Heading south from Hungary, I met up with friends in Novi Sad, Serbia. An annual music festival called EXIT is held there every summer, drawing ten of thousands of revelers from across Europe. We also explored the capital of Belgrade. Having been bombed by both the Germans and Allies, its city streets reveal an interesting mix of architecture and urban art. I was also intrigued by this car called the Trabant. Manufactured in East Germany, its roof, trunk lid, hood, fenders, and doors are made of a hard plastic. Notorious for its poor two-stroke engine performance, the Trabant has no gas gauge. Instead, a dip stick is used to check the level. Over 3 million were produced and they are now sought after by car collectors.
As I reflect on my travels thus far, I feel a joy for the common bonds of humanity. The simple pleasures of food and drink, of family, friends and the outdoors. I'm starting to feel comfortable living on the road. I may not understand the language, but I am connecting with the people. I look forward to the road ahead with a spirit of adventure.
From Belgrade, I left for Turkey, having been invited by a new friend I made while on the Camino in Spain. We planned to camp and hike along the Turquoise Coast, but that's another story to come.
Buda and Pest were two cities separated by the Danube. Buda, situated on the hill to the West and Pest across the river below. In 1873, the two cities were united to become Budapest. A physical connection between banks, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge opened in 1849. At the time of its construction, the Chain Bridge was the second-largest suspension span in the world. Near its terminus on the western bank, a funicular still operates, transporting up to 24 passengers to the castle above using the weight of the second car as a counter balance.
Known as the city of spas, Budapest offers a number of facilities to soak in the warmth of underground thermal springs. The Széchenyi Baths (Széchenyi fürdő) boasts over a dozen medicinal pools and is one of the largest public baths in Europe. Featuring Neo-Baroque architecture, it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. You can spend the entire day at the baths for 4,300 HUF (roughly $18USD). In addition to the large outdoor pools, there are also indoor pools, saunas, and massages offered (for an additional cost).