Budapest has always had a certain appeal to me. I didn't have a clear image in my mind of what to expect, however I knew it would be both beautiful and delicious. As we drove in on our bus 'Big Daddy' I wasn't disappointed.
Traditionally Budapest was two cities. On one side of the Danube was Pest and the other (you guessed it huh) is Buda. With the improvement of transportation and the building of some key bridges (such as the Chain Bridge) the two cities were united and became one. On the Buda side of the river, Gellerts Hill rises above and casts an imposing shadow over the city. There is accommodation in Budapest on either side of the river, as well as on many luxury boats docking on the river.
It is home to a famous spa and a memorial statue to St Gellert who was tossed down the hill in a wine cask to his death. It is here where we first stopped to get a good look out over the city. The Buda side of the city is also home to Buda Castle, Matthias Church (often called the Disney church for its beautiful turrets) and a funicular railway that you can ride to the peak to explore these sites.
The Balkans is not a region of the world that I ever really saw myself visiting, so when I went to book myself in to a tour of Eastern Europe with the idea of exploring Prague, Budapest and Austria I was a bit stuck when I found out that it was booked out. Instead I was offered a trip commencing from Croatia, which fit the bill, but not the idea I had in my mind about the trip I would be embarking on.
The more I thought about it, the more I warmed to the idea of visiting countries that are a little more off the beaten track than the cities I originally had in mind. Here are the Balkans region countries I visited and what I thought of them.
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