In 5 days around Europe-Our Danube trip

Our Danube trip

You may already have read Ziviles blogpost about our crazy trip around three European capitals. As we haven’t been to exactly the same places all of the time, here is my recalling of our journey. 🙂

The evening before, you could practically absorb the excitement in our flat. In our living room, we had a casting for ‘Baile Tusnads next topmodel’ and the jukebox (my laptop) blasted Taylor Swift Songs. As if that wasn’t enough to channel our excitement, we also felt the sudden urge to create silly compositions with my Ukulele. One of these works of art was about Muškas ‘excremental behaviour’ (‘Poop and pee’), while the other masterpiece consisted of exactly two words and was all about the glory of Palinka (‘Patinka Palinka’=’I like Palinka’ in Lithuanian). Finally, at 2 or 3 am we went to bed to sleep out our hangover (just kidding :D) and entered La La Land.

First day in Budapest

From my last blogpost, you probably know by now, that I don’t really like long train trips. So, 13 hours in the train didn’t sound very comfortable for me. Nevertheless, this time I had company in the form of Zivile, so the train ride was quite ok. While she slept soundly during the whole trip though, I made acquaintainces with a girl from Sânsimion. She was also travelling to Budapest to visit her brother and invited us to her village to explore more about the Szekler culture.

Finally in Budapest, we changed currencies and went for a short shopping to buy something for our host. The confusion at first about the Hungarian Forint was real:

That looks so expensive, I am afraid to buy something.’

But soon, we got the hang out of the money and headed for our hosts place. After approximately one hour of walking through the city, tired and exhausted, we finally found our destination. Our host was an English teacher and travelled a lot. After talking a bit and sharing experiences, me and Zivile were too tired to keep our heads up and were taken by the Sandman into the land of dreams.

Second day in Budapest and Bratislava

After a well deserved sleep, we met with Lenka the next morning in the city centre, to go to a free walking tour through Budapest. The tour was very interesting and we saw a lot of the city. Our guide also told us a lot about the Hungarian people and even serenaded us with a traditional song (‘Tavaszi szél’). I immediately fell in love with the city and wanted to explore more. After the tour we went to a vegan restaurant, which was my first time. Unfortunately, we had to leave in the evening, because me and Zivile were expected by some of her friends from Bratislava. So, we went to a recommended hitchhiking place in the outskirts of the city to start our second trip. After two hours of waiting by the road, we began discussing our current misfortune. Options for that were:

‘Zivile, do you think I look like a gypsy?’

as well as

‘Maybe they can’t read…’ (Our sign)

Then, a car drove by, with the aim to go to Zagreb. The couple in the car spontaneously invited us to join them and for a moment we were even considering it, but we already had people waiting for us, so we couldn’t let them down. In the end, the couple took us to a supposedly better hitchhiking place, where we waited for another two hours  without any luck. Our last hope was to call Lenka (we’re still sorry for disturbing your evening), to search for buses to Bratislava. In the end we got a bus and at 3 am in the morning, we arrived there. Luckily Zivile had been in Bratislava before, so she navigated us to her friend’s home. We almost had to sleep outside, because he fell asleep and hadn’t heard us ringing. Fortunately he heard us in the end. He gave us a teeny tiny mattress to sleep on, which was actually for one person. We didn’t even have space to move and I almost threw Zivile off of it…. But in the end we more or less slept.

 Third day in Bratislava and Vienna

After a very very uncomfortable night and only three hours of sleep, we woke up at 6 am and headed for our hitchhiking place to Vienna. On the way we met another friend of Ziviles, who wanted to accompany us. We only needed 2 minutes to get a ride to Vienna. In Vienna we also had a free walking tour through the city. The guide made a lot of advertisements in the beginning, which was a bit annoying, but the rest of the tour was actually very interesting and not too much packed with historical facts. Zivile and her friend left in the beginning, so I explored the city on my own for the rest of the day. In the afternoon I visited Castle Schönbrunn, the summer residence of the Habsburg family. The castle itself was really nice , but they removed almost all of the furniture, which was a bit disappointing for me and the tour was quite boring and short. Still, I met some nice people on the tour; there was for example an American couple from LA, who was travelling through Europe. Vienna is very very beautiful, but I have the same opinion as Zivile: The whole city seems like one big museum, with a lot of people, but without any life. And although I was in a German speaking country again, I felt strangely disconnected. I didn’t even get to speak in German a lot, because of all the tourists. In the end, Zivile wanted to practice her German, so we talked the whole way until we reached our hitchhiking spot back to Bratislava. 🙂

We waited there for at least two hours, until a radio personality from Bratislava took us. In Bratislava, we visited a Slovak Food Festival, and now it is my turn to talk about the deliciousness of Slovakias cuisine.:) I ate some traditional dish (of which I can’t remember the name), which consisted of some kind of dumplings with potatoes and smântâna. I could hear the angels singing hallelujah.:D Zivile was on Cloud Number Nine with her special Kürtoskalács and even considered moving to Slovakia. In her words:

‘I just want to move here and eat food all the time’

Quite a big plan for the future isn’t it? 😉 So, if this hasn’t convinced you yet to come to Slovakia, let me tell you about its awesome views:

In the evening after the festival, we went up a hill called Slavin, from which we could enjoy an incredible night panorama of the city. Zivile and her friend decided to do Yoga, while I was watching them and then fell asleep on the top of the hill…Later, we went down and met our host, but didn’t sleep at his place that night, because he wanted to party, while we wanted to sleep. So, we spontaneously decided to spend the night at Ziviles friends place.

 

Fourth day in Bratislava and Vienna

The next day wasn’t very spectacular. Zivile and her friend visited some museums, while I explored more of the city, because I wasn’t in the mood to go to museums. When we hitchhiked back, we were taken by a very nice Slovak man, who was wearing Lederhosen and at first I thought, that he is Austrian. He had been hitchhiking to Morocco, when he was younger and thought it would be cool to pick up other hitchhikers as well (his wife doesn’t approve of that though…:D). In the evening, we went back to Ziviles friend and we originally wanted to bake a cake for him. Unfortunately, Zivile fell asleep and took the whole tiny mattress for herself (which we had actually planned before), so I had to call the floor my friend for the night (It was surprisingly more comfortable than the mattress…).

Fifth day in Bratislava and Budapest

We woke up very early to start our journey back to Budapest, because we had to take a bus from there to Romania. Finding the hitchhiking spot was a challenge for itself. The Slovak guy who took us the day before, gave us directions on how to get there, but we walked the wrong way at first. After a while I had a feeling in my gut, that we aren’t going the right way, so we walked back and took another way. This particular way was leading us…through a crop field.

‘Lisa, do you think there are snakes in the grass?’

After some slight worries about snakes and the possibly pesticidious grass, we conquered our way through the field, which was our only way to get to the petrol station. When we arrived there, our feet were so wet, that we had to change to dry socks. Zivile took one pair of my socks and I took one pair of her socks, which we only realized later. 🙂 After that, we had another obstacle: We weren’t on the right side of the petrol station. So, we had to cross another field and a bridge in order to get there. In this field, there were some strange and mysterious animals, which is why we basically ran to the other side of the motorway.

After some time, a Bulgarian guy gave  us a lift and he was very concerned about, that we could kill him…but otherwise he was very nice and even took us to the city centre of Budapest, although it wasn’t on his way. Back in Budapest, we met with Lenka and her friend and went to the Danube, before our bus came. It was a very nice and sunny summers day and we bathed our legs in the fresh water. Later we met Muškas daughter Sini (short for Sinistra :D) and after that went to the bus station.

My personal favourites of this trip were:

  1. Budapest
  2. Walking through a crop field
  3. The view from the hill in Bratislava

Unfortunately, I didn’t do our little ‘homework’ to learn five sentences in Slovak, Hungarian and German. But my Slovak skills are at least enough to talk to Muška, so it is anyways a small success for me. 🙂

This journey was one of the best of my life so far and I am really proud of us, that everything turned out the way we originally planned it, despite some obstacles. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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