Wednesday, 13th August – Budapest to Bratislava

Whilst we could have easily stayed in Budapest the journey had to go on, so after a well deserved sleep in and a huge home cooked breakfast we dragged our feet and reluctantly said goodbye to Budapest. Our destination was Bratislava the capital of Slovakia.

Firstly though we had a quick detour to Szentendre, a cute little town on the banks of the Danube River.IMG_4348IMG_4351

Research had identified that there was a strange Marzipan Museum and for some reason Keith was keen to go and see it. It was an odd little place, however we did have to admit that considering everything was made from Marzipan the art work was pretty good. You’ll recall the Parliament Building we saw in Budapest, well check out its replica!

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It was a tiny town so after morning tea we continued to make our way towards Bratislava. Often we’ll be driving along somewhere on a back road, come around a bend and there is something amazing we could never have expected. Today we saw the hugest building in the distance, it looked amazing and so we decided to detour and try and find it. How lucky that we did as what we had stumbled upon was the Esztergom Basilica.

At 114 metres in length and at a height of 100 metres The Esztergom Basilica is the third largest church in Europe, surpassed only by St Peter’s in Rome and St Paul’s in London. Not only is the building itself incredible, the church interior is amazing, some of the best artwork and sculptures we’ve seen to date. In fact above the alter the piece Assumption of Mary, is the world’s largest altarpiece, painted on a single piece of canvas.

To give you an idea of how large the building is, you can see Keith hugging a column for scale.IMG_4480IMG_4436IMG_4469IMG_4466IMG_4441IMG_4456 IMG_4454

The Basilica is located at the top of a very high hill, overlooking the town of Esztergom. The views were just awesome. You can see in the picture below the bridge that actually forms the Hungarian/Slovakian border. About halfway along the bridge it’s signposted that you’ve entered Slovakia.IMG_4422

We eventually made it to Bratislava, checked into the hotel and headed across the road to a Brewery (so very convenient) for dinner.

2014 European Adventure Hungary Slovakia

Tuesday, 12th August – Budapest (At night)

On the way back to the apartment we had a couple more stops to make on the Pest side.

St Stephen’s Basilica is a Catholic Church named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary. Another amazing church with the most incredibly decorated ceilings.

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Virtually everywhere you look in Budapest there is an amazing building or statue to look at, this is part of a journey you can’t plan. The walk back to the apartment took much longer than it should have because we just kept stumbling across amazing things. Including the Book Cafe Lotz Terem, looks like a normal book shop until you go to the cafe on the top floor!

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Finally reached the apartment, in time for a quick shower and then off we went to our night cruise on the Danube. We made it just in time for the 8pm cast off, it was only an hour long cruise but the beauty of it was that we went in a loop and were lucky enough to see the progressive lighting up of the city. We thought Budapest was amazing by day, we were blown away by how different it looks by night. The lights on the old buildings were amazing giving the buildings the impression that they were made from gold!

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What an incredibly huge day, we didn’t want it to end. We have absolutely fallen in love with this city and could have stayed forever.

2014 European Adventure Hungary

Tuesday, 12th August – Budapest (The Buda Side)

Ok so we walked across the Chain Bridge to the Buda side and consulted the map, the majority of what we wanted to see was up a very huge hill, we could either spend an hour walking up the hill or take a 5 minute taxi – no brainer we got the cab!

We reached our first destination the Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. The Bastion was a huge castle surrounding the Church. The views from the top of the hill over to the Pest side were incredible. We had a good look around the Bastion including the statue of St Stephen.

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By this stage it was definitely time for a beer/cider and a bite to eat. We decided to be massive tourists and eat at the cafe in front of the Matthias Church for two good reasons, one because this guy was playing the most awesome instrument (a type of chordophone called a Cimbalom – it just looks like an open piano where instead of hitting keys the player uses beaters to hit the strings) and two because of the incredible view!

We scored a table by the window and just stared at the view, it was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments.

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After outstaying our welcome at the prized window table for nearly an hour (there’s only so long you can stretch out a beer, a cider and a shared panini), we lined up paid our entry into the church and had a look through. The stained glass windows were fantastic, and at first it was a bit overwhelming, hard to know where to start!

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We spent the rest of the day wandering around this side of the city, there was heaps to see and many beautiful buildings and parks to take in, including the Budapest History Museum.IMG_4087IMG_4080IMG_4074IMG_4069IMG_4067IMG_4089IMG_4065IMG_4064

We’d been walking around for six hours by this stage and had plans for the night so decided to head back to the apartment.

2014 European Adventure Hungary

Tuesday, 12th August – Budapest (The Pest Side)

After a really nice relaxing evening we woke up feeling super refreshed and excited to explore!

Our day in Budapest was so huge, so we’ve split it into three parts.

The city of Budapest is split in half by the Danube River. The west bank of the river is the Buda side – the older and more historic side. The east bank is the home of the Pest (pronounced Pesht) side which is the newer side housing the political and business side of the city. Together, the city is called Budapest.

We started exploring the Pest side first, starting with the train station and then parliament, along the Danube past the Margaret Bridge.

Train Station:

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Margaret Bridge:IMG_3774

We had heard that the Parliament Building was amazing, but were definitely not prepared for the size of it! It was huge and so beautiful. We took ages walking around its perimeter and having a good look at the gothic architecture.

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We continued our walk along the Danube until we reached the Chain Bridge. By this stage we had already seen a hint of what was to come on the Buda side of the city. These photos were taken on the bridge as we walked across.

The bridge itself was incredible, everything in Budapest seems to be on a massive scale we felt very small as we walked across it taking in the view, enjoying the beautiful breeze. It sounds like a movie and we felt like we were in a fairy tale. This city has an incredibly happy feel to it and we found ourselves grinning like fools at each other and well.loving our life sick!

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This was shaping up to be one of the more memorable days of our European adventure.

2014 European Adventure Hungary

Monday, 11th August – Roznava to Budapest

It’s close to a month and a half since we started this journey and if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know that we haven’t rested for a second, but have been going full on the whole time.

Today we decided that we were just getting burnt out.

We slept in, left at a reasonable hour and then took the shortest route possible from Roznava to Budapest. Arriving in Budapest around 1pm we had some lunch at a nearby pub and checked in to our AirBnb apartment. We did some washing, shopping and by the time we had done this, it was getting well into the evening.

The executive decision was made to catch up on admin and have an early night – that way, we could manage a full day seeing as much of Budapest as possible the next day.

Because of this, we actually didn’t take any photos at all, so there are none to post! However, we’ll more than make up for it tomorrow – we promise!

2014 European Adventure Hungary Slovakia