so I checked out – left my bag at the hostel for the day- and hit the town. At first I planned on walking the streets on my own, but that proved difficult because all of the information on te buildings about the history were in Polish. So when I spotted a tour bus that cost about 20 Euros for a day pass, I jumped at the chance. I first travelled around on the bus listening to the commentary and looking at all the sites. Then the next time around I hoped off to look at everything. I was entertained with this for about 3 hours and then was done. Not because there weren’t things to see, because there was plenty to see and plenty of history to go along with it. I just… didn’t like Warsaw. The Polish people I met were very nice, for some reason I just didn’t care for the city. By the time the day was over I was happy to be jumping on a train to a new place.

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Warsaw Royal Palace

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A memorial to Catholics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. that were mrudered during the holocaust

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They definitely love the late Pope in Warsaw

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My train for Bratislava left at 8pm that night. I was set to arrive in Bratislava around 540am the next day. I kept my fingers crossed that the train would be late so I could get some more sleep, but it pulled up to the station in Bratislava right on time. The train ride there wasn’t too bad except for customs stopping us in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to check our passports and the attendants checking our tickets at every stop throughout the night. So we were woken up pretty much every hour. Other than that there were no hitches. I was happy to see that the trams were running so early in the morning, so I hopped on one and headed to my hostel to drop off my bag. They were happy to let me drop my stuff off even though I wasn’t due to check in until three in the afternoon. They also offered my some coffee and let me hang out in the common area until the shops and restaurants opened (It was a Sunday so that didn’t happen until 10 am) I happily sipped my coffee and read my book on a giant cushy couch for a few hours then headed out to do another free walking tour. I think my tour guide in Edinburgh ruined me for tours though, because none have really compared since then. But, no matter. The guide was very nice and tried to tell us jokes, but the Slovak to English translation sometimes didn’t make sense. After the tour finished I headed back to the hostel to check in and find my room. Then I laid down for a half hour and headed back out again to find some dinner. I lazily wondered around the city. It was quiet, but not eerie like Warsaw had been at night. For some reason Warsaw just made me itch with uncofortability. It didn’t seem unsafe, but for some reason I did feel at ease.

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Old Bratislava National Theatre

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Famous statue in Bratislava

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Spot of the first witch burning in the Bratislava witch hunts

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The Bratislava Castle from afar

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Famous Blue Church in Bratislava

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Cool looking church down one of the side streets

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Spray paint on the side of the church in the previous photo

One thing that I realized I wasn’t prepared is the huge language barrier. Sure I have been living in a country that doesn’t speak English as a first language, but a lot of the people there do speak English. Also, Dutch – to me- isn’t that hard to understand. There are of course times where I am completely clueless, but the things that I need to know are not too difficult. And because I have a grasp on Dutch, German isn’t too difficult. But, Polish? Slovak? Way different. Not only are there completely foreign characters in their alphabet, but I also have no clue how to pronounce anything. It has definitely made this trip wild! Not to mention I still have another week of trying to figure out Czech and Hungarian. At least in Austria I will get by with my broken German.

On a completely unrelated note I have been reading a book about Janis Joplin and it entirely fascinates me. I knew she wasn’t the “typical” musician, but I had no idea how far out she was. It also has an extensive background on the mid- 1960’s and early 1970’s. I have to say I am in love with this era. To my mom- you’re lucky I was born in the 80’s instead of the early 50’s because I would have definitely run away to San Francisco to find the “beautiful people.” I also had no idea Bob Dylan had such an extensive role in the Rock & Roll movement. Mind blown. More research must be done. If anyone out there has any recommendations on books or articles, etc.- let me know!
Overall, I don’t think Warsaw was too bad, just not my cup of tea. But, I really enjoyed Bratislava.

The weather on this trip has been a bit brutal, but after Edinburgh and Inverness I packed a few more layers. Warsaw was mostly dry but a chilly 7 degrees Celsius while Bratislava has been a balmy 10 degrees (hah!) and pissing down rain since I arrived. I’m sure some of you are laughing at me for being a baby about the weather, but remember I’m a So Cal girl who is used to 23 degrees year round.

Next Stop: Prague, Czech Republic

Posted by Michele530 00:50 Archived in Slovakia Tagged bratislava warsaw poland backpacking slovakia Comments (0)

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