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Published: August 23rd 2011
August 19th-Today we enjoyed our Slovakian Breakfast at the Park Inn on the Danube. The breakfast spread was very extensive and we both enjoyed the chocolate dip for the croissants. After breakfast, we headed straight for the New Bridge UFO lookout. This bridge was constructed during Communist times. They displaced several hundred homes in the Jewish quarter to put in a major highway.... the only problem is that they ran it right in front of the St.Martin's Cathedral, a Coronation Church for the Slovakian Kings.... which is now crumbling because of the vibration of the highway. The UFO lookout is a restaurant and a overlook on the city. At the top we got wonderful views of the castle, the old town, and new section of Bratislava. Also from this height, we could see Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. After some pictures, our friend Rick Steeves said we should check out the bathrooms, and so we did. It was a great view (see picture). After a walk back over the bridge, we stopped into St. Martin's Cathedral. The church was beautiful and it had many items that belonged to Pope Paul II. We also checked out the creepy crypt, which is the eternal home to lots of bishops and priests from the area. After a few snaps, we headed back up the very steep stairs. We wandered thru the old town and then headed back to the hotel just in time to grab our luggage before check-out time. We sat in the lobby for awhile and checked our (my) email. We assumed that the cab ride to the train station would take approximately 30 minutes as that is what it took on the way to the hotel. So we left extra time and hailed a cab at 12:30 for our 1:45 train. We arrived at the train station at 12:45 and then looked at each and said "what now". (A little aside about the Bratislava train station... when we first arrived it felt like we took a step back in time. The train station felt archaic to us and we were both taken back a little. Coming from the glass, modern station in Vienna...this felt like a glimpse into the past.) So we checked the time and track of our train and then decided to grab some lunch. We squeezed ourselves into a tiny Italian Cafe that was attached the the train station. We ordered a pizza and two sodas and tasted authentic "bratislavian pizza". We decided the pizza was not great, but not the worst we had ever eaten. Our bill came to 7 euro or about $10 dollars. After lunch we headed directly for our train. We ended up sitting outside for a bit and waiting, and when the train finally arrived, it was like a bunch of cattle fighting for seats. We ended up almost having to stand, but the conductor found us seats separately. We enjoyed conversation with our train mates (mine from Ireland, mom's from Australia). After about an hour on the train, we stopped at a station in the middle of no-where and were told that there was a problem with the engine. We sat on the tracks sweating to death for about hour and a half before we got going again. We arrived in Budapest at 7pm and wandered around looking for our hotel for about an hour. The directions we had were incorrect and our hotel was directly across from the train station. The Royal Park Hotel, was brand new and very modern. We quickly freshened up and then asked the front desk for a recommendation for dinner. We ended up walking about 10 minutes to a Hungarian Restaurant. The service, food, and atmosphere were delicious. I had paprika chicken and my mom had traditional Hungarian goulash. We were entertained with gypsy music while we ate. We walked back to our modern hotel and tucked in for the night.
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