School-like Shinanigans

Trip Start Jun 12, 2007
Trip End Jul 23, 2007

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Well the trip to Budapest was long and quite boring, but it had one plus point, it ended eventually. We also got pestered on the train to pre-book some accomodation which we gladly took up, where upon we were whisked away in a minivan (meaning it took about 15 mins to get going) to our hostel, but it turned out it was fully booked. This was slightly predictable as the girl on the train had simply written on a piece of paper, but it didn't make us less annoyed at the trek through town to the other hostel which the people in the first hostel booked for us. When we finally arrived we dumped our bags and set off on a voyage of discovery Pest, the part of the city on the east of the river. We saw Parliament and Heroes Square and also walked past the zoo. Then we found an amzingly cheap Chinese buffet where we ate some lovely food. Sure it was MSG laden, but it was gooood. After this we exhaustedly crawled off to bed for a normal start time the next day.

It started off with a dirt cheap bowl of goulash and some fresh bread, which was tasty and filling, although immediatey afterwards I had a craving for fruit so we crossed over to Buda, stopping at a musical fountain in the middle of the river (it danced to classical music). After fruit, we coffeed and then after our relaxing break we did the exercise that should probably have gone before it, an arduous climb up the hill to the castle. It was quite nice up the top and the ramparts held some paticularly picturesque views over the city, but the best part was a strange little market where the star buy was a "secret" box, all of which had exactly the same way to open them! We then sauntered down the other side of the hill, and trekked up another to visit the citadel, with some even better views. I also managed to lose my wallet about halfway down, as I discovered at the top, so I actually covered about 1 and a half the hill's height in climbing. I didn't lose it though. We then wandered around Pest for the remainder of the day and bought something we thouhgt was mac and cheese in a tin. It wasn't but we ate it anyway, with some gherkins to wash it down. No comments about our diet as its not always this bad. The day was finished off with table tennis and foosball.

We said goodbye to Budapest the next day and boarded a train bound for Prague, which went through Bratislava, where we picked up Dave and Lucy again. The train journey was even longer, involving a 70 minute stop in a field, but we played games and the time flew by. We arrived and were assaulted by a heaving mass of touts for hostels which we ignored and went in search of another hostel. Which we didn't see through and instead went to a hostel booker in another train station. This actually turned out to be a good thing as we ended up staying in a school. My bed was actually on the teachers podium at the front of the class. That night we went out for dinner and beers and had a brief look at the town, but didn't do all that much.

Sightseeing took up much of the next day, with all the main sights hit: Prague castle (quite a standard castle), an art gallery (Dali exhibit, was pretty decent), Karlov Moste (an old bridge, was lovely), Tesco for lunch, Communist museum (Very fun, informative and with highly amusing faux propaganda). The highlight was undoubtedly the Communist museum for me; it made me laugh, one slogan was "There is no toilet paper in the shops, but luckily there is not much food", and cry, a video depicting the protests against the regime. Evening entertainment was drinking a whole host of beers at the hostel, all different types, and rating them against each other, followed by a horrendously cheesy and ultimately awesome club, where we danced into the wee hours.

The morning after dawned, and we were all hideously achy and dehydrated, but we still managed to fit in a day trip to Pilsen, the birthplace of lager. First off we climbed the church tower, exactly 301 steps, and surveyed the slightly dull town. We stumbled upon an open photo exhibit afterwards, that I had seen once before outside the Natural History Museum. It was as good as before and had a few additions. The final thing of the day was the beer museum, a strange hybrid of old brewery, museum, curio gallery and pub. Obviously we had a sample of the local brew, which was delightful. We decided to get an early night in as we were leaving the next day.

We seperated the next day, as we ventured on to Krakow, and they went on to Berlin. I enjoyed my first ever sit down meal on a train, and I have to say it is quite a memorable experience, watching the scenary go past as you scarf down "Grandmas" potato soup. We arrived quite late into Krakow and departed into the rain...
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joshjpalmer on

Re: evening all
I'm not afraid to say that you are definately in the right. It's pretty much entirely me, although occasionally I'll stick one of John's comments in. Itinerary from here is (presuming you've read up to Berlin) is Dusseldorf tommorow, then Amsterdam for 6 days. Our flight back is to Gatwick South Terminal, arriving at 9:05 am on the 23rd July. I'll leave the rest up to John.

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