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Bohemian Trek - Austria

Busbabout adventure

sunny 26 °C
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Day 4 continued - We said farewell to the picturesque Bled at around lunch time and headed for Salzburg, Austria. This night was also amazing! It was a real highlight to go to a schnapps farm for dinner which is run by a local family. It started off with home brewed cider outside watching the sun set over the farm horizon and playing with the kids on the swings. We then moved inside for the feast of all feasts! We were able to drink as much of the schnapps as we liked and dinner was freshly made bread, salad, roast veg and the best ribs ever. There was a guy on our tour, whose name escapes me, who took on the challenge to break the record of the number of ribs eaten by a person on a Busabout tour. He was a tiny guy so we were amazed at how he managed to consume 21 ribs (as well as the veg and salad!) and take the Rib-King crown.

Personally I think I managed about 5 before I felt like I was going to explode. As you could imagine after hours of ‘free’ schnapps, the trip on the way back to the hotel was a party bus. We had the music cranked and everyone was having such a good time.

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We also stocked up on Mozart's balls for the next leg of the trip. :D

Posted by KylieClark 12:50 Archived in Austria Tagged austria salzberg schnapps busabout Comments (0)

Bohemian Trek- Czech Republic

Busabout adventure

sunny 34 °C
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Day 5: Flash Forward to 10am the next morning and the bus was eerily silent with many sore heads Haha. After spending the day checking out the town of Salzberg while others went on The Sound of Music Tour, we drove a couple of hours crossing the Danube Valley and arrived in Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic).
..and made a switch to another currency – the Czech Crown.

Cesky Krumlov is kind of like being in a fairy tale. Actually – much like many of the towns in Eastern Europe. They all have so much character, history and amazing architecture.

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Tonight I sampled some traditional Czech cuisine at the Eggenberg Brewery - Svičková (read “svitch-co-va”) which is a really weird mix of meat, a gravy-like sauce with whipped cream and cranberry sauce. This came with a side of Knedliky- which are either wheat or potato flour dumplings that are boiled in water as a roll and then sliced and served hot. Hmmm interesting, but certainly far from a favourite.

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Day 6: We headed towards medieval Prague.
Our hostel was a little way out of town so a quick lesson in how to buy tickets and use the tram was in order. This lesson also included a reminder to not J-walk across roads whilst in Prague unless we were ready to pay a hefty fine.

The two things that stood out once I entered into the old town square of Prague were the giant astronomical clock that took prime position overlooking everything and a gothic looking building that I assumed was Edward Scissorhand’s holiday house. The clock was first installed in 1410 making it the 3rd oldest in the world and the oldest one that’s actually still working. At 2pm everyday it puts on a display kind of like a cuckoo clock and there is a guy that plays the trumpet from the turret. This is prime time for pickpockets as everyone is looking up, thankfully none of us fell victim.

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I learnt that the gothic building was in fact not the residence of Edward Scissorhands but the Tyn Church that was first constructed in the 14th century!

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A few of us decided to go on the free walking tour around town but most of us didn’t make the whole 3 hours as it was about 33 degrees and all we want to do was sit down in the shade and stop sweating.

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In the evening we all got together in the dark, behind some big trees outside of the Plus Prague hostel restaurant and passed around the left over bottles of schnapps that Carla and Nathan (bus driver) bought for us in Salzberg. hahaha. classy.

(.....more on Prague later as I revisit later on!)

I said cheers and farewell to my Bohemian Trek family as the whirlwind week ended only to start the next part of the Trek with a new busload of people in the morning.

Posted by KylieClark 13:07 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague busabout czechrepublic ceskykrumlov bohemian Comments (0)

Rhapsody Trek- Czech Republic

Busabout Adventure

28 °C


Day 1: 6 July -. Prague- Olomouc, Czech Republic

I met up with Cara (a fellow trip mate from my Wales tour back in May!) at the Plus Prague hostel and was introduced to Heather who happened to be Cara’s hostel roommate and became the third member of what we coined ‘the dream team’ later on in the week…

First up we met our guide and driver – Mel and Steve – and fellow bus mates (after I chuckled at the Busabout bus which I identified as a Contiki bus just with the Busabout logo stuck over the top! – Classy). Haha it was actually a really good set up with several seats in the bus turned around backwards with tables in between making groups of four. This was much more social than staring at the back of the seat in front of you. Our bus wasn’t full so Cara and I got a 4 seater area to ourselves! Winning already!

We went on our merry way for a couple of hours and then ended up at a church made entirely of human bones in an area called Hutna Kora. It was amazingly gruesome. It was said to contain the bones of up to 70 000 people. As well as a full sized chandelier, there were strings of skulls and bones hanging from the ceiling, skull candelabras, and a display case showing skulls with wounds inflicted by various mediaeval weapons, An interesting addition was the coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family, especially the segment depicting a raven picking the eye from an invading soldier. If you’re going to depict a raven eating somebody’s eye, what more appropriate medium could there be, right?
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We ended the day in Olomouc – quite possibly the most boring of places visited to date. I’m pretty sure all we saw here was an astronomical clock and the St Wenceslas cathedral in which a few of us quite comedic-ly burst into song about “good King Wenceslas went to town….” Most of us found a café and promptly ate icecream until we were meant to meet up with Mel in the evening.

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This is when Mel promptly told us nicely to stop whinging and follow her for a trek in the dark. She wouldn’t tell us where we were going, only that we would be impressed. After 20 mins or so we stumbled out of the bushes and looked up in awe of a full sized 747 plane that had been converted into a night club! Despite the need for Europeans to smoke everywhere they can, this was definitely a novel surprise and experience!!

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Posted by KylieClark 11:03 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague olomouc czechrepublic Comments (0)

Rhapsody Trek - Poland

Busabout Adventure

sunny 37 °C
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Day 2: 7 July- Olomouc – Krakow, Poland

Today we visited Auschwitz and the Birkenau concentration camps. You learn about these places in school history lessons… but until you are standing in a barn in the middle of a field in the stifling heat listening to the tragic stories of those sentenced to the concentration camps you don’t really get what it may have been really like… and what we experienced on this day didn’t even come close.

Seeing the piles and piles of discarded shoes, hairbrushes, glasses, suitcases and personal possessions left behind by those told to “have a shower” before unknowingly being ushered through to the gas chambers was very sobering. Especially the collection of all of the victim’s hair that had been shaven off. 1 million, 100 thousand people were killed in Auschwitz – 90% of them being Jews – over the 5 years it was in operation.
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It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth at how humans can be so savage.

By the evening we had made our way to the amazing city that is Krakow. Krakow was one place that was lucky enough to escape the destruction of World War II. It is packed with attractive historic buildings and streetscapes and lots of colour! The medieval square was buzzing with activity, stilt walkers and ponies, markets and kidlets.
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Day 3: 8 July- Krakow
We got to see more of this amazing place by bike, visiting the Jewish quarter, Castle District and historical Old Town.
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We also had an optional visit to the Salt Mines. This wasn’t all it was cracked up to be as none of us could hear or really understand the guide, and a bunch of us got the giggles at the most inappropriate times. It was amazing to be so far underground though and see what people can carve into the saltstone. I was brave and licked the wall it was ah…. Salty – I chose to neglect the knowledge of how many people would have done this before me. :-/

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Day 4: 9 July- Krakow- Zakopane
We’re still in Poland – I like this country. Today we are in Zakopane (Zach-o-parn- e) in the stunning Tatra mountains. This would be a beautiful place to visit in the winter as well as there are many alpine trees, and great slopes to ski on.

There are a lot of things to do outdoors here. So I am really glad we are here in the summer as well. There are many hiking trails, cable cars, a funicular and even a luge!
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I felt like the guys from Cool Runnings, man.
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The dream team decided to hike back down a mountain after visiting the markets and hub of activity at the top. We saw some amazing views.
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WARNING vegetarians look away!
Tonight we were taken to an unbelievable meat feast! I have never seen so much meat in one place in all of my life. I am pretty sure no one slept soundly this night due to all the stomach gurgling.

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Posted by KylieClark 11:28 Archived in Poland Tagged poland zakopane krakow nazi concentrationcamp Comments (0)

Rhapsody Trek - Hungary

Busabout Adventure

sunny 27 °C
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Day 5: 10 July- Zakapane- Budapest, Hungary (via Slovakia)
We are off to Budapest today with only a quick stop over in Slovakia for lunch. We are all really disappointed that we can’t go on the Tank ride because it was in for repairs – the one thing Carla (guide from last tour) told me that I shouldn’t miss of any of the optional extras offered - Hmmmm it seems I was the only one on the bus that admired the scenery instead….

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During the drive, George got cozy with Ranga after he got changed into his leathers! (Ranga changed his outfit throughout the trip to reflect the country that we were visiting).
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a quick language lesson... Busabout_Rhapsody__309.jpg

On arrival into Budapest, we all became instant millionaires as we switched to the Hungarian Florint and lived it up drinking wine and eating more traditional food that was kind of like potato gnocci.

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After dinner we took a cruise down the Danube river. This was an amazing way to see the city at night. So many pretty lights.
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Day 6: 11 July- Budapest.
Today was a free day to do with as we pleased. A group of us got on the hop on hop off bus around the city and also hit the pavement to see the city by foot.
We went into the Terror Museum. This was all about the soviet union and Nazi ruling. All the information in the exhibits was in Hungarian except for some info sheets in each section that were in English. This ended up being a lot of reading that I didn’t enjoy so much.

We wandered back a forth over the Chain Bridge that links Buda and Pest (East and west). At the time of its construction it was regarded as an engineering wonders. I ended up dancing on the side of the bridge after 4 Hungarians asked us if we would join them as they were filming a clip for their uni assignment. Everyone else chickened out so I did it on my own while the rest of my group watched!! So I’m famous in some Hungarian video clip somewhere! Haha.
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Me standing inbetween Buda and Pest!
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After all the dancing, walking and sightseeing we joined the bigger group for a swim in the Szechenyi Thermal Baths. Ah-mazing! The Szechenyi bath is the largest in Europe and its water is supplied by two thermal springs (naturally warmed up to 77 °C!). The pools aren’t that hot though with the different areas being between 27- 38 °C.
Surprisingly having a big communal bath in naturally warmed spring water was very therapeutic.

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Day 7: 12 July- Budapest. The whole Rhapsody trek continues through to Croatia but Cara and I waved goodbye to our new friends after breakfast today as our leg of the organized trip came to an end. Our seats on the bus were already shot-gunned by the remaining members of the dream team (Cara and I did have the best seats afterall!). It was a bit sad actually waving goodbye to our new friends as they carried on with their own merry journeys. I was a bit jealous actually as I wasn’t returning to Croatia (loved it there!).

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The "Dream team" Me, Heather, Cara, Simon, Alison, Katie

Nevertheless, for the next week Cara and I hung around Budapest and surrounds eating as much falafel as we could and visiting the likes of Memento Park and trying to figure out if we went to the movies would we be able to understand it. Haha

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A week was way too long to stay here and we were a bit over it by the time the final leg of the trip commenced back to London.
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I did, however, manage to pick up the most amazingly relevant tshirt for this whole entire experience. Rock Paper Scissors rocks!

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Posted by KylieClark 11:51 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest hungary busabout Comments (0)

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