Blue Danube Trip

Day 1 (Wednesday, April 8)

I woke up around 03:00 and took the train to Oslo airport, where I met Daniel. We had a baguette as breakfast before boarding the plane to Salzburg.

When we climbed down from the plane in Salzburg we were met with a nice view of mountains and horse sh*t smell. The smell persisted throughout the day. Whenever we saw some horses in the city we said "that’s why it smells like sh*t".

Daniel used his high-tech GPS to find the way to our hostel, Yoho International Youth Hostel. It was very nice, with keycard secured lockers and happy hour.

We started our sightseeing tour by walking to Altstadt (Old Town) where we saw the house where Mozart was born. We had a nice lunch in the center where I tried the schnitzel, and we started already drinking beer.

2009-04-08 - Blue Danube Trip, Day 1 - Salzburg Mirabell Gardens

After this we went to Mirabell Gardens where we met a drunken Austrian guy who kept insisting that "Beethoven is first, Bach is second, and Mozart is third". We entered Mirabell Palace looking for the concert place, and we found it but it was quite empty there and we were wondering if the concert will actually take place.

We returned to the hostel to try the happy hour (where a beer is 2 Euros instead of 2.80 Euros), then we set to Altstadt again where we tried to get into Mozarteum where a concert was happening. But the staff did not allow us to get in, saying that the concert was not opened to the public. Even after we insisted that we saw posters of the concert we could not get in. Then we were joking about what would have happened if we came in beach clothes or drunk to the Mozarteum and ask to get in the concert.

Day 1 - Salzburg 12 - Mirabell Palace Concert

Returning to Mirabell Palace we entered the concert hall, where we saw a nice classical musical concert with a small orchestra of only 2 violins, 1 contrabas and 1 fagott (tube-like instrument).

After the concert we walked to the hostel, stopping on the way to get a kebab. Daniel was out of luck as he didn’t find a vegetarian option. At the kebab shop we were talking with 2 drunk soldiers (how come the only people who talked with us were drunk?).

At the hostel where we had more beers, after me failing to pronounce Stiegel (local beer brand) in proper German way.

Day 2 (Thursday, April 9)

Waking up at 07:00 (on vacation?), we took a nice breakfast in the Yoho hostel, and we rushed to the train station where we got on the train to Vienna.

There were lots of people on the train, and we sat by mistake on reserved seats. An Austrian woman with her daughter came and moved us from the seats. We had to listen to a lengthy conversation of the woman with an old man, out of which we understoon nothing. Daniel noticed two girls on the train which he later saw in Vienna and Bratislava, saying that it was a strange coincidence.

In Vienna we relied again on Daniel’s GPS skills to find our way to Hostel Ruthensteiner, which had a nice atrium. A guy was sleeping in our room (around midday).

Leaving from the hostel dressed as business men (with suits) so we don’t look like tourists, we took the metro to the Old Town and began exploring. We bought tickets to a classical music concert at Kursalon in the evening (student price, although I am not a student anymore).

We had a nice lunch (schnitzel again) and beers, and we went to Hofburg and then the Natural History Museum where we spent a few hours, also having a coffee.

Day 2 - Vienna 11 - Art History Museum

From the museum we walked to Belvedere Gardens where we could not get in because all doors were locked and the wall was too high.

We went to Stadtpark where we had an icecream while waiting for the concert to begin.

Day 2 - Vienna 26 - Kursalon

At Kursalon we were amazed by the luxury and the nice decorations of the interior. Realizing that the guy we bought the tickets lied a bit (he said we will stay in front, but we actually stayed in the front row of the last three rows), we waited almost one hour for the concert to begin.

Day 2 - Vienna 28 - Kursalon Concert

The concert was amazing, with many superb musical pieces like Blue Danube, Swan Lake, Don Giovanni and other great songs. At one point I almost cried because the music was so beautiful. There was also balet and opera pieces accompanying the orchestra.

Day 2 - Vienna 33 - Kursalon Terrace Intermezzo.

During the intermezzo we all went on the Kursalon terrace just like in the old days, with people socializing and having a drink and a smoke.

Returning to the concert we had other great musical pieces.

After the concert we went to a salsa club in Stadtpark where we had a beer while listening to salsa music.

On the way to hostel I stopped to get a hot-dog, and after that we took the metro to the hostel. Around the train station there were so many kebab places that Daniel finally found a vegetarian one for him, and I was regretting that I got the hot-dog earlier. But it was good anyway.

Day 3 (Friday, April 10)

Waking up at 07:00 again we had a nice breakfast in the hostel, and we rushed to the metro station to get to the ferry. By my mistake we ended up in another harbour, and we lost the first ferry to Bratislava.

Having some time to burn until midday when the next ferry would leave, we went to get a coffee at Starbucks, while I explored the city a bit looking for a travelling bag. I entered a nice student bookshop where I saw lots of nice books but didn’t buy any.

After the coffee we went to a pool (billiards) place to play pool (at 10:00 in the morning).

Day 3 - Vienna 04 - Billiards

After the pool we went to a nice Chinese restaurant where we filled our bellies with lots of good food, even though we were trying to save space for the upcoming fancy dinner in Bratislava at UFO.

Day 3 - Vienna 10 - Danube Ferry

Finally getting on the ferry, we were amazed by the hi-speed and took refuge inside the boat. The trip to Bratislava took only one hour and 30 minutes (Vienna and Bratislava are the closest capitals in the world, 60 km).

Arriving in Bratislava we were welcomed by sexy girls advertising a tourist sightseeing tram. We decided to walk to our hostel instead. Trying to get Slovakian currency at an ATM, Daniel got instead Euros and we were shocked and did not know how to pay for a tram. But walking a bit we actually found Hostel Blues on foot.

Day 3 - Bratislava 03 - Hostel Guitar

At the hostel we met with Jonathan and we had some cheap and good beer while talking with the receptionist.

Finally ready for sightseeing we made a detour to McDonald’s for a quick snack, while Daniel went looking for summer clothes.

In the Old Town we did a bit of exploring, and then we went to the castle hill where we saw a nice view of Bratislava. I got some souvenirs (wrapped a thousand times in paper) while Daniel had trouble finding the toilet (probably because of the language).

Day 3 - Bratislava 14 - Castle

From the castle we returned to the Old Town were we had some beers in a nice bar, where Jonathan did not want to leave a tip to the beautiful waitress. We made a stop to a clothes shop were we bought some clothes, and to a supermarket.

Back at the hostel we got ready for dinner, and made a quick stop at the hostel reception for a beer on the terrace.

Leaving by taxi to UFO (also called Taste.A), we got on the elevator up, and first went to the terrace on top to enjoy the view and the sunset.

Day 3 - Bratislava 24 - On top of UFO

At the dinner we were met by an army of waiters, each with their own function. First a waitress unfolded the napkins and put them on our laps. Then a waiter came for the order, and another one for the wine. The prices were very steep (but comparable to Norwegian prices), and we got only starter and main course as opposed to the full 6-course meals recommended by the waiters.

With the dinner came lots of small surprises. First another waiter brought us a pre-starter, a potato-foam with bread. The second pre-starter, a tomato-foam with basilicum sauce, was brought by another waiter. Then the starter came, seared foie gras with ginger bread and honey sauce. The wine went down well with the main course, tournedos of veal tenderloin. Daniel had vegetarian pasta which looked very good. After the main course another waiter brought some chocolate with raspberry, and then we had an espresso. And after the bill being paid we got some muffins in a white bag as souvenirs.

We enjoyed the night skyline of Bratislava for a bit then we took a taxi to the hostel.

Day 3 - Bratislava 36 - Hostel Preparty

At the hostel we changed from our waiter shirts in some party clothes and drank some beers, and later we joined many of the hostel guests to club Charlie’s. During the night we went to KGB but that pub was nothing special so we returned to Charlie’s.

As traditional in Norway we went to get a kebab before going to sleep. Jonathan was so hungry that he went to get a second kebab.

Day 4 (Saturday, April 11)

Waking up around 08:00 all the showers were occupied by our Indian next-door neighbours who each took one hour in the shower. After finally getting in the shower, me and Daniel went to get a nice breakfast in the city, then we got ready to leave to Budapest.

At the Bratislava train station Daniel saw the same girls from the Salzburg train. We were suntanning while waiting for the train, and seeing more people from the hostel arrive at the station.

In the train there were some crazy Hungarian dudes who were screaming and did not let us sleep.

Day 4 - Budapest 02 - Train

Arriving in Budapest we took some money from the ATM, and Daniel tried to change a big bill to small coins at a kebab shop, where we waited almost 30 minutes until the sales lady found someone to change the money.

Walking to the hostel, we took a tram without paying because all the ticket machines we found did not work.

Carpe Noctem Hostel is well hidded inside an old building, but apparently it is the number one hostel in the world (according to hostelworld.com ratings). We were met by a friendly staff who even introduced their names and explained to us all that we can see in Budapest.

Leaving to the city to do some sightseeing, we walked a lot on the Pest side, seeing the Parliament and other sights.

The quick snack at Cafe Montmartre was not enough so we had some traditional Hungarian food in a festival-like place in the center.

Day 4 - Budapest 13 - Easter Festival

On the way to the hostel we stopped at a Puma store to buy some clothes and swimming suits, and where Jonathan was almost locked inside with the sales girl.

At the hostel the hosts prepared a special Easter night with pub crawling and special rules (have a drinking buddy to keep score, drink with your left and with the pinky of the glass, do not say ‘drink’ but ‘consume’, do not point, have a Kinder surprise toy on you all the time etc). This was being taken seriously and talking was being interrupted by people enforcing the rules and making the offenders dri.. consume alchool.

Leaving from the hostel on the pub crawl we walked from pub to pub getting more drunk on the way. At B. City the quota was 1 shot of palinka, one beer in 4 or less sips, and a shot of Unicum. A Hungarian guy was asking me why my drink buddy Manc was happy and I answered that she was happy because of the Unicum and he could not believe it. In this pub we could only talk with the person on the left, so everybody was turning in order to answer.

Day 4 - Budapest 21 - Pub Crawl

Some people were taking extra shots and beers to get more points. The toilets could not be used except in certain pubs or otherwise points were substracted.

Instant pub was the last I saw before taking Daniel to the hostel. The rule here was that you needed to say Jizz in my Pants on every sentence. I did see the next rules being followed, some of which were weird at best: tie yourself to your buddy, kiss a baby (!) (where the hell do you find a baby at midnight on a Saturday night pub crawl) and the game ‘pass the ice cube’.

The taxi driver did not want to take Daniel, probably because he was not in the best stomach state. After walking with Daniel to the hostel, I tried to find a disco close to the hostel the dudes saw earlier but did not find it (later I found out that I was actually there but the place did not look promising).

Day 4 - Budapest 27 - Play

I took a taxi to Kuplung to get Jonathan and together we went to club Play, which was a huge club with 7 Euros cover charge and 3 Euros per beer, and with airport scanner at the entrance. But we stayed there for only 30 minutes, after which we took a taxi to another club, and then getting back to the hostel around 04:30.

Jonathan fell out of bed during the night when the guy who was supposed to sleep in that bed returned, and I found out later that people took pictures of him sleeping on the floor.

Day 5 (Sunday, April 12)

Waking up around 08:00, it was almost no one sober or even awake in the hostel. I went to the train station to get some Euros changed to forint, not realizing that there was an ATM just next to the Exchange Office.

Then I went to a restaurant to get a kebab but was denied because it was too early, so instead I went to McDonald’s where I ate only half of the food.

Returning to the hostel I was hanging out with the guests who were slowly waking up.

Day 5 - Budapest 01 - Hostel

Daniel woke up around 12:00 and we went to the restaurant where I didn’t have my kebab, having a great lunch with delicious food, while recounting all the events of the previous night.

Returning to the hostel we got Jonathan and we set on walking to Gellért Baths, with a quick kebab stop on the way.

Day 5 - Budapest 09 - Gellért Baths

Gellért Baths was a great place to hang out on a hot Sunday afternoon, with inside and outside pool and even a hot pool, and we got some sun tan outside.

Leaving from the pool we went on a sightseeing in Buda, climbing on the hill to enjoy the view and have some gulash soup and "buni", which Daniel thought it means "French fries".

After climbing down from the Buda hill we crossed the Danube into Pest, meeting an American couple from the hostel.

After quickly changing into nicer clothes at the hostel we took the tram to Jam Pub where we arrived a bit late. There we had dinner with Flora and her boyfriend, while listening to live Cuban music.

Day 5 - Budapest 23 - Jam Pub Dinner

After the dinner Flora’s boyfriend took us on a car trip through Budapest, crossing the Danube a few times back and forth Buda and Pest. In the end he dropped us at our hostel, where we packed and went to sleep for only a few hours.

Day 6 (Monday, April 13)

Waking up at 03:30 to get to the airport we saw some people returning drunk from clubs, and dancing without any sound in the living room in the hostel. We said good-bye to whomever was sober enough and left with a taxi to the airport.

We arrived at Torp around 08:30 on Monday morning, and I got quickly on the bus while the other dudes were busy in the tax-free shop. There was quite a contrast between the Norwegian weather and what we experienced on our Eurotrip.

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Eurotrip 2007 Germany-Czech Republic-Austria-Hungary-Bulgaria

Day 1 (Friday, August 24)

Day 1 - Berlin 04

Day 1 - Hütte - Paul van Dyk concert 07

Day 2 (Saturday, August 25)

Day 2 - Neuzelle 05

2007-08-25 - Eurotrip 2007, Day 2 - Salsa

Day 2 - Hütte - Juli concert 03

Day 3 (Sunday, August 26)

Day 3 - Dresden 04

Day 3 - Prague 03

Day 4 (Monday, August 27)

Day 4 - Prague 08

Day 4 - Regensburg 04

Day 5 (Tuesday, August 28)

2007-08-28 - Eurotrip 2007, Day 5 - Munich

Day 6 (Wednesday, August 29)

2007-08-29 - Eurotrip 2007, Day 6 - Neuschwanstein castle

Day 6 - Alps 01

Day 6 - Innsbruck 04

Day 6 - Saalbach 02

Day 7 (Thursday, August 30)

Day 7 - Kehlsteinhaus 03

Day 7 - Salzburg 04

Day 8 (Friday, August 31)

Day 8 - Graz 03

2007-08-31 - Eurotrip 2007, Day 8 - Balaton Fish Soup

Day 9 (Saturday, September 1)

Day 9 - Balaton - Sailing 08

Day 9 - Balaton 11

Day 9 - Balaton - Sailing 18

Day 9 - Budapest 04

Day 10 (Sunday, September 2)

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