Goodbye Bangkok

10 08 2009
Sukhumvit culture mix

Sukhumvit culture mix

We recieved our China visas and plane tickets , so we will be leaving Bangkok later tonight for Beijing.  We have taken care of our logistical things (sending packages home, downloading photos, making reservations, getting tickets, etc.) and spent more than enough time here in the bustling city of Bangkok.  Aside from the noticeable seedy reasons that many foreigners visit Bangkok, the city is nonetheless pretty interesting, but we are glad to be moving on.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Eger, Hungary

11 06 2009
Eger

Eger

Eger is a town in northern Hungary, known for its castle and location in a wine producing area.  The castle is famous as an important fortress during the Turkish invasions of Hungary.  In 1552, during the legendary of the Siege of Eger by the Ottoman Turks, Istvan Dobo and 2,000 people (including women, who are memorialized for pouring boiling water and pitch on the attackers) are said to have held off a Turkish force of 80,000.  Another legend says that Dobo fortified his defenders with the red wine that comes from the region.  The legends says the defeated Turks claimed the defenders were drinking bulls blood when they saw their red stained beards and encountered stiff resistance from the defenders.  Thus the local wine is now called Egri Bikavér (Bulls Blood).

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Bratislava

9 05 2009
Bratislava

Bratislava

We made it out of Hungary slightly delayed by a train strike, but no worse off for it. We spent a day in the Slovakian  capital of Bratislava, before heading up the Vah River valley.  Bratislava has a nice downtown with another well connected light rail system and a pedestrian core.  The main castle was under reconstruction, but we walked around the city and visited a national museum.  From the castle, we had views of the Danube river and of the plains in Hungary and Austria to the south, where we saw many modern wind turbines for electricity generation. Read the rest of this entry »





Sighişoara

2 05 2009
Orthodox church

Orthodox church

We took another day trip from our comfortable base in Braşov up north to the town of Sighişoara.  It was a three hour train ride through more of the rolling hills of the Romanian countryside.  We often saw horse-drawn wagons, old-fashioned domed mounds of grass (kept in fields or near barns) and many small farms as we passed by in the train. Sighişoara is another historical Saxon village similar to Braşov in that the original medieval core of the city is surrounded by walls and bastion towers associated with the various trade guilds, but this village is perched up on a hillside with great views of the surrounding river valley and forested hillsides.   Read the rest of this entry »





Brno

23 04 2009
Cathedral in Brno

Cathedral in Brno

We got to Brno late in the day from our late bus from Telč.  We had a hard time finding a place to stay that night and ended up in a $100 hotel. Yikes, that is way above our budget.  Fortunately we found a cheaper place the next day.  Brno is a fairly large city  in Moravia, the eastern part of the Czech Republic, with many old buildings.  Unlike Prague, the older buildings are mixed in with some newer and more modern buildings, but they all fit together well visually. They also have a similar system for the public transit as in Prague, with above-ground trams providing easy access for travelers on foot, like us. Read the rest of this entry »





Prague city planning

16 04 2009
Awesome multi-modal transit

Awesome multi-modal transit

In addition to beautiful architecture, Prague also has a great integrated public transportation system.  Users can purchase tickets for the amount of time they plan to use the system in increments of 30 minutes, 75 minutes, one day or long-term passes for residents.   This provides access to the underground subway and the above-ground trams.  There are no turnstiles, instead, users are expected to get their passes stamped upon entry to the subway or onto the bus after purchasing tickets at conveniently located vending machines.  This increases the efficiency of the system and eliminates lines at turnstile bottlenecks and ensures that tram drivers do not need to check tickets.   Plus, the ticket prices are very reasonable. Read the rest of this entry »





Buenos Aires

11 04 2009
Tango dancers in the street- will dance for tips

Tango dancers in the street- will dance for tips

We have been lucky to have been to this great city before, so this time we didn’ t spend as much time (or money) as we did our first time here.  It is Santa Semana here, and many people have the entire week off, so it is fairly busy.  We walked the major pedestrian avenues, went out to the massive Julio 9 Boulevard, walked through the artist area of San Telmo, saw performers dancing the tango in the street and had our final steak dinner in Argentina. Read the rest of this entry »