The home journey ……. Two days of travel, Australia is a long way …..

Saturday morning we reluctantly left our pad in beautiful Buda-Pest around 11:00am to make our way over to the Budapest Fertihegy airport, we had a long wait for our flight to Franfurt which was at 7:00pm, then less than 2 hours later we were there.   Frankfurt airport is so big, probably 15 times the size is Sydney, it was a long walk over to where we had our connecting flight.  We  waited at Frankfurt 2 hours then the night flight of 12 hours to Singapore.  We arrived at the massive Changi Airport late afternoon then waited another two hours for our once again evening flight to Sydney, finally arriving in Sydney at 6:00am, a bit chilly but great to be back in Australia ……..

Waiting, flying, arriving……… Budapest airport, Frankfurt airport ….

Arriving Singapore, the mighty Changi Airport ( Singapore )


Then finally touchdown in Sydney ……… This is a double decker Airbus, we were on the top level, a great smooth landing by the pilots ……..

And to end this 2016 Europe trip blog ………. What we saw, what we think about the trip this year ……..

  We travelled through 17 different countries on this 3 month trip, …………….   Singapore,  Spain,  Gibraltar,  Portugal, France,  United Kingdom,  Norway,  Sweden,  Denmark,  Estonia,  Russia,  Finland,  Germany,  Luxembourg,  Switzerland, Austria and  Hungary ………          

Some cities for only a few hours or a day, some for a week or longer, we found that about 4 days in a city is enough to get a feel for the place and visit the main attractions, walk or cycle around enough to say you have experienced the way of life.   

Their was not one country, city or region  that was better than the last, some place are not quite what you expect, some are more than you expect.   As we did last year, we explored much on foot, this year we used push bikes much more and found we were able to see many things in a short space of time, the bikes are definitely the  best transport for seeing a new city.

We met many people of all nationalities, cultures and religions, they were all very friendly and happy to talk freely about themselves and the travels.  People in Europe are fascinated with Australia and the fact that we are travelling so far to visit their country, but most think that Australia is just to far to travel to for a holiday, although most would love to.
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Last days in Budapest then the long flight back to Australia…days 84 and 85.

We spent the last day here in Budapest wandering around over on the Pest side of the city, we got there this time by walking over the Szabadsag Bridge, this is not open to traffic at the moment as they are upgrading all the tram lines over the bridge.  We went again to the large market hall to grab a few things, we then walked back toward the other side and as always fell upon a totally new area we had not seen  before, it was great a we had a coffee and sat back enjoying this vibrant, busy city.   That evening we had dinner at a restaurant in front of St Stephen’s Basilica, a popular restaurant area, busy, as it was Friday night.

   Some photos of today here ……….. 

This is the courtyard of where we are staying, our pad is on the first floor, it was once a very large prtivate home, big enough for your entire family ….

Fascinating buildings all over Budapest …

Quirky window display …..


Sadly, this lady on her knees begging is a common sight in much of Europe ….

Inside the Market Hall in Pest …..

Rita walking over the Danube ….

Beautiful Steel Bridge …

Beautiful Bridge street lamp ….


Seen about in the city ….

Seen around Budapest …

Last evening in Budapest, sitting outsider our pad, up behind us by the Danube ….


Then on Saturday this adventure was coming to an end …….. We left for Budapest airport in the morning, our flight to Frankfurt ( Germany ) was not until 7:00pm.   Continues on next page ……….. 

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A very hot …. Budapest … Tuesday … Wednesday … Thursday …

This morning we headed over to the spot to board the Danude River boat cruise, there are many hundreds of ships, boats, ferries and touring river boats moored all the way along the banks here as Buda-Pest is one of the most visited cities in Europe and especially popular with river cruises.  We found the spot, berth 8A and boarded the boat, only one hour but a great way to see Budapest from the water.  We cruised past all of the major buildings which front the river including the Parliament buildings and also under 4 of the bridges spanning the Danube here.  Great boat trip.   We then once again border the HOHO and went a couple of stops to the new modern building which is to be the home of many newer style shops and eateries, it was pretty quiet here as it is very new, an amazing structure of steel and glass housed / build between two old warehouse buildings.   From here it was only a 5 minutes walk back into the market hall where we got a bit of lunch at the Aldi store underneath, by far the cheapest and most comprehensive  Aldi we have even been into.  We them again boarded the HOHO and did a complete tour of the city for the next couple of hours before heading home.  After dinner we headed out again, this time to do the night HOHO bus trip, but unfortunately we arrived just in time to see the bus drive past us at the designated stop, waved at the driver but he did not see us ??    Not to worry we had entered the fantastic Fisherman’s Bastion area and so spent the next hour or so here looking at the views at night ….. Home again about 10:30pm after a really full day ………

PHOTOS OF TUESDAY’S EXPLORING HERE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Onboard our Danube river cruise ….


We went under all the bridges in Central Buda-Pest on our cruise …

 

 

This is a new shopping complex on the Danube, we saw these figures on the roof, looked funny, it was two people fixing glass !! ….

 

Inside this new complex, locals think it was a waste of money, amazing building, no customers for all the shops and cafes ….

 

Built between two older buildings …

Evenings stroll to ‘Fisherman’s Bastion ‘ on the hill behind our pad … …

 

Wednesday we had a late start as it was a very hot day, the rest of the week is going to be 30* plus days !!!!  We walked across the Chain Bridge and headed towards the Parliament buildings, they are really very stunning from a distance and up close they are even better … After strolling around there for a couple of hours we walked back toward Saint Stephen’s Basilica up a side street and found a Hungarian restaurant for dinner.  The meal was pretty good, after that we bought another gel-ART-o and slowly headed back across the bridge toward home, it is just to hot to be walking long distances.

FEW PHOTOS HERE >>>>>>>>


Then Thursday we once again walked about 9klm skirting the city and checking out Margaret’s Island which is the Budapest Central Park, looking a bit dry though ….. Couple of afternoon and evening time lapse’s are below … It is a very busy river ……. Here in Budapest that’s for sure ……….

Below are a couple of quick time lapse videos taken from our apartment window, afternoon & nightime, a very busy river ..

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The unbelievable city of Budapest ……..

We left Vienna early on Saturday morning for the train trip to Budapest arriving at the new, sleek, modern, well designed Vienna HBF Central train station at 8:30am ready for our 9:30am train. This new station is better than some airports, photos below, and is able to handle up to 1,000 trains per day, it really is the best train station we have seen……

WE arrived at our next apartment, this one for the final week before flying back to Australia next Saturday.  The apartment here was named ‘ Best of Buda ‘ on the Airbnb website as it is situated directly next to the Chain Bridge and opposite the grand Houses of Parliament as well as being right on the banks of the River Danube …. PHOTOS HERE >>>>>>

 

Actual view from our window ….

Just a few hundred metres from our pad …..

Outside the window is River Danube …..

Exterior of the Budapest building we are in ….


We walked across the Chain Bridge on Saturday evening after settling in and took in the sights of Budapest at night, even though it does not get dark until after 10:00pm, looks like another beautiful city to explore.

Next morning we walked around behind where we are staying, which is the bottom station for the Budapest Funicular which takes you up to the main Palace hilltop area.  We spoke to a young girl selling HOHO bus tickets and purchased a ticket which gives us 2 days unlimited HOHO bus ride, a Danube River tour and also a ride up to the top on the Funicular.  We then went up to look around this spectacular hilltop expanse of Palace and other old stone structures as well as to check out the view from the spot.

PHOTOS FROM AFTERNOON ON THE PALACE HILLTOP  AND OTHERS. >>>>>>>> IT WAS A HOT DAY >>>>>>

THE PHOTOS ACTUALLY SHOW HOW HOT IT WAS ………

Funicular up the the Palace …..

Views from above the city on the walls of the Palace …

Building, street & bridge scenes …

Budapest has the most fantastic mix of old buildings ….

Walking home past the base of the Palace hill, even some homeless people have found a place to stay here ….

Huge monument to the fallen soldiers of WW 1 …..

The new underground walkway up to Buda castle …..

Goulash soup & a beer on the way home tonight …..


The next day, Monday,  we once again walked the few hundred metres to our closest HOHO bus stop, we continued on to the Pest Market Hall and looked around there then continued on to a ‘ must see ‘ attraction in Budapest, the Jewish Synagogue.  We purchased a ticket for a guided tour, listened to a man explain the history of the Synagogue, then walked through the as yet unfinished museum.  The Hungarian Jews occupied a large section of the Pest side before and during the second WW, many thousands were killed but many stayed to try to defend their section, the cemetery here is called the Cemetery of the Martyrs…….. It was interesting to see this area of the Pest side of Budapest ….. We finished the day by continuing on the HOHO bus up to the very top of the Buda side, Citadel Hill then back down into the city to marvel at St. Peter’s Basilica, had a different gelato ice cream before walking back across the Chain Bridge and home, a great sight seeing day ……… 

PHOTOS OF MONDAYS ADVENTURE HERE >>>>>>> STILL A VERY HOT DAY >>>>>>>>

Inside the Pest Market Hall …..

Funny signs we spotted …..

The Jewish Synagague …

The grounds of the Jewish Synagogue …..

The spectacular views of Buda-Pest from Citadel Hill ….

The monument up on Citadel hill, looking into the sun >>>>>

St Stephen’s Basilica, an amazing church with a huge plaza in front …

In and outside St Stephen’s Basilica …

New wave Gelato, made like flower petals ? …great brass footpath covers …this guys belly is lucky, who knows …

On the way home… watching Euro cup …someone forgot their bike ..stone building and bridges …

 
BUDAPEST CONTINUED IN NEXT CHAPTER >>>>>>>>>>>>>

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Leaving Hamburg and  off to  Vienna  …….DAY 78 ….. 

Today we left Hamburg for Vienna once again on the ICE fast train.  Dieter & Gabi offered to pick us up at our apartment and drive us to Hamburg HBF train station.  Our train was at 11:01am, we arrived at the station in time at 10:00am and our train at 11:01 was not yet up on the board showing us which platform we would leave from.  I noticed that the same number train was on the board leaving at 10:24am so I went to the busy ticket office to enquired, ( we got caught last year with train cancellations ) they did not know just said wait until the 11:01am comes up, I walked to where the 10:24am train was leaving from and walked down the stairs to ask the conductor lady, sure enough it was our train and about to leave, at the same time Dieter had realised that could be our train as it was showing Munich and said to Rita they should go to the platform.  I ran up the stairs to grab our bags and we barely made the train after saying a very quick goodbye to them, we then had to drag our bags to the other end of the train as our carriage was up there ….. So much for German trains being the most efficient, they probably are but the timetable was a bit confusing.  It was about 4 1/2  hrs to Wurzburg, Germany where we had to change trains to get on the Vienna line, then another 5 1/2 hours to Vienna, finally arriving at Vienna at 9:30pm.  We then had  a very fast, erratic taxi ride to our apartment about 5 klms out of the city, slumped into bed around 11:00pm ………….. Photos of the Vienna pad here >>>>>>

Our very colourful pad in Vienna ….

We only had two full days in Vienna, we were about 8 metro stops from the city centre and our local metro stop was very close.  On  the first day we went into the city and purchased a two day HOHO bus ticket, this also included a one off river boat trip and a walking tour around the Vienna Opera area.  Vienna was having a hot spell and sitting up on top of the HOHO bus was not that great, so after doing a couple of loops we decided to go on the river cruise, found the correct wharf and onto a river boat we went.  We only had what they called a half cruise ticket, no one asked for our ticket so we ended up staying onboard for the complete trip of 3 hours.  We met a few fellow travellers on the river boat, Rita giving her German a good workout with two couples from Cologne, they did not even realise she was from Australia until she told them, they even said she had a Hamburg accent .. after the boat trip we walked around a bit more and after what turned into a fantastic if not very hot day we  headed back to our apartment at around 8:00pm.    As with other large European cities Vienna has so much to see you really need more time here.   

Next day we once again headed into the city, did a loop on the bus to a different parts of the city, had some lunch at the streets side cafe at the Vienna Opera house and went on one hour  walking tour.  The guide only had 3 guests as it was again extremely hot and we nearly cancelled out a couple of times whilst walking.  Many people in central Vienna were just sitting around in the squares drinking and eating ice creams trying to keep cool.  We finally arrived back at our pad around 7:00pm, drained from the heat, we packed ready to leave for Budapest early the next morning …..

OUR PHOTOS OF TWO DAYS IN A VERY HOT VIENNA HERE >>>>>>>>>>

Fresh fruit stall … various monuments in Vienna …

Outside the Vienna National gallery & Museum …. it was feral hot that day !!!

Vienna canal trip …. going for a ride, with my dog, thank you ….

Rita’s German lady frieds, she kept them interested ….. pics from our canal tour …

Vienna, the old & the new …..

Buildings in Vienna… beautiful carriages …. yep ! eating again ….

Lunch outside the Vienna Opera …, who is on soon …

Vienna, well dressed ladies and men, the Paul Gaultier shop ,different ….

Seen in Vienna, pinocchio was there, carriage ride, family outing on & in their pushbikes …..

On our walking tour around Vienna ….. it was really hot !!!!……

AND HERE IS A SMALL VIDEO OUTSIDE THE VIENNA MUSEUM …… 


That’s it from a very hot Vienna ….. Off on a 3 hour train trip to Budapest in the morning >>>>>>

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Back in Hamburg for a few more days ……. 18/06/16

We arrived back in Hamburg from Berlin mid afternoon driving the 300 plus klm through heavy rain at times, our destination Finkenwerder to park at Rita’s cousin Dieter’s home for a couple of nights.   The family were happy to see us, we had a few beers, some evening abentbrod then retired for the night.   Next day Sunday we had arranged to meet Margret in Hamburg at a coffee, beer, food hall which had recently opened next to a very large ex WW II concrete bunker.  We had an enjoyable morning catching up and said our final farewell to Margret, we may not see her again for a while, she is a very generous and kind host, doing everything she can to make you feel comfortable in her home and we thank her, and the Bork family once again for looking after us while we were in Hamburg ….. Let’s hope they can come to Australia one day soon ……  The next day Monday we had to drive into the city to the apartment we had rented, once again through Airbnb in Ottenson, very close to the city centre.  Our Camper was being picked up in the afternoon.  Finding a park for a couple of hours was not easy but luckily we snagged one just 100 mtrs from our new place, we unloaded our Camper and not long after signed it back over to the young driver who was taking it back to Prague …… Thanks Anywhere Campers, we had a great time and having the two bikes were the best way to get around and see what we did in the last two weeks………
PHOTOS OF OUR LAST FEW DAYS IN HAMBURG HERE >>>>>>>>>>

Afternoon cycling in Finkenwerder, Dieter got his bike out !! …

To think this countryside is less than 1klm from the very busy Hamburg harbour , it is so beautiful …. and GREEN …

Abentbrod … street art … street legal quad , why not …

Food vans are huge business in Europe ….This is one of a number of similar bunkers that attemted to protect Hamburg during WW 2…..

Having a coffee in Hamburg … Dieter, Margret, Rita, Gabi ….

Our campsite in Dieter’s backyard in Finkenwerder …


Four views from top of St Michaels church tower .. N.S.E.W….

Walking central Hamburg …

Hamburg city centre ….

Final nights dinner at a traditional Hamburg restaurant …

Hamburg Emblem .. Proud football nation … Rathaus forecourt … The Beatles first played Hamburg Starclub in 1965 …

Below are photos of the fantastic Africa themed apartment we had in Ottenson in Hamburg ……

One of the top places we stayed in through AirBnB on this trip … except it was on the 4th floor ….

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Berlin days 74. and 75  …….

​​​​​​​​​​We arrived in Berlin after two days of driving in very heavy rain, it was still raining in Berlin and finding a Motorhome Park near the city was very difficult.  We finally did find one, the closest to the city sights, it was 20 klm away.  The Camper park was in an old factory grounds in Kopenick in the western side of the city, unusual spot for a van park but we booked in for two nights, rigged up our Camper, jumped on our bikes ( hoping the rain had stopped ) and pedalled the 20 klms into the city of Berlin.  The ride in was great, although so much roadworks we had to go off the cycle paths many times and ride with the traffic.  We finally arrived and looked around, stumbling onto the Berlin Wall as we rounded a corner near the river ……. We stopped, photographed, videoed the wall as it is probably a one time visit.  Berlin we found at the time of our visit, very congested as there is so much construction happening, the entire centre if the Main Street leading from the city centre to Brandenburg Gates is completely ripped up across most of the road, Some major happenings here,  We met some Berliner’s at a later date and they said you must come and see Berlin when all this work is finished as it really is an amazing city … We will see …..

OUR PHOTOS OF BERLIN HERE >>>>>>>>>>>>>..

Top left is the Bauhaus apartment block office , built in front of the wall, other pics front & back of wall… very neglected ?…

Couple of double up here ?


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​​BELOW ARE A FEW VIDEOS OF THE BERLIN WALL, DON’T  GET GIDDY WATCHING THEM, I WAS RIDING MY BIKE PAST>>

FIRST ONE  IS RITA’S VIDEO FROM THE BACK OF THE WALL WHILST RIDING HER BIKE ALONG THE PATHWAY >>>>>>









Above are various photos from around Berlin, the pink and blue are for a reason, that being some of them follow the course of the old Berlin Wall, others are because the ground water in Berlin is only 2 mtrs below the ground so the pipes carry this water all around the city as they cannot dig in some areas.  Note the amazing brickwork patterns on the wall on and near the bridge, also the ever extensive reconstruction of roads everywhere ……..

And that folks is our view of Berlin, looks like a great city but at the moment with so much construction, not on our favourites list …….. As yet ……. Now back to Hamburg for the final leg in this tour >>>>>>>>>

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