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Monday, 16 September 2013

Euro Trip

I am back from my little vacation. Ten days around some beautiful cities and it wasn't enough. This is my way of understanding the theory of relativity - time is not a constant and it moves in different ways, depending on the situation. I've been working for two hours, but it seems like much more and on the other hand twelve hours in Vienna are like two regular hours.
Hofburg Palace at night
Hofburg Palace
It's wonderful to travel. Meeting people from other countries, learning about their history, seeing all the various architectural styles. It's amazing. Many people prefer to spend their vacations lying in bed or on some beach, doing nothing. That's not the way for me.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page". St. Augustine

Vienna

That's the city I admired most. From all the other places this is the capital with the richest architecture, with the most beautiful buildings. When you see all these colossal structures surrounding you, you understand how rich the Austro-Hungarian Empire was. And what grabbed me the most? Gee... that's a though one. The first thing we visited was Belvedere palace. Pretty massive and with all the fountains, the white façade, the rich ornaments, the statues. I was in a fairytale. Even the doors to the castle were with statues of gold and you know something wonderful is waiting for you inside.
Belvedere palace
But that was nothing compared to Schönbrunn Palace - probably the biggest attraction in the city. I can't describe the size of it. It's so huge it would probably take you a day or two to see every part of it. First you get inside and visit all the rooms. Unfortunately I couldn't take any pictures from inside, but you can google it. It's really something you don't see every day. These people had money.
Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace
Then it's the "backyard". You got your maze, labyrinth, zoo (yup), massive gardens, statues. It took me twenty minutes to climb to the top building, but that was not the end. The size of it is absurd.
I don't have time to talk about every sight I've seen there. There will probably be a different article for every city here. But here are the other things that amazed me - St. Stephens´s Cathedral, the tallest building in the whole city, so majestic and beautiful; the Rathhaus - this is the building where the mayor and the city council are. Are you kidding me? This building is so epic, it should be for royalty only. Hofburg Palace - here is where the president lives, but is also the place where the most powerful emperors of Austria lived. You will recognize it as the place, where Hitler announced World War 2. Museum of Art History and Hundertwasserhaus are also some of my top Vienna sights.

Bratislava

Bratislava Castle
After all the architectural masterpieces in Vienna, it was really pleasant for the eyes to see something smaller, simpler, yet really beautiful in it's way. I really enjoyed Bratislava, If I had the chance, I would stay for at least two more days. Even if it's the capital, it's not that crowded, not that buzzy.
First we start with the Bratislava Castle. I liked the view from there. You can see the Danube and the unique bridges connecting the two sides. One of the bridges even has a restaurant on top. The castle itself... well it looks good, but I was kind of disappointed it wasn't rebuilt with the original windows and looks. It would be far more attractive. Yet, it is a beautiful building with a beautiful park. You can see it even 20 kilometres outside the city, like a ghost structure - white and glowing.


But that's not all - St. Martin’s Cathedral is next on the list. There is also the Palace, the Town Hall, the Grassalkovich Palace (where the President lives), St. Michael's Gate and Street. They might all sound strange to you, but are worth the visit. Add the fun statues around the city, where you can make pictures with (the pervert peeking from the manhole, the Napoleon soldiers), the small shops selling souvenirs, the Danube... it all makes one beautiful picture.

Krakow

The capital of Poland. The sad thing is we didn't have enough time to visit everything (not that it's possible), but we had 3 or 4 hours for the whole city. That's really not enough. Yet, we saw most of the things in the historical centre.
Wavel Cathedral
Wavel Hill was the first stop. And it's absolutely understandable - with the Wavel Cathedral as the top attraction you just have to visit it. It's one of the most amazing structures around. This is where kings were crowned and buried. But it's not only the Cathedral - the whole hill is amazing. And the view from there is something worth seeing, too.
Then you go to the main street - Every building is somehow important for history. If you have the right tour guide he/she can talk for hours and you will need more than a day. I won't clutter you with information, but you should visit Krakow. And definitely go to the Church of Virgin Mary.

Wieliczka Salt mine

The reason we didn't have so much time for Krakow was Wieliczka Salt mine. We entered an extraordinary new place. For about three hours we saw something you don't see every day. We entered the shaft and walked 64 meters straight down. The air was cooler, cleaner. Everything was darker. You see how hard it was for people to work there. But they did not only work there - they lived in the shafts, too. Every worker lived for 12 years underground. That's just absurd. But they made a masterpiece of tunnels.
Of course the most amazing thing is the St. Kinga's Chapel. Imagine a church made out of rocks, 100 metres underground, with bright lights, statues and everything one Catholic church should have. You just can't realize what you are seeing at first. After walking hours in the tunnels and then you see this bright masterpiece. We even saw a wedding there.

Like I said, I can't put everything in one article, so most probably I will do different ones with time. There are even more cities to add, but now it's not the right moment. And for finishing words - 
"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang