In case you missed it, I’m currently traveling through Europe, exploring hidden corners and must-see spots in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the UK. I’ve been posting daily updates from my adventures on Facebook and Twitter, but in case you missed some of those, I’ve also decided to put together a weekly round-up to update anyone who’s interested on what I’ve been up to for the past 7-ish days.

Here we go with Week 1!

 

Day 1

My adventure began in beautiful Budapest, where I stayed with a lovely local woman named Maria in a spare bedroom that I found through Roomorama. I purposely arrived to Budapest 2 days before my Intrepid Travel trip began in order to explore Hungary’s capital a bit. I could have easily spent 2 weeks there and would still have had things to discover!

Budapest

Pest, as seen from across the Danube.

Day 2

I walked. And walked. And walked. I crossed 3 of Budapest’s bridges (the Margaret, Chain, and Elizabeth), rode a funicular, explored Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion, enjoyed strolling along the Danube, and even checked out the famous Szimpla ruin bar in the daylight hours. And I took a LOT of pictures.

(For more of those photos, check out my Budapest photo essay.)

Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest

Fisherman’s Bastion

Gellert Funicular, Budapest

Gellert Funicular

The Danube, Budapest

The Danube

Day 3

After transferring to the hotel where I would later meet my 3 Intrepid tour mates, I set out up Andrassy Avenue, bound for Heroes Square and the Szechenyi Bath and Spa. After soaking for a few hours at the beautiful bath, I met up with my tour group for dinner, and then hit the Danube for an hour-long narrated river cruise after dark.

Heroes Square, Budapest

Heroes Square. It used to include a few Habsburgs, but they were removed after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Szechenyi Baths, Budapest

The Szechenyi Baths

Budapest

Hungarian Parliament illuminated at night

Day 4

Officially the first day of my Intrepid Travel trip, my group and I headed to the train station and caught a morning train to the town of Eger in northeastern Hungary. While Eger is cute and colorful and boasts a nice hilltop castle, the region’s real draw is its vast collection of wine cellars in The Valley of the Beautiful Women. After dinner, we went on a short “cellar crawl” (like a pub crawl, but with wine) through the valley, tasting some local specialties and chatting up a guy who turned out to be one of the biggest TV producers in Hungary.

Eger, Hungary

Eger from above

Eger Castle

Eger Castle

Eger, Hungary

A street in Eger

The Valley of the Beautiful Women, Eger

The Valley of the Beautiful Women

Eger

Wine tasting in a cellar in Eger

Day 5

From Eger, we took a bus ride to the gorgeous town of Debrecen, where we had a few hours to explore before taking a train across the border into Romania. From the train station, we took a mini bus to the rural region of Maramures, where we would stay for 2 nights at a fabulous local home stay in the traditional village of Vadu Izei.

Debrecen, Hungary

Colorful Debrecen

Romania

Crossing the Romanian border by train

Romania

Rural Romania

Vadu Izei, Romania

The view from my balcony in Vadu Izei

Day 6

Today was spent exploring all the amazing things Maramures has to offer. We began the morning with a visit to Merry Cemetery, a UNESCO World Heritage site where colorful gravestones tell the stories of the dead through pictures and poems. We then had a picnic in the Romanian countryside, visited a UNESCO-recognized painted wooden church in Budesti, met woodcarvers, and got a glimpse into a traditional Romanian home. The long day was rounded out by a visited to Barsana Monastery.

Merry Cemetery, Romania

Crosses in Merry Cemetery

Romania

Our picnic spot

Budesti Wooden Church, Romania

Budesti Wooden Church, built in 1643

Budesti Wooden Church, Romania

Inside Budesti Wooden Church

Romania

Inside a traditional Romanian room

Barsana Monastery

Barsana Monastery complex

Day 7

We left Vadu Izei before 5 a.m. in order to catch a mini bus and then an 8-hour train ride to the medieval town of Sighisoara, Romania. This fortified fairytale town is full of old, old buildings and a lot of stories. It’s the birthplace of Vlad Tepes (AKA Dracula), and has an interesting Saxon history. We went up the town’s clock tower for some nice views, walked up to an old gothic church on the hill, and enjoyed strolling the colorful, cobbled streets.

Sighisoara, Romania

The main square in Sighisoara

Sighisoara, Romania

View from the clock tower

Sighisoara, Romania

Sighisoara, Romania

 

The Week in Numbers

Each week, I’ll try to give you an idea of how I’m traveling, and what things generally cost.

  • Number of flights: 3
  • Number of trains: 3
  • Number of buses: 1
  • Number of mini buses: 3
  • Number of taxis/shuttles: 4
  • Number of times it’s rained: 2
  • A meal in Hungary: $8-$16 USD
  • Gellert Funicular (one-way): $3.75 USD
  • Entry to Szechenyi Bath: $15 USD
  • Hour-long narrated Danube cruise: $17 USD (student)
  • A meal in Romania: $3-$7 USD
  • Using a train station toilet in Romania: $0.30 USD
  • Photo license at Merry Cemetery: $1.50 USD
  • Entry to Sighisoara clock tower: $0.70 USD (student)

*Note: I’m not quoting the price of accommodation, as it’s all been included so far. Also, I’ve been getting student discounts here and there; the regular adult price would be higher.

Romania

So there you have Week 1 of my European adventure! Come back next week for Week 2′s round-up.

If there’s anything more you want to know about my weeks, tell me in the comments!

 

*Another note: Intrepid Travel has graciously provided me with a complimentary 18-day tour through Eastern Europe. But all opinions, as always, are entirely my own.

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53 Responses to Euro Trip Week 1 Round-Up

  1. Wow, Amanda, that’s a lot of amazing things and it’s only been Week 1! Can’t wait to see the rest of your time in Eastern Europe! Great photos as always! I’m so bummed I missed out on Budapest when I was at that side of the world. There’s always a next time!
    Antoinette B. recently posted..Hanging with the Dearly Departed at Bonaventure Cemetery

  2. Arti says:

    Wow! I have never been to Europe and it seems that you have captured all its splendour and beauty in your shots. What beautiful scenes, waiting eagerly for more.
    Arti recently posted..My Yatra Diary Goes International!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hopefully I’ll be able to do this every week, to share some of my favorite shots and experiences with you.

  3. Looks like a great Week 1! 18 days with Intrepid sounds like loads fun especially in Eastern Europe. I’m dying to explore this part of Europe. :)
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..6 Months of Travel and Fall 2012 Plans

    • DangerousBiz says:

      We’re about a week in, and it’s been great so far. I’m really liking the Intrepid style of travel, and am looking forward to writing about it – it definitely isn’t your average guided tour of Europe! And Eastern Europe is just blowing me away…

  4. Genevieve says:

    These are beautiful photos. I can’t wait to see Eastern Europe. One day.
    Genevieve recently posted..Sapa

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thank you! If you get the chance to come to this part of Europe anytime soon, definitely do it! It’s lovely.

  5. Looks like your staying busy & having too much fun! Keep up the good work, I’m enjoying reading all about your Eastern adventures! Will you recap what the weather is like? Mostly sunny with a little rain, are you always wearing a light jacket? That sort of thing? Thank you!
    Heathers Harmony recently posted..Sandusky has Real Problems but that Doesn’t Mean I can’t Vent too, Right?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Staying way too busy some days! Lol. But yes, also having lots of fun.

      The weather has been mostly hot and sunny. A bit cooler up in the Romanian mountains, but I’ve really only worn a jacket on two days – once in Eger when it rained and was chilly, and another time in rural Romania on a day when it was cooler in the shade. It’s getting hotter the farther south we go though!

  6. Jeff Dobbins says:

    Amanda, This tour looks amazing! I love Budapest (particularly the Szechenyi Baths, which left me weak in the knees – as in very relaxed), but now I’m fired up to get to Romania. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Jeff Dobbins recently posted..Murray Hall: Tough Guy…with a Twist

    • DangerousBiz says:

      This tour IS amazing. I can’t wait to write about it all; it’s far exceeded all my expectations. I can’t sing Intrepid Travel enough praises at this point

      And yes, go to Romania! It’s an AMAZING country!

  7. Rachel says:

    Great recap, looking forward to hearing about where you head next! And thanks for highlighting some other parts of Hungary–I loved Budapest and hope I can explore more of the country one day.
    Rachel recently posted..Photo essay – Ennerdale, Lake District

    • DangerousBiz says:

      This tour has been a great way to see both some of the bigger cities, as well as the more remote areas of each country we’re traveling through.

  8. Juliann says:

    The pictures are gorgeous. I love the colors! I’d never considered Budapest as a destination before, but think I’ll reconsider. Meanwhile, tell us more about your Roomorama experience. Good?
    Juliann recently posted..I’m Not Wafflin’ — I Want A Waffle!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You should DEFINITELY reconsider Budapest as a destination!! It was lovely!

      And yes, the Roomorama experience was great! I’ll get a review up eventually. :)

  9. Alinda says:

    What an amazing week! These photos are absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing the “Week in Numbers” too.
    I can’t wait to read more about your trip! You’re definitely an inspiration :)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Well check back every Friday or Saturday for the next 7 weeks, and hopefully there will be more updates like this! I’m glad you’re following along. :)

  10. Christina says:

    Sounds like you’re super-busy, Amanda! Loved that photo of the baths. Happy travels and look forward to seeing you soon. London, baby!
    Christina recently posted..New Zealand: 5 museums you should visit

  11. Wow, you are having a blast!! It is incredible what can be done in a week. My favorite phots are the ones from the town of Sighisoara.
    Ruth (Tanama Tales) recently posted..Taking the Plunge: Getting Under a Massive Waterfall

    • DangerousBiz says:

      It seems like it’s been much longer than a week when I think back on everything we’ve done! But that’s a good thing.

      And yes, Sighisoara was such a photogenic city. I’ll definitely be doing a photo post on it in the future!

  12. Jeff Titelius says:

    What a fantastic itinerary filled with so many sights and tours! Your photography is stunning my friend!! The nighttime cruise must have been enchanting to say the least!! I really look forward to the rest of your eastern European adventure!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..Guided Tour to the Tuscan Hilltop Town of Pienza, Italy

  13. cindy says:

    It all looks fabulous, but I especially love the smaller towns you have been visiting – they look like something out of a story book! And I’ve added Merry Cemetery and the Barsana Monastery to my bucket list – I’d never heard of them before, but they look just wonderful!

    Looking forward to more of your travels.
    cindy recently posted..Photo Thursday: Scaffolding on the Colorado State Capitol

    • DangerousBiz says:

      This tour is a nice mixture of bigger cities and small villages, which I love. I’ll definitely be writing more about some of the villages, as well as more about Merry Cemetery, so stay tuned!

  14. I can’t believe how colorful it is there, I had no idea this region was so beautiful.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I had no idea, either! I’m quickly learning that I actually had no clue what Romania truly looked like. Lol.

  15. Memographer says:

    Such a great adventure! Love the photos! My favorite is “Wine tasting”
    Memographer recently posted..Salzburg: Mirabell Palace in Polaroids

  16. Peter says:

    It seems that you are really very busy, even if you are just getting started with your trip. I guess that it was just the right place to start your tour.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, very busy indeed! But that’s a good thing for now. I’d rather be busy while traveling than bored!

  17. Ali says:

    Sounds like you’re having a great time! I love all the photos, looks like such a beautiful part of Europe. Eastern Europe – inching its way up on my list of places to see soon!
    Ali recently posted..Heidelberg Castle Still Guarding Its Walls

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Ali, you are so close to Eastern Europe that you’d be silly not to explore a bit of it on your own! So far, everywhere we’ve been has been pretty great – definitely an underrated part of the world! And the best part? It’s super affordable!

  18. What did you think of the wine?
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Off the Backpacker Trail in Tarija

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I don’t really drink (as in, I don’t drink at all), but I did have a few sips of some different wines. And I will say I did not hate the Bull’s Blood.

  19. Ayngelina says:

    Wow week 1 looks like such a whirlwind! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Haleakala Sunrise

  20. You sure had a full week! It all sounds wonderful. I love the Merry Cemetery and the beautiful green rolling hills.
    Debbie @ European Travelista recently posted..Yin and Yang of Life in Innsbruck

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Very full! Check back next week, when I’m going to write more about Merry Cemetery AND the Romanian countryside! :)

  21. Jenna says:

    Wow, Amanda, what an amazing trip you are having. Great photos, too. A lot of your experiences remind me of home stays and village stays i had in the Czech Republic in the late 90s. It is always so wonderful and eye-opening to really meet the local people.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I get the feeling not a whole lot has changed in parts of Romania since the late 90s. ;) Well except a few more tourists and more satellite dishes. Lol. It’s been a really good trip so far though!

  22. Dana says:

    It seemed like a great adventure! The route through Romania it’s a great one and we’re happy you enjoyed our beautiful country. Next time you come, there are a lot of other places worth discovering / exploring, such as the Danube Delta or the painted monasteries of Bucovina… :)

  23. Vi says:

    It seems you are have great trip so far :)
    Vi recently posted..Flying into London for the Olympics?

  24. joshua says:

    hey there, what camera do you use? your photos are amaazing!

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