solo travel

Brittny Does Europe: Budapest

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My last leg of my solo trip is to Budapest. My friend visited Budapest last year and told me how much I would love the city, which prompted me to book this trip altogether (as well as Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel). I stayed at a beautiful Airbnb in the heart of the city with had a desk by the window with a gorgeous view of the city. It was the perfect spot for a writer. 

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The first night I walked around the neighborhood and witnessed the city's breathtaking skyline. 

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Budapest is split by two cities Buda and Pest. I decided to take a day tour of the Buda side where I visited the Fisherman's Bastion, Buda Castle, Matthias Church, and the Holy Trinity Statue. 

This is a statue of Andras Hadik. Allegedly, if you rub the horse's testicles you receive good luck. I did not test this theory so I'm not sure if it's completely true or not. 

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I loved the architect of the Fisherman's Bastion and decided to take a selfie but each time I attempted, tourists kept getting in the photo. I settle on cropping the photo.

The big part of this trip was trying as much local food as I could. I had Hungarian beef stew with a delicious duck liver spread. Never thought I'd have duck liver and enjoy it.

Locals made me aware that you're not Hungarian until you take a shot of Palinka. 
I of course had to test it out. It tasted like rubbing alcohol and I had to wash the taste away with coke, but now I'm Hungarian. 

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Toured the Pest side of the city (the area of which I stayed) and visited the Hungarian Parliament, Soviet 2nd WW II memorial, St.Stephen's Basilica and a statue of Ronald Reagan (?!?). 

I wish I had stayed a few more days to squeeze in a visit to a bath house and to experience the legendary Budapest nightlife. 

However, overall I had a fantastic time visiting Eastern Europe-- cities I never thought I'd see in my life. And now I have the itch of figuring out where my next solo trip will take me. Maybe somewhere in South America, Asia, or South Africa. Any suggestions?

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Brittny Does Europe: Vienna + Salzburg

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After my eventful time in Prague, it was off to Vienna, Austria. I embarked on a 4 1/2 hour train ride from Prague to Vienna, which I mostly slept on. I spent the first day being lazy and eating at a Lebanese/Italian restaurant. The following day I went on a walking tour of the city and saw what Vienna had to offer. During the tour, we saw Hofburg Palace which was the birthplace of Marie Antionette, Parliament, and their gorgeous National Library. 

I went on a day trip to Salzburg which was about 3 hours west of Vienna. I wish I took pictures of the rest stop restaurant we stopped at because it looked like an euro Cracker Barrel which I didn't even know was humanly possible. Also, no one told me Salzburg would be hella cold and rainy compared to the nice weather in Vienna. With just a sweatshirt to keep me warm, I was cold and damp for most of the day. 

While in Salzburg, I visited where Mozart lived. His childhood home was a small little museum that showed sheet music he composed, his pianos he had over the years, love letters he sent his wife and other cool things he owned during his lifetime. I can't say I'm well versed in Mozart's music other than his famous songs, but Amadeus is one of my favorite movies (which was filmed in Prague and I saw some of the filming locations while on my Prague city tour). There was a second home over the little river where Mozart's family lived once he made money for the family to afford a bigger place to live. However, the building is a replica as the original was destroyed during World War II. 

Salzburg is also well known for the Von Trapp home and is where many of the iconic scenes of the Sound of Music were filmed. Unfortunately, I didn't see their home but did visit most of the filming locations of the Sound of Music. I have so many fond memories of watching the film and Broadway show with my family growing up that it was surreal to walk the same paths as Julie Andrews. The only time I wish I wasn't alone on my trip was this time so I could have reenacted the "Do Re Mi" scene on the steps. 

One of my favorite moments was this sweet Dutch lady telling me, "You have a special President in America," she said.  "I just loved Barack and Michelle Obama, I really miss them." GIRL, me too! 

Brittny Does Europe: Prague

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Last year on a whim, I decided to purchase a cheap round trip ticket and traveled to Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels on my own. It was freeing, and liberating to be able to travel to several countries on my own, not knowing the native languages, and to figure it out all on my own. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to take another solo trip and visit some more new countries I've never been to before. Since last Saturday, I've been touring Eastern Europe and seeing part of the world I never thought I'd see. Aside from traveling and broadening my horizons, this trip was to self reflect, and understand the woman I am becoming in my thirties. But enough of that sappy stuff, let's see what I did at my first stop, Prague, Czech Republic. 

The moment I stepped out of the train station into Prague, I was amazed by the architecture. The buildings were stunning and meticulous with how they were structured, every detail creating such gorgeous architecture that was simply breathtaking. I'm such an American that seeing such gorgeous, old style buildings resembled something almost unreal to me; I had stepped into Disney World, where they have fantasy buildings and sets to make you believe you're in New York City in the 1920's.

Aside from roaming around the city and understanding my "home" for a few days, I did some shopping. I couldn't help myself, especially since there were two malls near where I was staying. The most important item I purchased was an Adidas sweatshirt which was highly needed during the evening. My bomber jacket wasn't going to keep me warm with the low 60 degree temperatures at night. 

During my second day, I toured the old and new city of Prague, where I saw most of the Prague Castle and the famous Charles Bridge. 

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I even had my own Britney Spears "Slave 4 U" moment with a yellow python. It was cute and fun at first, but then the head started getting closer to my face and all I could think about was the movie Anaconda and how my life could come to an end at any moment. (mind you, there was also a giant snake behind me as well.) It was quite possible.

 

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My last full day in Prague I went to the Museum Kampa which had an Manolo Blahnik exhibit, showing off some of his most iconic shoes, drawings, and even some costumes from the film Marie Antoinette, which he was the head shoe designer for. I had died and gone to shoe heaven. I felt I was finally becoming Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't take home all the fabulous shoes, but at least I was in the same proximity of them. 

As a big Beatles fan, I visited the John Lennon Wall, a long wall with graffiti drawings and words inspired by love, peace, and happiness. With the current political climate in America, it was nice to escape the madness and take in some positivity, and sing joyous songs with complete strangers. (Shout out to my Kate Spade purse that found its way into most of my pics.)