Travelblog of Josephine and Claire

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June 21 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

My friend Claire and I are starting the trail from Vienna to Budapest via Bratislava tomorrow (with a few shortcuts). We will post our progress in the group, and keep you updated on our experiences.

The last two days we explored Vienna. Definitely check out the wonders that this city has to offer before starting your hike! The weather has been very sunny, which is great in the mornings and challenging during midday. We solved this by hiding out in museums. Definitely worth checking out: the Natural History museum, the State Hall in the National Library, the Domkirche st. Stephan, and the Naschmarkt. For all you vegans and vegetarians, check out the Harvest Bistro on the Karmeliterplatz. We stayed at the Augarten Hostel, which we would recommend to anyone travelling on a budget. Another helpful tip: carry cash. We had a great time wandering around Vienna. Tomorrow it is time to embark on our adventure!

Happy Hiking everyone!

June 23 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

Today we were supposed to walk from Bruck an der Leitha to Hainberg an der Donau, but unfortunately a large part of the trail is now private property. We spent two hours trying to locate a new path to the rest of the trail, but alas, it seemed like the only option would be to walk along the highway. We decided to take the bus+train to Petronell Carnuntum to visit some roman ruins instead. When we finally left the village it was too hot to walk, so we ended up taking the train all the wat to Hainberg an der Donau. It is a nice little village with an old city wall, a beautiful church, and a fort on the hill next to it. The fort is definitely worth exploring! Our accommodation for tonight, El Pirata hotel, is quite pleasant. The bathroom is quite nice, the rooms are clean and well furnished, and the hosts are very friendly. Tomorrow we hope to reach Bratislava without any hurdles.

Happy Hiking!

June 24 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

We were able to complete our hike from Hainburg a/d Donau to Bratislava today without any figurative hurdles (there were some literal ones though). Somewhere within the first half hour of the Trail there is a fork in the road. The left path is quite adventurous, and brings you right alongside the Donau. However, we would not recommend this path to anyone who doesn’t own proper hiking boots, as some parts of the path can be tricky. Today’s part of the trail was delightful. We mostly walked through forests, and past golden wheat fields. When you’re still more than an hour away from Bratislava, you can already spot the white castle in the distance. Bratislava is a very lively and pleasant city. We were lucky to experience the city on a saturday, when all the students come outside to celebrate the summer. We will be here tomorrow as well, and we’ll let you know whether Bratislava is worth it on a sunday. We are staying in the Downtown Backpacker’s Hostel, which has dorm rooms decorated in the style of different painters. Decent rooms, great staff, and really delicious food. The restaurant is also available to guests who are not staying at the hostel. Tomorrow we will share some information about Bratislava itself.

Happy Hiking!

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June 26 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

Apologies for the missed post yesterday, we had such a busy day that we immediately fell asleep when we finally returned to our hostel. But not to worry, we will combine yesterday and today in this post 🙂

Bratislava has a lovely old town center, with beautiful buildings and hundreds of nice little restaurants and bars. We strongly recommend that you go on the free city tour. You will learn all about Bratislava’s fascinating history and culture. Did I mention it is free? See the poster below for more info. If you visit in the summer, like we did, and you need to cool off, like we did, there is a lake nearby with a little beach. To reach it, take tram 4 to its final destination. For dinner we recommend the Slovak Pub, where you are served authentic Slovakian meals. Try the garlic soup, it is amazing!

Today we walked from Bratislava to Cunovo. Even after receiving a very helpful tip (go west when you see a sand hill so as not to follow a path to a dead end) we ended up there anyway. On the bright side, we walked through a beautiful forest area. How to avoid a detour: if you see a hill made of sand and pebbles, go right, and cross a field. When you hit the treeline, there is a path that leads you to a biking path next to the freeway. Go left there. In general, keep a very close eye on your map during this bit of the Trail! There are many paths in the forest areas, and it is not always very clear which one you should take. Other than that, it is a very pleasant hike. Near Cunovo there are three beautiful lakes where you can rest a bit. Be warned though, in the summer some parts of the shore are used as a nude beach. It took us quite by surprise. Cunovo itself is just a few streets, a church, and a busstop. We are staying at Santino, a house that has been modified, and contains seperate apartments. For 40 euros a night, you have a nice apartment for two with a kitchen and bathroom. Tomorrow we will skip a few km again, to keep the walking distance manageable. We will end the hike in the forest near Bodiky.

Happy Hiking!

June 27 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

We decided to skip a small part of the Trail today to keep the walking distance doable. We took bus 91 from Cunovo to Rusovce (Gerulata bus stop) and the SAD bus from Rusovce (bus stop at the other side of the road) to Dobrohost. When you arrive in Dobrohost, there is a biking path on a small dam that goes past the town on the south side. If you follow that path it will lead you back to the Trail. Consult your trail map to make sure you’re going in the right direction. Again we thoroughly enjoyed the hike! We mainly walked in the forest and past large lakes. Near the end of the Trail we encountered a locked fence that barres us from the rest of the path. After a brief moment of contemplation (can we scale the fence?) We decided to walk to the right next to the fence. It leads to a water gate (?) where you can climb around the fence to the other side. If the internet connection allows it, I will post pictures to explain. We had quite some difficulty finding accomodation for tonight. We found our little cottage on the water at Airbnb.com. Remember to book your accomodation early! Bodiky is tiny, and has a very small convenient store with a few things. The best thing to do is to bring food with you. We are, once again, enjoying our instant noodle dinner. Tomorrow we will walk to Gabcikovo, and there we will take the bus, skipping a large part of the trail due to convenience and time restriction. Hopefully we will have internet tomorrow so we can keep you posted!

Happy Hiking!

June 28 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

Unfortunately one of us woke up with a terrible headache this morning, which forced us to alter our hiking plans for the day. Instead of taking the long route through the forest, we took the shortcut via a bikepath on a small dike. We ended up walking 13km from Bodiky to Gabcikovo. When you cross the Donau to enter Gabcikovo, you will unfortunately have to walk next to/on the highway. Keep an eye out for cars, they’re not quite used to hikers yet in Slovakia. We skipped the Trail between Gabcikovo and Esztergom, opting for a city trip instead. Both Vilky Meder and Komarno were recommended to us. We decided to visit Komarno and its picturesque village square (bus+train). They attempted to make a small “European” square with cute little buildings (see picture). It looks really nice, but the square is mostly empty, except for two small restaurants. We took the bus to Esztergom and crossed the border to the third and final country of our trip, Hungary! There is a huge Basilica surrounded by an old city wall that looks out over the village. You can also find an interesting museum and many decent restaurants. We are staying in Desci Panzió, a cute little bed&breakfast built atop a winecellar from 1895. After a week of beautiful weather the tide has turned, and thunderclouds are currently dominating the sky. Tomorrow will be a challenging day of climbing. However, if the weather does not change, we might have to resign ourselves to skipping the hike and taking a bus. Let’s hope the sun peeks through!

Happy Hiking!

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June 29 2017
Hello Sultan’s Trail Friends!

This morning unfortunately the weather report predicted a storm passing over the path we had planned to tackle today. Instead of a challenging climb up to a 700m peak, we visited the Basilica overlooking Esztergom. For only a few euros we could visit the crypt, the treasury, the church, and the dome. The view was spectacular! There is a direct bus from Esztergom to Dobogoko, which only passes through twice a day. Make sure you know the bus timetable before planning any activities in the city. Our hotel in Dobogoko, Báró Eötvös Lóránd Menedékház, is right next to the busstop, in a beautiful foresty area. There aren’t many dinner options around, but luckily we bought groceries in Esztergom. Take note that they usually only accept cash in these smaller villages, so make sure to carry enough Hongarian forenz. It is very rare to come across an adult who speaks english, although some of them fo speak/understand german. Tomorrow we will finally have a proper hiking day!

Happy Hiking!

June 30 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

After a pleasantly cool night in the mountains we started our final descent to Budapest this morning. The forest road between Dobogoko and Pilisszentivan (our end point for the day) was full of ups and downs. Literally. The highest peak we climbed was around 450 meters, by our own estimation. Along the way we found many Sultan’s Trail stickers. Tired and satisfied we arrived at our accommodation, Rosza Penzio. It looks great, and the rooms are really nice. One strange thing is that we are the only guests! We’ve only run into two employees so far. The “wellness” center as mentioned on the website is currently not used. The changing room is utilized as a storage space and the machines are unplugged. This didn’t really matter to us though, we were already happy with the bath in our bathroom! The village has a couple of nice looking restaurants that we will investigate. Tomorrow is our last hiking day, ending in Budapest. We’re super excited!

Happy Hiking!

July 1 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

Due to a wrong turn we ended up deviating from the Trail. Nonetheless we enjoyed our hike. After entering the first suburb of Budapest we decided to take a bus into the city centre, as we preferred exploring the city to walking through neighborhoods. We will stay in Casa de la Musica for three days. It is a nice hostel with dorm rooms, private rooms, and a bar in the courtyard. There is a party atmosphere that is great for students, but we would not recommend the hostel to anyone else. It is a very lively hostel where you will not have the chance to rest properly after hiking. Claire and I explored the Jewish district today, which is filled with hip stores, restaurants, and ruin bars (google this! It is a must to visit one!). We have a whole two days of activities planned. On monday we will give you a summary of our experiences in Budapest.

Happy Hiking!

July 4 2017
Hi there Sultan’s Trail Friends!

We spent the last two days in the beautiful Budapest. If you don’t have a lot of time to explore the city, we would recommend that you take a free walking tour. In roughly two hours you will learn everything you need to know about Hungarian history. The same company also offers a Communism tour, which is definitely recommendable if you want to learn more about life during communist occupation. Of course there is much more to see and do in Budapest. Amongst other things we visited the st. Stephan Basilica, the Matthiaschurch, Parliament, and the Great Synagoge. We spent the better part of a day exploring the Jewish quarter, filled with hip bars, restaurants, and shops. If you would like to go to a thermal bath (you really should!), don’t go to the most famous one. We recommend the Gellert bathhouse. It’s still a tourist destination, but it’s far less crowded and noisy. The halls are beautifully decorated, it’s an amazing experience! If you want a taste of Hungarian nightlife, you have to visit Szimpla Kert. It is the oldest existing ruin bar in the city. After 10 p.m. there could be a queue outside, so make sure you get there early. If you prefer, you can also get a drink there in the afternoon. On Sundays they should have a small market around noon. In the same street there’s a small courtyard filled with foodtrucks selling all kinds of street food. It’s a great place for a cheap lunch. There’s even a vegan burger truck! There is s lot more to do in Budapest, so feel free to explore the city without sticking to your guidebook.

General tips for the trip from Vienna to Budapest:
1) always carry cash.
2) don’t go to currency exchange stores, and only use ATMs of official banks.
3) learn German!! In small villages english will do you no good.
4) it seems logical, but learn a few phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting. You will notice that locals really appreciate this.
5) in Hungary and Slovakia, if you say “thank you” after paying for a meal, the waiter will think that your change is his tip. You will therefore not receive any change. We made this mistake early on, and ended up tipping 2000HUF for a 3000HUF bill. Instead, don’t say anything until you receive your change, then tip the waiter in hand. I believe 15% tip is the norm.

Well, that was it for this summer. We hope that you enjoyed our little updates, and that we provided some useful information for your own trip!

Happy Hiking!

 

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