Around Europe by Train: Part 1 (Budapest & Vienna)

If you decide to go away on vacation for one month, as we did, be prepared to have a ton of work piled up waiting for you.

This was my case, at least, but I finally managed to find the time to publish my first update in a series of… few about the vacation itself and the places that we visited.

Yes, I know that this blog should be about Romania only, but maybe once you move in here you will want to follow in our footsteps and do a similar vacation. It’s really worth it!

We’ll start with the first two stops: Budapest and Vienna. We spent three nights in each and they were so different now when I look back at everything that I just can’t believe it.


I was sure that Budapest was going to be one of the worst cities that we have on our list and, boy, I was wrong!

Budapest was actually so surprising, so beautiful, so amazing, that actually ended up as one of my most favorite destinations and clearly a city (or, better said, a country – Hungary) that must be visited again!

We booked our stay through AirBnb and we were really lucky with the apartment: it was very modern inside, but in an old building, right in the heart of Budapest, near the Oktogon metro station and within walking distance to some of the attractions in the city center. Plus, Hooters was just around the corner. Ha!

Budapest Studio
Budapest Studio Kitchen

What I liked the most about Budapest was the fact that you can just go walking down the streets and you’d have a ton to see. The old buildings with impressive facades, with columns and that old charm… that was something that I had absolutely loved about Budapest!

Plus, the fact that it’s so filled with history and awesomeness that you can simply go out for a walk and end up in one of the most amazing areas ever.

I say that from my own experience: one afternoon, I told my wife we should go for a short walk. “Yes, we’re just going around the building, no need to take the camera with us!”

Rookie traveler mistake #1 as we ended up in an amazing park with some of the most impressive statues I have ever seen and eventually reached a fairy-tale caste – the Vajdahunyad Castle, pictured below.

Vajdahunyad Castle in Budapest
I took this with my cell phone. Everything was way more beautiful, though.

We also visited the Zoo – which is really impressive and Eric (you know him as Baby Romanian from previous articles) really loved it.

We went there a bit too early, because Junior woke us up at 6:30 AM EVERY DAY… so some of the animals were still sleeping and attractions closed, but it was still a really fun experience.

Asian section at the Budapest Zoo
My son enjoying the Budapest Zoo
Eric was fascinated by water, fountains and statues. The animals – not so much!
Giraffes at the zoo in Budapest
This giraffe cam all the way to the fence looking for food. We had none for her, though…
Fun at the zoo
They even had Dinosaurs there!

We also rode a funicular for the first time ever to visit the Buda Castle. Impressive, huge and, in my opinion, impossible to defeat back in the days, no matter where the attackers came from.

the Funicular in Budapest
The funicular. Quite a ride!
view of Budapest from above
And the view from up there.
the Buda Castle
amazing views
They had to climb a bit if they wanted to conquer this castle.

If you’re a zombies fan like myself, you’ll know, once you see it, that it’s the perfect place to be in when the zombie apocalypse strikes.

Prices were really low, way less than what I had expected. Restaurant prices were close to what we have in Romania (which makes them really low), but some supermarket products were way cheaper, including organic food and baby products and food.

delicious food in Budapest
The food that I ate at the restaurant across the street from Hooters. (In case you were wondering – no, I didn’t go to Hooters.)

All in all, I really enjoyed my time in Budapest – it was a pleasant surprise for me, a big surprise and I am happy we didn’t skip our stay here as I initially wanted.


our train to Austria
The train that took us from Budapest to Vienna.

After Budapest’s extremely pleasant surprise, an unpleasant one came from Vienna. I’ve been here a bit over 10 years ago and I know I loved it a lot.

Things were completely different now, when I was welcomed to a city where green spaces have been taken over by buildings and invaded by people.

Following the relaxed, chill vibe we were getting in Budapest (and found in most of the other cities too), people in Vienna seemed to always be in a hurry.

They didn’t smile, they seemed stressed and upset. It reminded me a lot of Bucharest, with the suffocating concrete jungle and probably that’s why I didn’t like it that much.

beautiful patio area in Vienna
I did love the small patio that our AirBnb rental had – we brought our own food and nature did the rest!

I went there with two goals in mind: visit the Madame Tussaud’s museum and the Schonbrunn area, including the zoo. And that we did – and had an amazing time in the process!

Schonbrunn is absolutely fabulous – we chose not to visit the castle itself as I had already been there and our kid would not find it that enjoyable, so instead we decided to explore and enjoy the park and the Zoo.

We spent an entire day there – probably around 8 hours – Eric even took a nap out there in the nature in his mother’s arms, and we still didn’t get to see it all. But it’s truly spectacular and enough of a reason to visit Vienna.

Vienna gardens
more Vienna gardens
Schonnbrun fountain

And I also loved Madame Tussaud’s!

the next king of England
yours truly and Lady Gaga
fun at Madame Tussauds in Vienna

Still, I left Vienna with a bitter taste. It was way below expectations, it was dirty, it was chaotic and it even smelled bad everywhere, especially in the subway trains. But, I filled up on Asian food (I am a fan and we have none in the city I live in), so I won’t call it a compete failure.

cheap food in Vienna
6.5 Euros for all that. Yum!

In part two (coming sooner than this one – hopefully), we’ll talk about Munchen, Verona and Trieste. Make sure to check it out if you want to know how our adventure continued.

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