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Old 4th February 2013, 22:03   #331
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by shipnil View Post

Regarding Paris, if you have time, do visit Chateau de Versailles. It is nice place.
Seconded! Its a quick drive/train ride away from Paris and is a beautiful palace. If its cold, it'll not be fun venturing out to see the amazing gardens though.
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Old 4th February 2013, 22:09   #332
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Looking at the thread title again, it just occurred to me. Tanveer, are you a fan of The Amazing Race? Too bad the last season was not telecast by AXN. However there are ways and means!
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Old 5th February 2013, 00:20   #333
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Default Day 13 #1 : To Hungary

We woke up leisurly, finished up breakfast, got ready and checked out of our hotel. Today we will leave western Europe, and enter Eastern Europe. Compared to the west, the east was supposed to be wild and exciting. As east always is.

We would get to see things like unruly driving, chaos, disregard for rules, and general rowdiness... maybe!

The weather gods are crying again today.
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But it does not bother us much now. we are going east.


Our railjet is coming from Germany, somewhere on the westen edge.
And its late by 20 minutes due to heavy rain.

Another railjet to somewhere else
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11:30am we enter our coach, and evict a couple from our reserved seats. They will sit on the floor, along with many others.

I spent the rest of the journey sleeping or clicking
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And by early evening, we are at the Budapest West station. Now we have to find a taxi to our hotel, or public transport.
Roaming around for 30 minutes is enough to tell me that public transport won't do, we have to take a taxi, esp with our luggage.

I go into India mode, bargain special. Rates being quoted are 25EU, and I offer 5. ITs too ridiculous. Then a gentleman, who lives near our hotel, agrees for 12. WE deposit our luggage and I call my cousin. He runs a famous Indian restaurant in Budapest, so these three days won't be wanting as far as food and fun are concerned. Moreover, there is a small family function too after two days.

For now, its time for a proper Indian dinner of kababs and butter chicken, and I can safely say I have not had such dinner in Delhi.

We return early to our hotel. Tomorrow is a big scary day when we have to jump out of a plane.
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Old 5th February 2013, 00:23   #334
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Default Day 13 #2: To Dunaujvaros

The hotel in Hungary, where we are staying is called Attila hotel. It named after Atilla the hun. The owner proudely claims that he is a descendent of Attila himself. He then asks me where am I from.
When I say Punjab, he hugs me. 2000 years ago, our ancestors were common. My branch came to loot and plunder India, while his branch ravaged Europe. So we were partners in crime.
With that he guides us to the dining room.
We have paid 100 EU for 3 nights (33 EU/night) for this hotel, and this includes both internet and breakfast.

So I am expecting 2 slices of bread, half an egg, and tea/coffee.

But seriously as I enter the dining room, I am very pleasantly shocked. The breakfast spread can feed the Attilas entire army.
So its time to hog.

Fear is coming to my belly, but.... I decide to anyways brave it all. After all I am the descendent of Attila. And descendents of Attila are not afraid of jumping out of heights. My wife, on the other hand, is too eager.

We go to the train station(this time a different one) to catch the train to DJ. I can't even pronounce it. Luckily I have it written on a piece of paper, and I just show it to the clerk, and ask for 2 return tickets.

We go to our platform, and the train is there. A helpful local tells us that the entire train will not go to DJ. Halfway they will throw half the train in a river, and only the other half will go to DJ.

So we go and sit in the half train which goes to DJ.
As the train moves, I nervously glance at the sky.
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If its cloudy, then we can't jump.

At around 12:30, we are at our destination. The skydiving guys had told us that it should not take more than 2000-2200 forents to get to the Airport, but rates we get a exhorbitant, ranging upto 5000 forent, with nobody keen on bargaining.

Finally an old man in a "city taxi" kind of radio taxi comes. He says he will charge us by km, and asks where is our destination.

We try to explain to him "Airport". but somehow, he keeps on thinking Budapest Airport.

How do we tell him that its DJ airport. I make some gestures, try to involve locals, then finally one of them understands, and talks to the driver in Hungarian.

Airfield, 2200 Forents. Says the taxi guy.
I saw okay and wonder. Airfield, airport.... whats the difference

When we reach, I understand.

It is an Airfield.

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Old 5th February 2013, 00:26   #335
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Default Day 13 #3: Jumping out of a perfectly good plane

There is a plane standing in the field. I feel scared just looking at it.
But look on the bright side. Even if it crashes, we will have the parachute.

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Near the fuel pump, there is another old aircraft. A 70s fighter probably?
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We reach the "office" which is actually a trailer and the lady greets us warmly. My first question. Is it going to be that yellow plane.

She laughs and tells us thats just a crop duster. Our plane will come soon. Weather is still holding, and we will make the jump.

Our pilots give us instructions on how to sit etc., while jumping out of plane. Its very simple. Do nothing. act like a dead body.

Cool, no issues.

And then the plane comes.

Its smaller than the yellow plane.
Its actually a 1 seater.

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So, five of us including the pilot will take of in a 1 seater, and then two of us will act like dead bodies as 4 jump out.

My wife is actually very excited. I, OTOH, try to mask my fear by grinning for no reason. As we get into the plane, I have grin that resembles Dracula.

The pilot revves the engines, and then releases the brakes.

The airfield is bumpy very bumpy.

Many moons ago I used to ride in KSRTC buses, the ride reminds me of that. Sometimes those buses ended up in ditches. I tried not to think too much of that.

So I just look outside, and try to enjoy the field rushing by. I have never ever taken off in field.

And soon, we are in the air.
The wind is strong, and there are some clouds.

But we climb. The engines groan under the load, and I can see that this little planes throttle as been pulled all the way back. Otherwise it won't really climb.

3000-4000-5000 we are climbing slowly, while my "pilot" tries to make some jokes, and I pretend to grin even more.

10,000 this is it... but we are in a cloud. So the pilot takes it to 11000.

And then he opens the door. Me and my pilot have to jump first, and he instructs me to put my feet outwards, and sit on his knees

I gather all my courage. Wind is rushing by my face at 200kmph, and as I look down, I see a "whirpool". The cloud has a whirpool like formation. We are going to jump into that. We are going to jump into the portal to hellllll!

And then I am weightless
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Old 5th February 2013, 01:26   #336
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

That last post is amazing Tanveer! One can really feel what transpired!

Good that you are back on this travelogue - This is going to be my reference when I do my driving trip of Europe. Tasted blood with a short London/Paris driving trip and now I want the full meal .
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Old 5th February 2013, 06:24   #337
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Great one Tanveer!! Happy to see you back on this log.

I am surprised how you were allowed to do it without any kind of training first?

Anyways this is what is called doing it. Keep it coming!!
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Old 5th February 2013, 11:07   #338
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

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Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post
Great one Tanveer!! Happy to see you back on this log.

I am surprised how you were allowed to do it without any kind of training first?

Anyways this is what is called doing it. Keep it coming!!
Tandem jumps do not requre any training. They just give you some instructions. But most do not remember much of the instructions. Its all upto your "pilot"
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Old 5th February 2013, 11:31   #339
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Default Re: Sonata Europa - 5 countries, 4000kms and 15 days

Now I understand when you mention what is meant by 'slow posting' in your Laddakh TL - 1 year and three months over and there's still 2.5 days that you need to cover at least!

Come'on! Pick up some speed Tanveer! I've started reading it and currently at 4th page, hoping to catch up by tomorrow (and hope that you complete it by then).
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Old 5th February 2013, 12:20   #340
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Default Re: Day 13 #1 : To Hungary

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
We woke up leisurly, finished up breakfast, got ready and checked out of our hotel. Today we will leave western Europe, and enter Eastern Europe. Compared to the west, the east was supposed to be wild and exciting. As east always is.

We return early to our hotel. Tomorrow is a big scary day when we have to jump out of a plane.
Finally, we resume. Thanks Tanveer!

BTW, just a suggestion. Next time onwards, try to take pictures of the food, if you think it is an exceptional menu, like the one you had at the hotel of descendent of Atila the Hun. Mobike008, has done it in his travelogue of Uttarakhand.

Last edited by shipnil : 5th February 2013 at 12:45.
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Old 5th February 2013, 12:32   #341
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Default Re: Day 13 #1 : To Hungary

Quote:
Originally Posted by shipnil View Post
Finally, we resume. Thanks Tanveer.

BTW, just a suggestion. Next time onwards, try to take pictures of the food, if you think it is an exceptional menu, like the one you had at the hotel of descendent of Atila the Hun. Mobile008, has done it in his travelogue of Uttarakhand.
The only thing I do with food is eat. However clicking it is an interesting suggestion.

I will proceed this at fast pace now, do not worry
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Old 5th February 2013, 12:36   #342
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Default Day 13 #4: Alive!

Weightlessness.
There is something in weightlessness, which cannot be simulated in a roller-coaster or any scary ride.

And to feel this for a few seconds, is truly amazing.

The wind is cold, the ground is rushing at us... and then its over.

The parachute opens. It really opens.

And we are floating above Hungarian countryside.

Few minutes later, we land on terra firma.

Alive and well.

My wife is with me a few minutes later.

Some experiences cannot be expressed in words. It had cost us 19000 INR(9500/PP) for this, and I can safetly say, this was more satisfying than anything else we had done in Europe!

We had jumped out of a plane!

I decide to hang out some more and click some pics
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ITs gotten cloudy, and the group after us will have to cancel!

Talk about lucky window in weather.

Our plane is also back on ground.
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The crop duster is still there. I doubt if this flies... Seems from WW1
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Bills and all paid, we take the taxi back to the station, and catch our train bacl.
Its 4pm when it finally arrives. It will sit here for 30 minutes.
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A pic from inside.
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Inside out outside... you tell
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The train starts moving, and finally by around 6 we are in Budapest.
We take the local train to our hotel.

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My cousin will be meeting us at the Buda castle,
Will not put much details of the festival here, but will post a few pics
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Last edited by tsk1979 : 5th February 2013 at 12:40.
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Old 5th February 2013, 12:44   #343
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Default Day 14 #1: Budapest - The parliament

We woke up late, as it usually happens after spending the night at festivities.
We had an entire town to see.

And guess what, the excitement was missing.

Budapest is grand, its historical, its marvelous, but underneath it all, its still developing. Unlike Austria, and Switzerland, you have to haggle, watch your back, watch your purse, try not to get mugged.... blah blah blah.

The public transport network is inadequate, and overall, the feel of the city is not very European. Its more eastern.

But that was not the reason for lack of excitement, atleast not fully.
There was also the sense of "ende".

It was our last day. The 14th day.

13 days we had toiled in Europe. We both had lost weight, walked so much as we do not walk in a whole year(not even on our trips).

So there was fatigue.

But then Budapest was waiting. So we had to go out.
This is the local tram.

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Like many other cities, metro, trams and buses interconnect to form a mesh in the city. One detail... Budapest metro is over a 100 years old!

Our first stop is the parliament.
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Its famous not just because its grand buy also because of this grave
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This is a symbolic grave, signifying the 1956 uprising against the Soviet union
For history buffs, here is the link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Hungarian_Revolution

More pics
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We lingered for a while here.. and then moved on, towards the St. Stephens Cathedral
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Old 5th February 2013, 15:30   #344
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Default Day 14 #2: The Saint Stephens Cathedral and some more!

We decided to walk the entire length(1.5kms)

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Walking gives you many interesting sights. Monuments and statues not even mentioned anywhere.

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Hungary may not be first world as the others... but you must give it to the hungarians... they know their culture and heritage.

The St. Stephens Cathedral
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It was probably the grandest Cathedral we saw in Europe
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Its almost half past 12 when we come out.
The city was waiting. And our next destination was the Buda Castle
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Old 5th February 2013, 15:35   #345
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Default Day 14 #3: Across the Danube, to the castle

The danube river cuts across Budapest, like it does in many other European cities. Its the lifeline of the region, and you can travel to vienna on the Danube, if you have time and money.

Both of them were in short supply, so instead of going to Vienna, we just decided to cross the Chain bridge, and go to the buda castle.

Some sights.
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As you can see, there are many "soviet" type statues here. Sure the old gods are there, but you see many relics of communism.

We did not have enough time, but if you do, a good place to see soviet era statues and such is the "Memento park". It has all the soviet ghosts you want.

As for us... we walked
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To the chain bridge
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It connects the two sides of Budapest. Buda and Pest.

Like most bridges, the bridge was bombed in WW2. So not just cathedrals, even bridges were bombed.

But this is not interesting. whats interesting is the story of the making of the chain bridge.

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Can you tell me whats wrong with the lion? Well it has no tongue. The sculptor forgot to make tongue, and then killed himself in shame.

From the bridge we can see towards the castles and the cathedrals
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The danube. Its passed through so many cities.. yet its clean
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Another closer look at our tongue less lion
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We climb the stairs towards the castle, and I take this pic
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That blue dome is the cathedral, towards the left is the parliament.... Imagine how much have we walked.

But Attilla's armies walked for days.. whats a few kms for us?
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Its close to two when we reach the castle.

The gardens
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Flag of EU and Hungary
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Even though a member state, Hungary does not use Euro, but forents. But in the shops many people will accept Euro.
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