For the second time round I ventured off to Eastern Europe. Starting in Budapest, Hungary.
A late night flight from Brisbane. Arriving at the airport much too early. Again. I seemed to have made a habit of getting where I need to be much too early.
First stop, Abu Dhabi, first time. My expectations were pretty high. Arriving in what appeared to be a livestock distribution centre. When in fact it was the old part. Oh. Temperatures were soaring, transit between plane and terminal via bus. Speed the movie? Almost.
Arriving into Rome. I thought it was only appropriate to have a pork sanger, washed down with Nutella gelati. Excelled choice when accompanied by classical music via grande piano played by... members of the public. In true Italian style.
After negotiating the timetable and finalising which gate I was boarding my next flight on. Onto Budapest. Almost there.
Arriving in Budapest and gathering my belongings, loading my travel SIM, I decided on a taxi after realising that Uber hadn’t reached this part of the world.
My ride lasting about 30minutes, reminiscent of former computer game days “Crazy Taxi”. I arrived in one piece at the backpackers. Despite not knowing what the actual time was (my mate jetlag) I trudged off into the city with enough camera paraphernalia to cover a foreign coup.
After a few photos, I decided sleep was probably a good idea.
The next day, rising early off into the city again. More photos, less tourists. Budapest seemed to be a good place for this. Meandering through the streets early in search of the not-so touristy snaps.
More Cinestill 800t, reminiscent of a scene from a bygone era.
Mixtures if street / architecture photographs.
Down by the river Danube, classic architecture. Even the street lights.
Early morning taxi rides.
Meeting later on that day with some fellow travellers we wandered around in heat. Me with bag in tow. Not my most brilliant of ideas, but seemed like the 'easiest option'. A day later we we on the road again, south into Romania. First stop Timișoara, then onto the capital Bucureşti.
Monolithic, understatement of the century. We later did a tour of this monstrous building. It went on and on and on. So ceiling. Much capacious. Stated as being the heaviest building in the world. No one officially publicly knows how many floors/ sub floors are contained within it's confines.
The Parliament Palace tour was only a fraction of the total building. Covering many vast spaces, reminding of scenes from Lord of the Rings. Not completely expecting an ill-tempered horde of trolls to arise from some dark corner and start attacking us all. Only to be slightly disappointed that this was not the case.
Often I'd wait for the masses to move on, for a photographic moment capturing the interior. Occasionally using a few photos, stitching them together sometimes successfully others not so.
Roming through Bucharest I found it fascinating comparing other parts of Europe, the mixed history, cultural influences. Fashion, architecture, way of life. Every day street life.
Afternoon light. Kind of an Eastern European Paris. Almost. With hints of the past, popping up in various places. Influences of architecture over the 20th century.
Warm sunny days, wandering around. The best experiences I could have ever wanted. Being in a foreign country with cameras in hand, capturing the essence of each place (sometimes missing some due to technicalities).
From Bucharest, Peleș and Bran (Vlad the Impaler) Castles en route to Brașov.
Now for even older history, Eastern European castles. I was curious being a bit of an architect and history nerd to see what style each castle was set in.
Next stop, Brașov. Arriving and after a bit of a wander around town, in a few small groups we wandered off at different times up to the top of the mountain overlooking the valley. And the effort required totally worth it.
The trudge up the mountain was not without incident. Opting to (only once) divert from the path for the purpose of a slight shortcut only to fall my knees causing slight injury. Bearing the scars to this day.
From here we continued north to Cluj Napoca. Without mucking about I immediately set out in search of places to photograph. First heading to a pre-planned location offering some great panoramic views of the city. Using HERE WeGo Maps on my smartphone, affording me the luxury of pre-planning a lot of locations. Alongside Google Earth and Maps.
Continuing on into town, admiring the street scenes.
Now onto Slovakia, slowly making our way north to Poland. Košice, was next up for one night only. Food and beer seemed like a logical choice this stage after some walking indulging in history.
From here we continued north to Krakow, via Kakopane. With enough time for a beer and some meat. Chatting with new friends. A bustling ski town. Even in summer.
Driving through the countryside, admiring the difference in life experienced by the many places in Eastern Europe. First stop, a castle on a hill. Partly restored.
Spending a couple of days here, time in former Soviet era districts, time with new friends. One such Soviet Era place, Nowa Huta. Former Soviet Steel works.
After a couple days of perfect warm weather in Poland, we headed east to Czechia (Czech Republic). Greeted by Český Krumlov. A sort of smaller version of Praha. Staying in a modest abode with a view (sort of) of the Vltava winding it's self through the old town. A little busy during the day but quiets down at night (later on).
After being dropped off at the top of town, a backpack is definitely recommended. With many stairs to get down into the old town.
Oh Prague, we meet again. A bit of sun and a hint of rain. Met with final hooroos and a few drinks at a multi-level club. For the second round of visiting Prague, I had to see more of this glorious city. Spending time setting up shots, to shooting freely.
After 2 weeks of visiting 5ish new countries and many different cities and towns, with the added bonus of meeting some new friends. Another great experience. Photo moments captured on film. Thanks to TopDeck, our fearless Leader Jemma and crazy coach driver Cristi, it was an absolute blast.
Prague to finish off. 2am Uber drive to the airport, again being much too early. The early worm always catches the bird. Or is that plane?
Additional notes ~ sourced from Wikipedia.