Saturday, 17 September 2011

7/9 8/9 9/9 Berlin

I started the day with a walking tour of city; always a good way to start a new city. I missed the first 5 minutes as I thaught it started at a different part of the city. I noticed there are lots of new buildings everywhere, and the buildings in the east side already need major restoration work as they were cheeply built. The city really does not look like other european citys. I guess a war and decades of devision will do that to a city.
I went to a curry sausage place for tea. This place was also recommended, but wasnt as good as the kababs.
I used "pasporta servo" (like coutch surfing in esperanto) to find a place to sleep for the next 2 nights. This place is amazing. He has the top level apartment, overlooking the city ......err........skyline......... which consists of the russian TV tower.

Please excuse the dot point statements here. I just want to go to bed.
Day start at 12:30
Start at brandenburg gate
See Russian war memorial
Walk down 17 street to charlottenburger gate
Tour around west Berlin city
Observe the different architecture and higher quality constructions.
Train up to the "berlin wall preserved border" and read everything.
Forgot that rain still occurs in Berlin. Needed my umbrella for the first time since London. I had forgotten that it still rains in northen europe
Return to base, take photo of the tv tower
Note lack of noticeable urban outline.
Dry cough today. illness keeps changing, but i think it is getting bettter

Out the door at 12:40
Returned to the Berlin wall memorial for day photos. I watched a video of a fly over of the berlin border in 1990, it was incredible.
Went to train station, destination Bonn. Surprised at cost of €97 one way. Searched for the cheapest option, €42. Now I have 6 trains and 11 hour journey, arriving in Bonn at 2:25 in the morning. i caught the first train with only 1 minute to spare.
I am sure that Germany's trains are designed to make it as difficult as possible to find a good position to sleep in. Didnt help that i only had 1 to 2 hours on each train. Never got much sleep
I managed to get off one station too early in Cologne. Fortunately, the next train started here anyway.
I am surprised how many people are on the train at 2 am. It is almost packed. Standing room only for many. I thought I would have it for myself.
I eventually found out that the german railways have a monopoly on public transport, and busses can not run when there is a train running.

Darth Vader protecting the Brandenburg gate

The site of Hitler's bunker. The floor and walls still exist, but are not accessable

The building where i stayed, yes, the very top.

The last complete section of the Berlin wall and border as it use to be.

Friday, 16 September 2011

6/7 trip to Berlin

I managed to catch the bus at 11:30 at night with 5 minutes to spare, although i did not like such a rediculously late start. Fortunately, i was armed with my self-inflating pillow, and got in some sleep. i tried to watch the movie, but i was tired, and the movie was in hungarian, so i went back to sleep

The bus stopped to the Czech capital from 6:30 to 8:00, so i decided to have a look around, and perhaps leave my mark. Nearby, the museum exterior was covered for repair. There was a giant a picture of a car on the wall, with a tv screen in the drivers seat on 3 sides of the museum. the car was from the company who is sponsering the repairs. A kiosk was on the ground. I took my photo with the kiosk and got my face in the drivers seat of the car on the museum, on 3 sides! My mark has been left in Prague.

On the way to Berlin, the bus was showing the movie "Australia" in Hungarian with English subtitles. That was interesting, and a bit weird. the movie was just as painful to watch though. i had noticed at one point that i appeared to be the only person watching the movie. I also wondered how many hungarians were on the bus. I recon it would have been more practical to have thee movie in english.

The bus arrived in Berlin at about 1:30 pm, right next to the exhibition centre. They had a technology exhibition running, so I went in. Over 4 hours, I covered about 1/4 of the place.
The hostel i stayed at is called "Grand Hostel Berlin". the place was nice. I was told of a place that is suppose to have the best kebabs in the world, according to an Australian, Called "Mustafa's Gemüse Kebap". Average wait time 40 minutes, sometimes up to 70 minutes. I had to try it. It appears half of berlin thaught the same thing, as it took me about 50 minnutes. Fortunately, It was really good.
At night, I showered and went to bed as my wog was draining me.

The museum in Prague

The car with me in it :D

The white building is the hostel in Berlin

Monday, 12 September 2011

2/9 to 5/9 Budapest

First night at Carpe Noctem Vitae Hostel. this is a under 40´s social and party hostel, but they dont party in the hostel, but go  out every night.turns out to be a good hostel
I started the day with personal admin: Finish a few blogs, organise some accomodation, change some bus trips etc. I discovered there is caving in budapest on monday, when i was suppose to be on a bus, so i changed the bus trip to 11:30 at night
In the afternoon, i trained to the airport to collect Kate whoi first met in northen ireland. We got to the hostel just in time for dinner/tea/evening meal whatever you want to call it. Turns out, she normally goes to hotels, so this is her first time in a hostel.. I hope she thinks it is good!
In the evening, we had a "booze cruise" with the people from the hostel.  This was a boat cruze down, up, then back down the Danube river, to a permanently docked ship that has been turned into a club. We got to bed at 4:30 am

i got up today and discovered one of the staff had cooked bakon and eggs. "Fantastic in a crossont" i thaught.  I got half of it down, but my slight morning sickness (ahem) prevented me from eating the rest. I decided the best way to overcome such a sickness was with a walk, So we did a walking tour of Budapest.
The afternoon we went into the house of terror. This place is not some amusment ride, but a place where prisoners were kept and torchred during the nazi and communist years. quite depressing to here some of the stories and what was happening at the time.
In the evening, we had food at Kiado Kocsma, which was recommended to us by the hostel. We all started with the beef goulash, which was very nice. the spicyness is aparantly very good for colds and runny noses.
Back at the hostel, we talked for a few hours with some other girls, then decided to go out to the clubs again. the first club must have had lady´s night, as the girls got in free, but we had to pay €5. we were amazed how many desperate middle age men in suits were there. we also noticed a few desperate females too.

The second club was an outdoor club with 4 or 5 venues happening concurrently, including the pool that i had heard about a few weeks earlier. 2 of the girls got totally drenched when another bloke starteed a water fight with them, then finished up by bombing the pool; an act i thaught quite dangerous as the pool is about 50cm deep. We got back to bed at 6:30am
The photo is the 3 girls and another bloke from the hostel with 3 of the blokes in the back who liked water fights, bombing the pool, and swimmming. 5 seconds after this photo was taken, anoter bloke bombed the pool and drenched the girls, especially the one on the right.

Up at 10, feeling much better as i drank very little the night before. i took a bus trip out to Monument park, where the old communist statues of budapest were sent after the fall of commmunism. Some of the statues were huge, others showed the "heroric russian soldier" with the small, defenceless, thankful hungarian. Some were of woman, with strong arms for hard work, wide hips for good breeding, and strong legs for excellent stability; all the good traits of a good communist. The photo is of a huge statue of a russian soldier liberating the hungarians.
I returned to the city. I had only been walking for 5 minutes when i ran into Kate and. Kelly in the street, so i walked with them around the city. 
We decided to go to the market, as it was a sunday. We were surprised to learn, the market opens every day except sunday. Instead, we stopped at a Pub for Hungarian stew and knoci. Afterwards, we walked up and down the main tourist street. half the shops were suiveneer shops, the other half were restraunts. then we walked to the top of "the citadel" on hill to watch sun set and the city lights turn on. 2 more girls joined us at the top of the hill. Then we returned to the hostel. The photo is Budapest at night from the hill.

Got a wog today. it has been going through the hostel, and now i have finally got it.
I had breakfast with Kate at a local cafe, returned to the hostel, then said goodby to Kate as she had to fly back to Ireland
I packed my bags, then stored them under the stair well. afterwards, i went to the market, feeling terrible. i purchased one gift, and what is possably th worst beef goulash in budaest. i couldnt even eat a quarter of it. I returned to the hostel, took some Panadol then Sleep 1 hour.
I woke up then, headed off for my caving adventure. on the way to the cave, this weird rain came from nowhere. we all looked up to try findthesource of the rain. it was an almost clear sunny day, except for one small cloud.
Caving lasted 2.5 hours underground. we got to a depth of about 45 metres. there were Tree roots at 30 metres. the temperature was around 12 degrees, but we didnt get cold, as we were crawling through small tunnles, over bulders, and sliding down dirt slides. good thing we had helmets on, as every one of us banged our head on the rocks at some point. at one stage, we turned our head lamps off, and remainned silent; it was eerily quiet, and pitch black. our guide told us of some of the stories of people dieing down in the tunnels, including 2 blokes who were found with no food and no light. their guide just left them there,in an act of murder. Lovely, i thaught.  Caving finished just as the panodol was wearing off.
I caught the bus for Berlin at 11:30 at night.

In the pool at the club

A huge statue of a russian soldier "liberating" hungrary

Budapest at night

Group photo 45m deep underground; the lowest we got.

Me getting reborn in a very tight tunnel

Sunday, 11 September 2011

10/9 to 18/9 Bonn

Another dot point blog entry.

Extended holiday to October
Doing well with my limited German.
Found bridge with holes specifically for love message padlocks.
Wasps in bakery, again.

Tried to find motorcycle for hire
Found Aparal store with prices half of that in Australia

No wasps in bakery today. The food must be bad today.
Found motorbike for hire, need international licence. Motorcycle tourism not developed in Europe.
There are change machines in supermarket for counting notes and coins and giving change. The checkout people (they are definately not chicks) don't even need basic math skills.
Watched German news about catching poisonous snakes in Australian city's . That should be good for tourism.

The rest of the days:
Watched lots of "big bang theory"
Lots of sleep
Scooter riders like riding on foot paths and bicycle paths.
Big-little sis talked me into visiting Rome.
Watched a water and light show in Bonn city centre.  They squerted water into the air in fancy patterns and projected light and images onto it, coordinated to music, with fireworks. Lots and lots of water wasted.

Tried to fly to Rome. Went to the wrong airport. Changed flight and went back to Bonn

Little people statues in a park.
An old style crane on display. A man runs in the wheel to raise and lower the crane.
Part of the water and light show
Some painted Beethoven's. He was born in Bonn.

Friday, 2 September 2011

8/8 to 13/8 Festo

Just realised, I have not written anything about festo, oops. Did I delete what I had written? Hmmm. Well, I can still remember the highlights.

Accommodation was good. They were lacking bed sheets, so I used my own. I did have a double bed, bit of a shame I had nobody to share it with. Toilets were good, and they had this weird, toiletty thingy in the room, but the bottom was flat, and hqs a plug in it. My room mate told me it is for washing your feet or your backside.

Food was always good, the best of all the esperanto events. The format was usually salad, or some appetizers, with bread, followed by main meal, with bread. Being France, the French always had wine with everything. I could always tell which plate was the French plate, as they always wiped the plate clean with bread.  The evening meal included desert. Once, it was caramalised Apple, mmmmmm.

The days had a few planned activities, but mostly it was do your own thing. There was one day tour to some local castles. Unfortunately, I can not remember the names. The first castle is the place where sleeping beauty was inspired and written. It is considered the most Disney castle in France. The second castle is the tallest in France. This place even includes its own theatre. It is actually 2 castles in one; The base and the 2 circular towers is an older castle. In the basement, they had more wine. Turns out, this place produces wine as well.

The evenings were usually concerts of different music groups, mostly esperanto, but not always.

One memorable family in attendance, they spoke esperanto at home, so the 2 kids (about 3 and 4) were native speakers. The little girl was almost always following her father. It was amusing watching her Chase after her father yelling "Paĉio atendu min" At one stage, he tried playing the piano, while reading music displayed on my phone, (sortof) he regularly stopped to scroll the screen), without a seat. No easy task, so his girl decided to try help him, by squeezing between his arms, between him and the piano, trying to scroll the music, usually at the wrong time, and playing some of the keys; very entertaining.

Photos: the weird toiletty thingy, Kastelo Grésillon at night, the "sleeping beauty" castle, desert

28/8 to 1/9, Vienna

Today 3 of us bussed from Budapest to Vienna, for €15 each on orangeways, very cheap. This company was told to us by a local Esperantist. We got to some lake / park (called donau auen) near Vienna, (ankaŭ sen vestoj. Mi pli kaj pli ŝatas tian lagojn), and pitched the tent. Turns out, this park has a few wild pigs. Not a big problem for me, but proved a headache for our local Esperantist and guide, Angela.
Trying to find food was a small issue. The first place, closed. Second, expensive, and must buy a drink. Third, open, and good food. On the way back to the tent, we heard a pig somewhere in the bushes. Angela spent the night thinking the pigs were close and didn't get much sleep. The following nights she slept in her apartment in Vienna.

Today started with swim, then we went into the city.
Saw another church, purchased an interesting fridge magnet "there are no kangaroo's in Vienna", saw a few other buildings, back to the apartment for food, then me and Brandon returned to the tent.

Today was a swim, then to the esperanto museum. This place was interesting, but small. We then walked around what I think was the old palace grounds, which were now library's and museums. Angela told us all about the sex parties of the elite from many years ago, and how all the important buildings have statues of naked people on it. Also in the grounds was a food, beer and wine festival. Dad would have spent a week in these grounds. We decided to eat here.
A further walk reviled an outdoor cinema, where we watched an Austrian opera about the devil or something, then we returned to bed. Angela tried to return to the tent, but then we heard another pig, so she returned to here apartment again.

Today I waved goodbye to Brandon, then shifted all my stuff to Angela's apartment, then went to the natural history museum. This place has got a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. Even the building is amazing! There was one room for marsupials, so the room was almost dedicated to Australia. Towards the end, Angela was so tired, she slept at the entrance and waited for me to finish. It was dark by the time I had finished.
We went home, and had a feed of a pasta dish which was rather salty, showered, then bed. A nice, cosy, warm bed, without hard earth and lumps. The first in over a week.

well, I didn't get a full nights sleep, but it was a good night none the less....ahem.
Breakfast was at about 12:30, on the veranda, overlooking Vienna, with the remains of last nights food, and a bit extra. Then shower, cleanup, then off to the bus stop, once again, guided by Angela.
The bus trip was uneventful, and I got to the hostel reasonably easy. This hostel already appears much better than the last Budapest hostel I tried.
At night, I sat and listened to some classical string trio play music at a fancy restaurant next to the opera house, then bed.

Photo: me beside an elephant in front of natural history museum. All other photos on my camera.

23/8 to 27th Mela

I am at my 6th Esperanto event, Mela in Hungary, south of Budapest. This is a very relaxed camping event, beside a lake, with about 7 people. Lots of sleeping, swimming (sen vestoj. Iam bone, iam strange. Estis la unua fojo ke mi ĉeestis tian lokon. Ankaŭ bone ke mia familio ne eblas legi ĉi vortojn), eating and beer. Not much more to say. The camping is free, but there is lots of rubbish dumped here. The lake is one of dozens of man made lakes in the district. They are old stone quarries. The Danube river once flowed here, so all the stones are rounded.
The area also has a lot of industrial hemp plants growing wild on the side of the road, which was a bit strange. For those that don't know, industrial hemp lives in the cannabis family of plants.
Trained into Budapest for a Hungarian "BBQ" which consisted of beef goulash cooked over a fire, very good. Why couldn't the last place cook like this? The BBQ happened in the backyard of what appeared to be the Main organizer, and office, and house, of the local Esperanto movement. There was about 12 people there. The strange thing was, it could have been in Australia, but it was Budapest, with a pot over a fire, and speaking Esperanto.
Just saw the foxtrot being danced at a restaurant. South of Budapest. Very amusing.
I am amazed how many songs on the radio are in English, it must be almost 3/4 of all songs. I am equally amazed where I can find "Britney spears" posters.
A noisy wedding procession went by, with car horns blaring.

Photos: house for sale, and a steak with chips at the restaurant with the fox trot. All scene photos were taken on my camera, so not able to post.