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Bam! Budapest!

CZECH REPUBLIC | Tuesday, 7 October 2014 | Views [363]


My last entry ended qite abruptly, for which I apologise. Got distracted by things to do. No shortage of things to do in Prague, that's for sure!

I left off talking about the trip to Kutna Hora - a strange little town with some cool things to see. The ossuary is the real highlight - sculptures and such made from human bones! I haven't been psting photos, and I know I should. But what can I say? I'm more of a wordy person. Anyway, the ossuary was awesome and the other churches and cathedrals were nice too. The trip there was confusing - involving changing trains and suchlike.

The ride home was much easier, with no changing of trains! The Czech railway system takes a while to get used to! But with practice, it starts to make sense. At least it feels safe, which is a good thing.

Anyway, Friday was my host's day off, so we spent some time out and about. I'm sorry to say that I've managed to lose track of the exact sequence of events, but on Friday (I think!), we went out to a place on the northern edge of the city to do some dog-walking. There's a dog shelter out there and my host is nuts about dogs. Really nuts. Obsessed is probably not a strong enough word... So we went there and met some dogs, all of whom were very nice and very much in need of attention. We took 3 dogs out for a long walk and generally had a great time in the fine but slightly overcast weather. From there, we began an epic adventure to find a climbing gym that's located somewhere out near the airport. Getting there was a mission! On the way, we passed a trio of junkies on the steps of an overpass bridge, one of whom had a needle sticking out of his arm as we walked by. That's a first for me. Never seen that before! Not scary, but somewhat shocking. This then is the real Prague. I'm guessing most tourists don't see that. We eventually found the climbing place, after some disorientation. One of those moments when you think you're lost, but then it turns out you're not. Love those moments - it's a vindication of my own internal naviagation system!

The climbing was great, but they are really only set up for lead climbing - that's all they do here in Europe, so I had to teach my host to belay for lead climbs, then secure the rope at the top so she could top-rope climb the same wall. We had a great time, though she's not such a strong climber and we didn't spend as long there as I would have liked. We returned to her flat quite late. We had a most excellent dinner at an Italian restaurant, where I had probably the best gnocchi I've ever eaten. Truly spectacular! "Quattro formaggio" is about all the cheese I can handle... except for cheesecake as dessert!

The next day we didn't do much. We planned our trip to Cesky Krumlov and walked up the hill from her place to get some spectacular views of the city. It's a hard walk if you try to do it quickly! Worth it once you get to the top though.

On Sunday, we caught the bus to Cesky to see what all the fuss is about. And the honest answer is... we never found out. It's pretty and it's small. But if there were no tourists, it would be dead. It's really a one-day stop, unless the weather is fine, in which case you could go out into the hills for some hiking, or raft the river through town. However, for us, the weather was cold and overcast. We arrived around midday and were met by the owner of the Penzion with whom we had booked our stay. He was a nice guy, and his little place was really nice. We quickly dumped our bags and went into the town centre. Four-and-a-bit hours of walking later, we really felt we'd seen everything. There were some tours we didn't do, and some museums we skipped. Perhaps we could have investigated those. But the town as a whole just felt like a movie set. There was something two dimensional and artificial about the place. It was sad. Perhaps our expectations were too high. The food, however, was great! I feel like I've spent so much time eating... It would be worrying if I didn't enjoy it so much.

The next day in Cesky, we decided we were done and caught a much earlier bus than we'd intended. The upside of this was that I had a whole afternoon to do souvenir shopping for those back home who require such things. As well, I got some domestic tasks done and had a chance to relax and chill out. Much needed! This has been a pretty intense journey so far. And finally, I rolled out about 10.30pm to get the night train to Budapest.

That particular trip was horrendous. Obviously I cheaped out and bought a second-class ticket, so there was no lying down to be done. Over the course of an eight-hour journey, my ticket was checked 4 times. I really couldn't get any proper sleep, so I arrived here in Budapest feeling like hell. My neck hurts, my throat hurts, I have a mild headache and I'm my back feels stretched like a drum skin! A shower and a few coffees has superficially fixed that, but my original plan for a 10.30am city tour was pure fantasy. Instead, I'm melting into the couch of a super-excellent hostel near the city centre. I'm not certain, but I think I may be the only guest here. Certainly a lot of people have checked out this morning. This could be the peace and quiet I need! So I'm going to nap for a while - 1 hour max! - then get organised for the 2.30pm city tour. I'll need to grab lunch first, of course.

Let's see if I can get another update done before it's time for me to go home - there's a lot to do here!


Tags: budapest, cesky krumlov, overnight train, train

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