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.