On the road to Istanbul

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March 30th 2007
Saved: March 12th 2009
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Wrestling the rusty door open, we shuffled inside and dropped our packs onto the three wire-mesh beds that filled the small hotel room. Ancient scrawls of graffiti crawled feverishly across the time-stained walls, screaming hoarsely for attention. "Get out of this flea-infested pit while you still can!..." "Welcome to hell, hope you enjoy your stay more than we did." And so on... It was true that the room was nothing special, (and the aforementioned fleas did put in an appearance later that night), but it wasn't that bad! And it was cheap, at least by Zagreb's strangely inflated prices. Anyway, we were only really in Zagreb for one whole day, just passing through on our way to Istanbul, so it hardly mattered. Since I last wrote, my Dad had joined the team - just as adventurous & easygoing as Mum, it was great to have him finally join us!

Ljubljana, Slovenia
After Dad's arrival in Vienna we'd spent a few days all together, (the first time we'd had the whole family together for over a year), and then the three of us had left Joel to finish up his last university courses, heading off on a long, meandering route to Istanbul. First up, the lovely city of Ljubljana (Slovenia). We spent a cold couple of days admiring the impressive Dragon Bridge, exploring the castle (which includes an innovative 3D movie about the city's history), starting the occasional snowfight (which continued until unacceptable civilian casualties were incurred), and wandering around the pleasantly quiet, snow-lined streets. Perhaps the best part of our time in Ljubljana was where we stayed - the Hostel Celica. Converted from an old military prison, this is definitely one of the most interesting (and comfortable!) hostels I've stayed in. We started out with cheap hostel beds in the big loft areas, but then splashed out on our very own cell, (complete with bars over the door & windows). I'd definitely recommend the place to anyone visiting Ljubljana - an interesting location with a lively atmosphere.

Zagreb, Croatia
Next up was Zagreb, where our standard of accommodation took something of a nosedive, (with no accompanying dip in price). We were only there for a very short time though, checking out a few museums (including one with models of many of Leonardo Da Vinci's designs), browsing through the markets, wandering around the city centre, and enjoying a couple of drinks in the Tolkien Pub, (where the cocktail shots on offer include 'Bilbo's First Time', 'Sauron's Brain' and '').

Budapest, Hungary
I'd visited Budapest once before, when I travelled around after a year's exchange in Sweden, and had loved it then.

Bucharest, Romania

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