Bratislava, Ezstergom, Budapest and Prague
Trip Start Mar 17, 2007
17Trip End Ongoing
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Bratislava was the first Eastern European country we visited. And it fit in the image that we had in our minds of Eastern Europe. The old and new, ugly and beautiful, good and bad, modern and historical, rich and poor were side by side, hand in hand. It showed all the signs of a country that was developing so fast that most of its people just could not keep up with the pace. The roads were terrible but Cadillac and Porshe dealers seemed to do very well. The downtown was beautiful but the high prices made it available only to Westerners, the locals were nowhere to be found. Btw, these are only my -Gizem- thoughts. Bryan does not have much memories of Bratislava, because he was blind folded throughout our stay - I have never seen so many beautiful women concentrated in one place
Hungary on the other hand, seems to have adopted better. They have adopted the good things about the Western world but managed to keep the good ole ways. It is not tourist ridden like the Western European countries and people do not look at you and see a bunch of dollar bills walking around. Ezstergom, the religious center of the Empire, was quaint and interesting. Budapest was beautiful in a very subtle, humble and discreet way. Having been destroyed, ruled and dominated by Mongols, Turks, Nazis and communists throughout the history, the nation had to rebuild everything -roads, buildings and confidence- from scratch over and over again. Our lucky star must have been shining in Budapest, because Szophie from Servas opened her grandmothers house which was stark in the middle of downtown Budapest and let us stay there for the duration of our stay, six days. In return, we washed and hung her curtains. It was a great proposition since the apartment had really high ceilings so Bryan had to do all the work while I ate sun flower seeds and chatted with Szophia. Being short has its advantages.
Prague.... WOW! Talking about ending the trip with a bang. We have never seen anything quite like it. Every street, every corner of this city is impecable. It looks like a city that the elves in the Lord of The Rings would build. It is proud, lovely, cute and most important of all they have the best beer. Cheap too. What else can you ask for?
In a couple of days, we will be in Turkey. This trip has been everything that we expected and hoped for and then some. And it just would no be the same without Servas, the organization that allowed us to stay with host families all around Europe
We just visited the John Lennon wall in Prague. One graffiti on the wall summed up one of the most important things that we have learned on this trip. Just check out the picture in Prague.
After 3600 km on saddles, several punctures, lots of rain, some snow and hail, some heat and sweat, funny sun tans in shape of cycling jerseys and shorts, going up the hills, breaking speed limits on downhills, meeting great people, seeing great places and not so great places but still great people, we have had blast.
Love and peace,
Gizem and Bryan