A Travellerspoint blog

Budapest

A nice surprise

Budapest

Got off the train in Budapest only to be greeted by a Goblin with bright red lipstick, trying to get me to stay at her accommodation for 30 Euros, I told her politely to go away, well she decided to follow me around for a bit. I went to the Tourist information and they showed me the best and cheapest place to get the internet......God bless McDonald's. I had a look at the hostels available and found two that were close and quite reasonable. I headed down to the area where it was shown but nothing is ever as simple as you would like it to be. When I was on the stret where they were supposed to be I asked some of the locals roughly where they were, strangely no one had ever heard of the hostel. Even when I was outside the address of one of the there was no sign of it!!

At that point there I decided that I needed to get back on the net, I found an cafe which had the internet it was quite pricey the £2 for the hour. I went in a spoke to the girl about the hostels and she had never heard of them. I was also told if you get a coffee you wouldn't get charged for the internet. I found the new place I wanted to stay ....The Goat Hostel, what a great name.

After finding the Goat Hostel, I went straight to bed for a couple of hours. I was exhausted and all I had been doing was sitting down and watching the scenery. The first night I just read my book and wrote some e-mails somehow that took me up to 11, so it was an earyish night for me.

The next day I woke around 9 and had my breakfast and some coffee, I don't wat to know what brand it is as Eastern Europe has Nestle signs everywhere :( I took one of the tourist maps lying around and based my day around that. The first stop was the local Hall Market which very European country seems to have, and this one was exactly the same, it's not a bad thing, I quite like them. After that it was on the the Hungarian National Museum. I was quite impressed with, well I must have been I spent the best part of 4hrs in it. Outside the museum there was a plaque with flowers and candles around. I asked a few people what it was for and nobody new, finally somebody shed some light, it was a tribute a 18year old man who set himself on fire as a protest to communism, There was a lot of interesting facts and exhibits in the museum but when the Avars come along for about 400 years it get gets boring for a while. It gets interesting when they try and put a whole new soin on WWI and it tries to prove that they were right in the first world war and that nobody actually won it.

after the the museum I was going to see the Synagogue. It was a less than welcoming as the police/ security strolled around scowling at everyone walking past. It was so stringent that they stopped people taking photos of it, it was at that point there I decided to give it a miss and head on. So I strolled merrily down the road. Decided to get some authentic Hungarian street food, this was to prove harder than expected so I succumbed to a Sahib, still not entirely sure what it was made of, it was in pitta bread and consisted of hummus, salad and some meaty looking thing...mmmmmmm. At that point I was outside the parliament and lets face for a country that was not fully independent for a long time its parliament is pretty sweet, think our parliament designers should have ad a look at that for a start. Anyway tried to find out about a tour but the last tour of the day, well in English speaking tour, it had started an hour earlier at 2. I was some what annoyed and impressed with myself for staying that long in a Museum. I thought a stroll along the Dunube would be nice. It is still used quite a fair bit today but that still didn't take away from the fact that it was freezing cold down by it. The rest of the the city was reletively warm compared to being down by the Dunube, it is quite strange the drop in temperature,

When I got back to the hostel I decided to look at getting transport to Belgrade for Sunday. I was expecting to take a hot of about £70 for it, I had trawled through numerous websites and tour companies even direct all via the english side. Well f**k me!! I finally got the ticket from the Budapest ticket woman for......£15, and yes it's a proper ticket and I didn't have to do anything bad to get it. I think this is a good lesson for me take note of that its better to get the locals to help. If it wasn't for the guy in hostel giving me that advice I would be out of 50quid. Later on that night I went out with the Brazillian guy who was in the dorms. It was weird getting used to people smoking in the pubs and clubs again. we went to a few of the bars suggested by the hostel staff, which were pretty good but it was interesting to hear so may people speaking in English.

Amazing the next day the sun was shining, so decided it would be a good day to walk up to the castle and the Fisherman Bstillion. It's quite a steep rise so I was happy when I got to the top. The views of the Dunabe and of Budapest were pretty good, afer wandering around the castle for a bit I started heading across to the rest of the settlement up there. Its the first time i've seen a building covered in bullet holes and what I can only assume to be a mini cannonball shot. Then it was across to Fisherman's Bastillion, which is just amazing when your there and puts Disney to shame for trying to copy it! I was having that good a day I even ventured into a church, the Matthius Church, where a my own we private miracle happened, i learned how to take use my camera in the dark, I was so frigging happy it's only taking me 3 years!!

I then walked for 45mins to the park to the North of the city where they have a memorial for the Jews, pretty spectacular memorial. There was only so much sight seeing I could take for a Saturday so decided to go shopping. Unfortunately the shops had different ideas, all the shops close at 1230 in Hungary, even most of the food shops. I eventually found a Spar, which incidentally was exactly the same as our Liddels. After arriving back one of the girls who works at the hostel was waiting to talk to me as she has never heard a Scottish accent before and wanted know more about Scotland. So after having to explain to here about everything she asked me if we still spoke like Rabbie Burns, well she asked me to read some. It was excruciating, I was so happy when I the ordeal had finished.

Later on, I went out with two english guys and one of the girls they knew. I have never felt that small before. Dean was 6ft2, Nick 6ft3 and Sabreen was the tallest at 6ft4. We were suppose to be going on an organized pub crawl, but we were slightly late for the first one, so we tried to get to te second one, we got there 5mins before hand but none of the organisers showed. We quickly jumped on the metro back to one of the clubs we had seen earlier, it wad under one of the local parks at had a massive glass frontage. The beer there was cheap which is always a good start, we managed to find seats which was quite a feat considering how busy it was. In the background the band started it was straight up Romany Gypsy music and it was pretty good. The down side to this place was that everyone was smoking, since none of us were used to smoking in bars it wasn't long before your eyes were stinging. We left the club after an hour and a bit to try and find another.

The problem with Budapest especially during the winter time is that bars and clubs are hard to find if you don;t know where to go. Nick decided to lead the way, before pretty long we were lost. One bonus was that we found the British Embassy. The embassy had a low barrier around it and some guards protecting it, Sabreen decided that she was going to walk through, even though we'd advise against it. The guard seen her stepping over the barrier and took the time and effort to shout quite loudly at her and motion towards his gun, she quickly took the hint. We wandered for bit and were offered entrance into every seedy tourist bar imaginable bar available. I figured we should just go to the bar we were at the night before. I was given the map and was charged with navigating us to on of them. Fortunately my navigating skills along with my uncanny sense to find a pub we manged to make too one going through the back streets. We made it to Cseudesz and had a couple of jars in there until it closed. It was about half one by then so we decided to call it a night.

The next day I pact my stuff and waited to get the 345Avala to Belgrade, when I git to the train station I noticed the Goblin and her apprentice applying there tricks on a new bunch of new comers to the city.

I wish I had stayed in Budapest longer the hostel and the city were great, it was a excellent way to start the journey off. I have a feeling i'll be back there sometime

Posted by Kickstart 03:08 Archived in Hungary Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The First 36 hrs

Train train train train and train

Edinburgh to Budapest

They always start as you mean to go on....well lets hope not. I hadn't even crossed the door before the first hitch happened. I went round the house for one final look to makes sure that I hadn't missed anything out, the next thing I hear is the door being looked at the car engine started. About 30seconds later the door was opened and I was released, thankfully. Once I was on my way the fun didn't stop there, the traffic on the bridge was pretty bad, I had left with enough time to allow for this but it did mean that we were stopped on the bridge as it swayed to and through in the wind. However even after all that we got to the station in plenty of time.

The Caledonian Sleeper was not as glamorous as I expected. It looked as if it had been cleaned once in it whole life and that was back in 1975. I was given a single seat but soon as the coach had pulled away I dove across to the double seats and tried to create a make shift bed. After a less than perfect sleep I got down to Euston Station. I had wanted to go and find Baker Street to find the illustrious home of Danger Mouse, but the thought of walking 1.6 miles there, and then 1.6 miles back carrying a 40+Kg (ok 20Kg really) didn't appeal to me. I made my way up St Pancrass, which took 5mins. Quite nice building even if it was a bit cold.

My recollection of the Eurostar goes a bit like this: Sat down, sent text and then when i woke i was only ten minutes away from Paris. Arrived in Gard Nord and supposedly its only 5 mins away from Gard Est. I had even followed it on Google Maps, however me being me, I left by a different exit so what should have taken five mins turned into a half hour march around Paris. I found it in plenty of time and so waited for my train to Strasbourg. It was on TGV, now thats what you call a train!! i'm not a trainspotter but these things have everything from Wifi to canteen to very comfy seats, but the best thing about them is that it goes so fast that you don't have to focus on anything before its gone.

At Strasbourg had a bit of a wait before the train so I went for a wonder. It's strange how nearly every European town looks the same in the dark. Again Strasbourg has a good station and the front is covered in a big bubble. Then it was onto the Strasbourg - Vienna train AKA the Orient Express. It was the first time I had a chance to lie down, but it didn't help. I couldn't sleep so I tried to watch as much as possible out the window but it was too dark. In the morning I was wakened with the chap on my door saying that my tea and rolls were ready.

I didn't really give much thought to Vienna, I just had an urge to go to Budapest, so thats what I done. Went up to the travel desk and asked for the next train to Budapest, viola it was done. It wasn't till I was on the train I realised I knew nothing about Budapest what money they used, if accommodation was cheap, if it was an easy city to get around and most importantly did I need a visa. Fortunately all the answers were in my favour.

Posted by Kickstart 01:46 Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Preperations, the mental battle and the realisation

Just about there

I've been planning this trip for months now I can just about tell you every train and bus I need to get down to India and nearly every single detail about the trip. However, it wasn't until Sunday when I was starting to pack my backpack that it finally hit me, and what I am hopefully about to achieve. It’s always been one of my dreams to do this, but at the same time I’m also think “….aawww crap…” I think once I’m on the road it will settle me down a bit.

I have now packed and re-packed my backpack 3 times now, doesn’t matter what I do I still seem to have more chargers and adapters than I do of everything put together, which I suppose you can argue is not really in the backpacking ethos.

In the first 30hrs of the trip I’ve to cover 1,200 mile by train, taking me from Edinburgh to Vienna. On the train down to London I’ll doubt I’ll be sleeping from excitement. After that the next chance I get for a decent sleep (I hope) will be 8 o'clock that night.

The next key date after that is to get to Iran by the 4th of February. Considering I allowed myself 2weeks to get down to Iran I, which I thought was plenty of time. I was quite unhappy when I realized that the journey from Istanbul to Tehran lasts 70 hours!! I’ll tell you now I can’t wait for that one!! It also means that there will be little time for sight seeing in the Balkans, or Turkey.

I then have 14days in Iran to have some fun and be sober. The next biggy will be the Iran to Pakistan crossing, which in all fairness; I’m not looking forward to. I have spoken to people who have traveled through the region and they say its fine but I’ll think I’ll leave up to my judgment when I get to it. This could possibly be my first flight.

Posted by Kickstart 21:27 Archived in Scotland Tagged preparation Comments (0)

The Trip

What I plan to do

THE TRIP:

The idea is to get around the world with out taking a flight........yes that's what I said. To make it more managable, well for my head anyway, i've split it into two journeys. The first Journey is to get from Scotland down to Australia/ New Zealand. i'm hoping I will be able to get a tourist work visa when i'm there to help rebuild my cash.

The second part is a bit more complicated, as in, I will have to cross the Pacific Ocean by boat, yacht, cargo ship or dinghy, somehow I think the dinghy is the most likely. Once across to the other side the plan is to travel around the coast of the South Americas before heading upto Brazil, and then charging into the Amazon. How i get through to Mexico is a different matter and probably the worrying. (just search the Darrien Gap) Once in the US or Canada i will be in time for a ship crossing the ocean.

It's so simple isn't it :)

In the first part of the trip I will travel 18,500miles, cross 21 borders (to Darwin, Australia), encounter more than 10 languages, 18+ types of currency, and probably gubbed about half my wait in anti-malaria tablets. Hopefully this should allow me to be in Australia by November/ December this year. At least for my second part of my trip I only need to know Portuguese and Spanish.

I don't just plan to move from place to place everyday so if you have any suggestions for where to go and what to do, then e-mail

Cheers

Posted by Kickstart 20:26 Archived in Scotland Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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