A journey across 3 countries

Trip Start Apr 30, 2011
Trip End Jun 21, 2011

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Sunday, June 12, 2011

  We left Krakow an hour ago and traveled a short distance on the "motorway"  A4 autobahn.  Now we are on country roads, heading south on our journey to Budapest, Hungary.  The southern part of Poland is lovely, as the flat, drab war ravaged landscape gives way to green, rolling hills, new home construction with the use of bright, happy colors and the start of the Tatra Mountains.  Today is Pentecost and we just went through a small town with a church that was bursting its seams and then some.  The people were standing outside because all the seats inside were taken.  A sight seldom seen in the States.  (when we toured Jasna Gora, I was struck by the number of people in the church-hundreds- STANDING ...no pews just standing and many were kneeling on hard marble floors- no kneelers-).  
  We are steadily climbing in altitude and it is very picturesque to see quiet villages nestled into the valleys.  This is a popular skiing area in the winter and much cheaper than Austria.  Some of the homes are 3 and 4 stories high and the upper floors are rented out during ski season.  An occasional alpine home is seen but ALL the homes have brightly colored metal roofs- mostly red but also blue, green, yellow, black, brown and gray- can be seen.
    We just crossed into Slovakia and stopped again for a bus sticker.  We exchanged our Polish money for Hungarian money-- I gave them $60. and she gave me $3500.!!!!!
   The population of Slovakia is 5 million and they just recently joined the EU.  We are not staying in Slovakia, just passing through.  It appears to be mostly rural-- lots of farmland and cows.  Most factories closed in 1989.  They bale their hay and then stack it into large piles in the fields and it looks like giant mushrooms.  Some are tented so the middle is hollow and open to air.
     After 7 hours, we are finally in Hungary.  Budapest was originally 2 separate cities  -Buda and Pest-- with a river dividing them.  But in 1875, they combined to form one large city  -Budapest- a city now with 2 million people.  Buda is the hilly side where we are staying and Pest is the older, flat side of the river (east).  

   We just returned from a really lovely evening river boat cruise down the Danube River.  It is a beautiful evening and Budapest is really a lovely city.  The illumination of all the historic buildings was beautiful.  A definite highlight of our trip!!!!!
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