Page 2 of KitKats Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest September 20th 2014

Budapest was both the halfway point and eastern extent of our trip. We wanted to use our four nights there to rest up from some hard biking and to explore some of the city without getting too burned out. Our base, a small one-bedroom apartment, for an incredibly reasonable price, at Bell Hostel and Apartments, was the perfect place for both. Objectives were achived: we left early Sunday morning well rested and with some good experiences and memories of the Hungarian capital. Some of these are recorded in the photos and their captions. Budapest is an amazing city, for sure.... read more
Street musicians at Fishermen's Bastion in Buda
"Shoes on the Danube Bank"
Our great digs for four nights in Budapest

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest September 18th 2014

We have spent the last five days biking from Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, to Budapest, the capital of Hungary. Compared to the neatness and manicured presicion of Germany and Austria, rural Hungary feels raw and rough around the edges. The roads and trails are certainly rough with patches of pavement missing, more dirt trails, and rougher areas everywhere. The bike trail signs are not so plentiful and finding the route is sometimes a challenge. And even though Hungary is officially using the Euro, many vendors only take Forints, the old currency, and give a very unfavorable exchange rate if they do accept Euros. But the people we have met are warm and welcoming and we have managed to communicate with English and a few words of German. For most of this leg, all the way ... read more
Signs for Eurovelo Route 6 in Hungary
Unpaved sections present problems on a rainy day
Locals' bicycles at church

Europe » Slovakia » Bratislava Region » Bratislava » Old Town September 12th 2014

Bratislava is the only national capital that's close to the borders of two other countries. Fitting this setup, we came here from Austria today (9/12) and will be in Hungary tomorrow night (9/13). So, wanting to be sure that we post at least once from every country we are visiing, here are some photos from our one-night stay in Bratislava. Between Vienna and Bratislava we expected to be passing through industrial and urban landscapes, but that was not the case at all. Instead, much of the Danube's shore and side channel area has been preserved and is a national park through which we pedaled for most of the day on a nice trail on top of the dike. The bridge at the last river crossing in Austria is at a site where construction of a dam ... read more
Man peering out of manhole cover
Old building not yet rennovated
Another sculpture

Europe » Austria » Vienna September 12th 2014

OK, so maybe the Holy Roman Empire WAS somewhat holy, Roman and an empire. At least that's what the emperors thought, and, after all the HRE did rule a huge part of Europe for quite a few centuries, no small accomplishment. The legacy of the emperors is here in Vienna, in the amazing display of crown jewels and garments worn by the emperors as they fulfilled their roles as kings of Hungary, Bohemia, Venice, and so forth, in the churches they built in gratitude for not being assasinated or avoiding various plagues, and in many statues and monuments to their past glory. Much of the ostentatious display of the Hofburg, or royal palace, dates from after the HRE, when the empire was reduced to Austria-Hungary only by Napoleon, who allowed Franz I to retain the title ... read more
Partof a huge, and unique, china set, given by Louis XV to Empress Maria Theresa
13-stringed lute at Museum of Historical Musical Instruments
Guy (maybe the sculptor) peering from under a step in the ornate pulpit at St Stephens

Europe » Austria » Lower Austria » Klosterneuburg September 9th 2014

It is early morning in Klosterneuberg, a small town in the floodplain with large abbey above. This was briefly the capital city of the Babenbergs about 1000 years ago after they picked up stakes in Melk (where they also left an abbey) and before they made a longer-lasting capital city in Vienna. The Klosterneuberg Abbey is celebrating the 900th anniversary of its founding this year, although the current building is a Baroque reconstruction, much newer, and there was a Roman fort on the site long before 1114, much older. Here we are less than 10 miles from the center of Vienna, and we'll head there this morning for three days off of the bikes and some city time. We were rewarded for persistence through bad weather at the beginning with three beautiful days for riding along ... read more
Riding down the right bank downstream of Grein
The sundial and the clocks give about the same time
Looking across to the left bank from the right bank.

Europe » Austria » Upper Austria » Grein September 6th 2014

We are continuing down the wonderful Donauradweg (Danube bike path), enjoying the beautiful Treppelweg (tow path) right by the river or on top of the dike, or on back roads through villages and towns in the valley. As we move downriver the hills are closer to the river, and the scenery is prettier. Along with the scenery, the weather has been improving as we go, steady rain giving way to showers, then just cloudy with sprinkles, then it's warm enough to wear the short sleeved shirts, and finally a day warm enough for bike shorts and a sunny Friday afternoon in the quaint town of Grein where we rested fro our ride at an outdoor cafe by the river watching the passing scene of cyclists, motorcyclists, and sports car afficiandos. On the way we passed through, ... read more
View of the Ottenshim castle from the other side of the river
Riding on the Treppelweg
Old sundial in Mauthausen

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Vilshofen an der Donau September 2nd 2014

We left Prague behind on the Kakfa Express (yes, that is really the name of the Prague-Munich train) with our bikes stowed aboard near our reserved seats. We arrived in Regensburg, a German town on the Danube, four hours later. Regensburg is a beautiful old town that survived World War II without damage to the medieval center from bombing. The cathedral dates back to the eighth century. We walked by the remains of a Roman wall built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The town was full of German tourists, and we joined several families at a picnic table on the banks of the river for a dinner of the local sausages and sauerkraut (Kit added beer as well). Even with the language barrier, we managed to establish that Germany has the best sausages and beer ... read more
Route signs in Bogen
Rathaus tower in Regensburg
Remains of old Roman fort in Regensburg

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague August 29th 2014

Our 2014 Central Europe adventure began when Kathy and I arrived at our hostel on the castle side of the Charles Bridge in Prague late Wednesday afternoon. We were both weary after our separate, but equally sleepless, transatlantic flights from Boston. The plan for the next six weeks is to go to Regensburg by train after a few days' rest in Prague, cycle down the Danube to Budapest with a several days' stop in Vienna, spend some time in Budapest and environs, train back to the southeastern Czech Republic, and cycle back to Prague on the Vienna-Prague Greenway. We'll be back by the Vltava River in early October and after a few more days in Prague head back to Seattle and home. As usual, it will be interesting to see how closely the reality matches the ... read more
Old Jewish Cemetery.
St John of Nepomuk statue
Municipal Hall with Powder Gate on left

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Outer Hebrides June 12th 2013

To finish up the biking part of the trip, we spent 6 nights, 5 biking days, in the Outer Hebrides, or Western Isles. There is much to say about these islands, their people, and their human and natural history, but your correspondents are weary, so these photos and their captions will have to suffice to tell some of the story, for now. Except for the first one, the photos are arranged in approximate geographical order (south to north, the way we biked) and labelled with the name of the island where the photo was taken. The Outer Hebrides form a chain, with many islands connected by causeways. Two of the jumps we made by ferry, though, and we also had one long ferry from Oban to Castlebay on Barra to get there and another long ride ... read more
White sand beach (Vatersay)
Castle in the harbor at Castlebay (Barra)
This beach is the airport (Barra)

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Orkney Islands » Stromness June 4th 2013

In the Orkney Islands off of the northern Scottish Coast they use "Mainland" to designate the principal island of the archipelago. We have just finished a wonderful six-day R&R in Stromness, Mainland, Orkney. This was meant to be a rest, for sure, from our End-to-End push, but it also provided good times, adventure, fellowship, and wonder. We even did a little bit of cycling. This use of "mainland" is only one of many differences that the Orcadian way of speaking has from ours. The language is influenced by the many years that the islands were ruled by the Norwegians. For one thousand years Orcadians spoke Norn, a variant of Old Norse. Today they speak their own brand of Scottish English, with a large number of words derived from those old Viking days. They use "peedie," for ... read more
View of Stromness from the bedroom window in our cottage
Standing stones at Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae neolithic village site

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