Page 5 of RENanDREW Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Romania » Maramures » Maramures June 12th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling east from Debrecen in Hungary to Maramures in Romania. We arrived at the Hungarian / Romanian border mid-afternoon, where an austere young policeman came onto the minibus and took our passports. We then waited for an hour, not allowed to get out, until the passports were returned. At one stage we saw the young policeman come outside and have a cigarette, laughing and joking with his fellow police officers only a few metres from where we were trapped inside the minibus. Luckily, our bus driver left the air conditioning on, so we didn’t overheat. Our passports were finally handed over, and we continued our journey east towards Vadu Izei, a village in Maramures. While the landscape didn’t change much in terms of rolling flat agricultural fields stretching to the horizon, ... read more
vadu izei
vadu izei
creamy green bean soup

Europe » Hungary » Northern Great Plain » Debrecen June 12th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling southeast from Eger to Debrecen. Despite a wild night at the wine cellars, we were (once again) wide awake at 5am. The sun was rising over Eger Basilica, which was a beautiful sight from our small balcony. We headed down to a small external dining room/kitchen for a very basic but enjoyable breakfast. Baskets of bread rolls were on the table, along with plates of cheese, salami, ham and tomatoes. We made ham and cheese rolls, which we washed down with endless cups of tea. It had been, after all, a full-on wine tasting at Biro Borozo the night before, and we were thirsty. After breakfast we said goodbye to Sir Charles, the resident cat, threw our packs on a private minibus and set off for Debrecen, Hungary’s second largest ... read more
great church
magda szabo the novelist
streets of debrecen

Europe » Hungary » Northern Hungary » Eger June 11th 2018

HE SAID... Today we were travelling northeast from Budapest to Eger. We were wide awake at 5am, and because we were leaving Budapest in the late morning, we were feeling a little flat. However, nothing that a glass of champagne for breakfast couldn’t solve. Along with the champagne, I gathered a selection of muesli, yoghurt, toast, cheese, salami, pink grapefruit juice and tea. It was a great start to the day, despite the grumpy breakfast staff. We organised our packs for our train trip to Eger, then headed to the Basilica of St Stephen to see if we could finally, after numerous attempts, get to see St Stephen’s mummified hand. We walked around the Basilica for about 10 minutes, looking for the mummified hand, but to no avail. It was time to ask, as we had ... read more
keleti train station
keleti train station
eger basilica

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 8th 2018

HE SAID... We were wide awake at 4am, so we caught up on a few work-related issues before heading down to breakfast at 7:30am. And like the day before, it was a fantastic affair – endless varieties of bread, cheese, cured meats and pastries, along with cereals, tea and juices. We knew we wouldn’t be eating until 2pm, so we fuelled up for a morning of walking. We headed straight for Elizabeth Town and the Jewish Quarter to get a feel for our neighbourhood, as it was very close to our hotel. With the help of a friendly local, we found a bank to withdraw some cash, then walked a short distance to the Great Synagogue for a guided tour of the second largest Jewish house of worship in the world. Our guide was a young ... read more
streets of lipotvaros
streets of erzsebetvaros
great synagogue

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest June 6th 2018

HE SAID... After touching down in Budapest in the early morning, we breezed through customs, jumped on a bus and headed for the city centre. Feeling a little overwhelmed and tired, we clambered off the bus, donned our packs and trudged towards our hotel with the aid of a tiny map picked up from a solemn staff member at the tourist information bureau. When we eventually arrived, we had been travelling non-stop for 30 hours (from our home in Tasmania to the hotel in Budapest), and were in desperate need of a shower. We crossed our fingers and hoped with all our hearts that our room was ready – the last thing we needed was to discover it wouldn’t be available until the early afternoon. The woman at reception was austere, and she gave the impression ... read more
jokai square
basilica of st stephen
basilica of st stephen

Europe » Hungary June 5th 2018

HE SAID... A spectre is haunting Europe… I couldn’t help but re-visit the Manifesto of the Communist Party before our travels to Eastern Europe. It’s the first time we have journeyed to any Communist-Bloc country, let alone three. I am looking forward to our adventures through Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria over the next three weeks. But back to Marx and Engels. Rereading the manifesto, I was taken by how little had changed. The opening chapter described the growing divide between bourgeois and proletariat, and I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to the exponential spread of global capitalism since the fall of communism in the late 1980’s. If capitalism is rampantly out of control after all these years, is it simply human evolution – the need to endlessly consume, and to surround ourselves with more assets ... read more

Europe » Hungary June 4th 2018

Good wine needs no label… ~ Hungarian ProverbIf you are travelling in the blind man's country, close one eye... ~ Romanian ProverbA gentle word opens an iron gate… ~ Bulgarian Proverb Jo napot, Buna Ziua and Zdraveite people! Our old mate Wanderlust has awoken and stirred again. It never does sleep for long. We are filled to bursting with the sheer pleasure of travelling to new places! Uncharacteristically, our destination this year was determined largely by chance and circumstance… 2017 had nearly left the building and for various reasons we still hadn’t decided on a travel destination for 2018. Hoping to travel in the early part of the year before work commitments ramped up, we put our heads together and unanimously decided on a location, only to have work contract dates conspire against us – not ... read more
travel reading
travel viewing
eastern european cakes (and jasper)

Asia » Sri Lanka April 10th 2017

HE SAID... Sri Lanka had been on my travel horizon since 2007 – the year Ren and I started travelling together. Ren spent her first seven years on this small island off the south eastern tip of India, so the place had a strong allure for me. I wanted to visit the buildings and streets where she played out her childhood years – the places that contributed to shaping the person she is today. This was a journey I was really looking forward to. Ren, on the other hand, was a slightly reluctant traveller on this trip. If it wasn’t for my keen interest in visiting her birthplace, we may have travelled to another distant land elsewhere in the world. And maybe, just maybe, that would have been for the best. In the words of William ... read more
colombo - sri kailasanathar swamy devasthanam kovil
colombo - jamiul alfar red mosque
colombo - traditional bride

Asia » Singapore April 9th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were flying from Singapore to Hobart. We woke early at 3:30am, prepared our packs and checked out (with a hint of sadness) at 4:30am from Amoy, our beloved hotel in Singapore’s Chinatown. We jumped into a taxi and sped through the city’s deserted streets and highways, arriving at Changi Airport at 5am. The place was virtually deserted, so we cruised through Changi’s seamless security, took advantage of the airport’s free Wi-Fi and settled at our gate lounge. We lifted off the runway without incident around 8am – we were on our way home. When the lunch trolley rolled down the aisle we both opted for the gaeng kiew wan pla (fried fish in green curry with stir fried vegetables and steamed rice). The green curry was spicy and tasty, as was the ... read more
changi airport
changi airport
changi airport

Asia » Singapore April 7th 2017

HE SAID... Today we were flying from Sri Lanka to Singapore. We checked out of Pearl Grand Hotel at 9pm and made our way (via a pre-arranged transfer vehicle) to the Bandaranaike International Airport, which is also known as Colombo Airport. After an hour on the road we arrived, and the place was bustling. We navigated security, checked in, queued for ages at the immigration counter and then wandered through the duty free shopping area. We picked up a few gifts with our remaining rupees, including a moonstone and a Sri Lankan flag fridge magnet, before heading to our gate lounge. Ren caused a stir at the gate lounge security gate, as her bag had to be scanned twice and a security officer had to manually rummage through her bag, pulling everything out and checking it. ... read more
thian hock meng temple
streets of singapore
streets of singapore

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