“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” Ernest Hemingway


17 July 2014

Bruvs in Belgrade/Buds in Budapest

Bruvs in Belgrade/Buds in Budapest

12th July we made the early morning train journey from Belgrade to Budapest. The eight hour journey wasn’t the greatest mainly due to the fact the 2nd class carriages had no A/C turning the trip into a sweat box. However this was a small price to pay and the length of the trip allowed us to reassess our three nights in Belgrade.
The Serbian capital was noticeably more popular with backpackers than destinations in the Southern Balkans and many would say this is due to the improved transport links allowing improved access to Inter-railers arriving from Zagreb or Budapest but I would say it’s not that straight forward. Belgrade has so much to offer for travellers with various agendas.
The events of conflicts, occupation and liberation in the region from The Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Axis forces, Soviets and from the Serbians themselves have created a city dripping in history. Sure you can wander around Belgrade at your hearts desire and you will see Skadarska, Kalemegdan Castle and Sveti Sava church but to make the most out of your time you must utilise the free walking tours. “Belgrade Walking Tours” area new company but the two walks they offer were insightful, informative and most importantly interesting.
After a bit of culture chill out at the artificial beaches called “Ada Ciganlija”. On a nice day many of the locals flock here and the availability of nice bars, eateries, water skiing and even a bungee make this a no brainer.
For nightlife start off in the Bohemian Quarter of “Skadarska” (where our hostel was located) as there are many great restaurants and Rakia Bars within a five minute walk. id you looking to party all night head to the Danube as this is where all the Floating River Clubs are located. Each barge is different from the next and catering all music tastes. The perfect place for us to pull some shapes on the dance floor and get absolutely gazeboed.
Belgrade certainly left its mark on us and it certainly competes with any established party city in Europe.

Budapest was next on our bucket list. A destination we had been looking forward to for a while as our friends from Northampton, Nathan “PM” Kemp and Andrew “Bruce” Lee McQueen would be joining us for four nights.
We stayed at the “Budget Hostel” for the exact reason the name suggests as it’s cheap. The hostel itself was fine and the rooms were clean and comfortable. The only downside was that the reception resembled a call centre and failed to create conditions for a sociable hostel as staff rarely interacted and guests never conversed. Which would have been an issue if we weren’t with friends.
As we arrived relatively late in the afternoon we focused on checking out the cities nightlife which in Budapest means visiting some of the many ruined bars and clubs. The clubs are developed around old apartment buildings with multiple floors and a labyrinth of small rooms designed in every theme imaginable. If you want to drink and dance until the early hours, trying the local fire water “Pilinka” while dancing under a wild boar shaped disco ball or exploring lounge rooms with an owl woman manikin hanging from above (maybe smash a glass with your bare hands while singing “Father Abraham”- sorry again PM) then this is for you. A totally unique and unforgettable experience
In terms of sights the city centre is quite large however the combination of great bus, metro and tram links means it never takes long to get around. You can purchase a 72 hour pass for all three for around £4 which is an absolute steal if you ask me.
For a great view of the city wander over the Chain Bridge to Castle Hill and visit a nice cafĂ© with a view of the Danube or check out Fisherman’s Bastion. After grab a bus to the centre and check out Andrassy Avenue and walk to Heroes’ Square. Sadly we never visited one of the many baths however we did spend an afternoon at the Zoo. I know it sounds weird but as you will see in a upcoming post it was more exciting than planned. So stay tuned for that and Bratislava.
RM & JM feat PM and Brucey Bruce

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