Since I had a free week and no other plans, I took a lap around Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. It’s not too far from Kraków, which is currently home base because that’s where my suitcases live.
I spent my three days in Vienna wandering its spectacular palaces, museums and art galleries, taking breaks to sit in cafés decked with crystal chandeliers. And, as luck would have it, I happened to be there during the hottest day in the city’s history, which is an event I really could have sat out.
From Vienna, I wanted to go to Budapest. Bratislava happened to be on the way, only an hour away from Vienna by boat. So why not?
I love boats.
Bratislava absolutely surprised me. It was charming and small enough to visit in a few hours. Conveniently, Polish is very close to Slovakian, so I got along just fine with everyone and felt right at home.
After lunch and a stroll in Bratislava, I hopped on a train to Budapest.
Oh, Budapest. Where to begin? Language, history, good people, cool parties and group bathing. It had everything I love.
I spent a lot of time learning about Hungary’s rich history and the Hungarian people. The sovereign nation is fairly new, having been occupied by everyone from the Ottomans and the Turks, to the Austrians, to the Nazis and the Soviets. Their language fascinates me, because it’s not quite Slavic and not quite any sort of anything I comprehend. In fact, it sounds a lot like the how the Sims speak.
But really, if you’re into cool languages, European history, occupations and the war, Budapest is a solid place to go.
That being said, their nightlife was on point too.
I don’t usually go out much when I travel alone, but you can’t not go out in Budapest, and I was fortunate enough to find some new international buddies.
The entire population of my hostel consisted of my blonde self and 15 Spanish speaking guys, from all over Spain and Mexico. Fortunately, I happen to speak Spanish, so we got along swimmingly.
Also, traveling alone has taught me how to pick up women. I met two girls my age during a walking tour, Meitao and Arenike. Meitao was Chinese and Arenike was Nigerian, but they were both from London. Together, the three of us were literally the poster women for diversity in Budapest, and turned a few heads when we went out that night. Mostly due to confusion, though.
One of the coolest things about Budapest was ruin pubs, which are unique to the city. They’re essentially abandoned buildings and warehouses, filled with broken furniture and confusing art (think owl heads on naked women’s bodies.) Let’s just say that when a bar has 26 rooms, leaving before 6 am is not an option. Fun was certainly had.
I spent my entire last day at the infamous Hungarian baths, bathing in the city’s thermal pool with a herd of Hungarians and tourists alike. It was a cool immersion into Hungarian bath cultural, and a glorious way to spend a 100 degree day.
Overall, my spontaneous weeklong trip was loads of fun, from eating Sachertorte in Vienna, to leaving the pubs at daybreak with new friends in Budapest.
Now back to Poland we go!