Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Zagreb & Ljubljana

After the mishap that was Belgrade, we finally set off for Zagreb at 1pm and I was relieved when we finally returned to civilization. Although we didn't have long in the city, it was very beautiful and Iam sure I will visit again. The highlight was probably mistakingly ordering a pizza with fruits de mer on it, as we missed that one on the menu. So we tried such things as octupus and other smelly chewy substances, to be fair it could have been worse but am not in a hurry to repeat the experience. Ljubljana has to be the jewel in the crown of the ex yugo states, an affluent and beautiful village city. It has so many faces being quaint but cosmopolitan, old yet young, romantic and yet ecclectic. I think that sometime next year a week in Zagreb and Ljubljana is a must.
we have sampled many local beers along the way, and even some kind of spirit made-up from honey which was very strong in Zagreb.
Leaving Ljubljana Belgrade came back to haunt us once more as the train was 70 minutes late leaving Beograd, somehow though we miraculously arrived in Zurich on time, clockwork.
And we are now sat outside in the glorious sunshine sipping beers, waiting for our £30 lunch to settle and deciding where to visit.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Brasov, Bucharest and Belgrade....

Ok so I haven't really had the opportunity to add to my blog this past few days, and have consequently taken some flack for that.

Budapest I must say since we left was amazing, a real gem... maybe not quite as special as Prague but a really interesting and beautiful city all the same.

Brasov turned out to be a great idea, staying somewhere a little quieter and off the track so much. Our host was excellent and there were some great photo opportunities. Essentially we did a bit of mountaineering and lots of walking, one of the nicest highlights being the hunters tower. A small boy beckoned us into an off the path tower built into the castle wall, and showed us around it was very well presented and had some lovely views of the town from above. Then on to the mountain and the panorama was spectacular, even if the Brasov sign was a little cheesy.

Moving on to Bucharest we only spent one day, which was enough. We saw a few museums which were intersting but really the city was a little too much in terms of few quiet spaces and it was generally confusing. Despite paying 12lev for a map we still managed to get lost within minutes, to be fair we haven't really followed main thoroughfares anywhere; the whole trip has been about discovering new things and this was in keeping.

Sofia was great, although it rained cats and dogs for a while in fact the roads were like rivers for an hour or so. Taking in the archilogical museum and the ethonographic museum on the second day we did tick our cultural boxes somewhat, although there were no real vantage points for photographs.
We did wind up a little pissed in the evening for the second time this trip, something regretted a little in the morning. We did however make friends with the host and this involved trying wine, and discussing things that had to be tried when visiting Bulgaria and England.

So today a day trip in Belgrade. We arrived very early in the morning, to a deathly quiet train station. The first hour spent finding left luggage and booking tickets for the next leg.
Afterwards, we walked pretty much the perimeter of the city centre along the rivers and this was very beautiful once we passed the bend in the river.
The citadel was very interesting, housing lots of nooks and crannies. Plus a zoo and a military museum, we visited both and the highlight for me was a display cabinet containing something called u-238, now it is my understanding that that is the weapons grade isotope... but I could be wrong ha ha.
The zoo was very good, but there seemed to be unfair amounts of space for some creatures and not for others; I guess the city is still getting back on its feet but hopefully it will improve the quality for the animals a little including using more water in the pools etc as opposed to washing the grass (an hour after it had rained).
The ethonographic museum was very large and interesting, but perhaps a little tiring after a long night on the road.
Anyway we did plenty more besides in all the last few cities but for now it is relaxation time and we leave for Zagreb in a little over an hour and a half.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Budapest

After a few hiccups Budapest has turned into everything it has promised. Easily the hotest day so far, climbing to the citadel whilst very enduring, was the most rewarding experience. Visiting the old German army bunker turned out to be a jewel, the bunker was very interesting but having the courtyard above to ourselves was by far the best part, delivering unrivalled views of the city for 360° whilst other unknowing tourists bustled below us. Tomorrow we will be in Romania visiting brasov.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

prague

After a long winded evening trip we find ourselves rolling through endless picturesque scenes as our night train meandered from Frankfurt to Prague. The city has proved overwhelming although I wished to have understood more of the local tongue, that will have to wait until the next time. The highlight being scared half to death climbing multiple towers for the most breathtaking panoramic views of praha. One night in a very complicated hostel and then onto czesk budovice and Vienna, although I am looking forward to dawn in praha after a quiet evening perusing countless enchanting bars.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

London

Technically the second port of call, following a brief stop at the most English of institutions Wimpy we are surrounded by the madness that is London. More than usual though as the streets are filled with police and ambulances; whilst I carelessly eat colcanon and irish sausages washed down with a pint of ale.
I do finally get the feeling of adventure...

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The plan so far

Only a matter of days now as opposed to weeks until our European pub crawl commences, so I guess its time to get officially excited.

After spending a small fortune on new clothes and other necessities, the planning is starting to take shape. Whilst we are not really going to stick to a stringent plan, the first objective is to get as far into Europe as possible on the first day to maximise the amount of distance we cover in the 15 days our pass allows.

So first stop Brussels, then Frankfurt and then onto Prague; from there the adventure will begin...

Hopefully, there will be some exciting events occurring when we arrive. Obviously its always nice to wash the beer down with some culture :) .

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Researching things to do...

Ok, so I should be finishing off my essays; but I have written off Tuesday nights as it is Quiz Night at Foro's. 

So before I set off I have been searching the internet for resources to help with our travels this summer; and what a gem I found. I stumbled on a Guardian article about festivals across Europe this summer which led me to a site called whatsonwhen.com . You can search by section of a continent, or even by a specific country or place; I am sure this will prove invaluable in planning the proceedings :)

So I quite like the sound of going to the Croatian ATP Tennis and the Hugarian Grand Prix sounds excellent also; but unfortunately we will be back in England by the time the Belgrade Beer Festival kicks off :(

Anyway, I am sure over the coming days we will find lots of fun things to do along the way; which hopefully will ultimately give our jaunt a little direction.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Start a blog - whatever that is....

Ok so I am new to all this, but I have agreed to start a blog since in 65 days I will be setting off an adventure. Admittedly, this is definitely an adventure which should have commenced years ago when I didn't know better; but better late than never, eh?

I must admit I have always fancied writing a blog, you have to be just a little bit egotistical to do so I think; but my main motivations are to keep a record of the journey and because I actually like to write. (Something I wish I had figured out when I was younger also).

So in 63 days I turn 30, as is customary with every added year of life I find myself reviewing the state it is in. I often think of the things I would liked to have done, and getting older seems to be great for motivating you into achieving what you might have been putting off for sometime.

In this case, seeing everything the world has to offer before I die being one of my greatest priorities. Also, making the most of bachelordom just incase I ever cease to be a bachelor.

So in brief inter-railing around europe is something I should have done when I was younger, but that I now find myself about to encounter. Ok, it is not the most exciting of adventures when compared to some of the other goals I have. But it is a nice way to set the ball rolling.

Travelling with me is one of my oldest friends Mark; who is very faithful as a friend so I don't envisage fireworks on the trip. But, we always seem to find mischief and excitement readily.

So, I will be documenting the build up as we make decisions beforehand and all the dilemas we may or may not face along the way. Hopefully, after we set off I will manage to upload lots of photos of our travels.

So far we have discovered that the foreign office seems to think there is a terrorist threat in every nation in europe; even switzerland which is highly laughable. That Serbia is a mostly stable society now unless you are travelling from Kosovo, oh and don't talk about political subjects. That slovenia is somekind of hub for afghanistani heroin, so therefore somekind of mafia must operate there.

It all sounds like good fun, especially seeing as though we are aiming for the eastern european experience whilst it is still a little bit different; before it becomes the mainstay of british tourism.

The only thing which has been decided so far is that we will be starting our travels of the continent from Brussels; after leaving the uk on eurostar.

So thats it for now, over the next few entries I expect I will discuss the possible routes we may take; and generally document my excitement as the date gets closer.