When I found out that I was getting stationed in Italy, I immediately salivated at the countless travel opportunities that would be available to me and Rac. You see, Me and Rac have this crazy goal of visiting 100 countries and my 3-year tour in Italy would immensely help us reach that goal as a lot of countries are clustered together and most of Europe have open borders when traveling.
As soon as I got to my base, I quickly asked about where everybody has been already and they quickly told me about NikkiTours. NikkiTours is a travel company operated by a US military dependent named, you guessed it, Nikki. She organizes various tours all across Europe. I then signed up for her newsletter and found out that she was going to do a Budapest, Hungary and Vienna, Austria trip over the weekend. Two countries over one weekend? I was in! Me and some guys from work signed up and at last Friday came.. We were off!
For the price of 165 euro, all transportation, lodging and some of the meals were covered. This was a great deal since flying or taking the train would’ve been too expensive. Add the cost of lodging, entrance fees and tour guides and we realized that this was a steal!
We met up around 2000 on Friday to begin our journey. I purchased an extra seat for 25 euro since I knew that we were spending quite some time on the bus. After crossing Slovenia and Austria, we finally arrived in Hungary at around 0630. We stopped at a local McDonalds for a quick breakfast. After recharging our batteries, we headed over to Hero’s Square to meet our tour guide. Apparently, Hungary was the Rome of its time while occupying a good part of Europe. The square had sculptures of Hungary’s ancient founders and leaders. We then headed over to __ where there were three churches that were exact replicas of different churches in Hungary. They were all made in different styles. The first one was Gothic, then Baroque and then Rococo. After this, we headed back to the bus to visit another old church.
After a late lunch, we headed to our hotel to check-in. Me and my friends then decided to go to the nearest mall just to check it out. We had some beers and coffee which were super cheap by European standards. After getting back to the hotel we were all exhausted but since dinner was in a couple of hours, we just had to relax for a little bit and we were off again. We had dinner at a traditional Hungarian grill. There was plenty of food but best of all it was unlimited alcohol! We probably finished off more than 8 bottles of champagne! After dinner, we started our Pub Crawl across Budapest. For those if you who don’t know, a Pub Crawl is when a group visits several bars for about 30 minutes before moving to the next one. Needless to say, after the fifth bar, we were feeling pretty good. It was about 0230 when we decided to call it a night. We had another busy day planned the next day after all.
After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we then headed for Vienna, Austria. After about 4 hours on the bus, we finally got there. I was really blown away by the architecture in Vienna. Like most old European cities, everything was well preserved. After an awesome lunch at a local grill, we then ventured off to see the sites. Since we had limited time in the city, we decided to hire a horse and carriage to take us around town. I will let the pictures to the talking..
Finally, it was time to head home. After some rest stops and dinner on the road, we finally got back around 2100. All in all, it was an awesome experience visiting 2 countries in one weekend. We are definitely looking forward to more tours with Nikki in the near future! Here’s some more pictures..