Cultural post #8: The Hungarian National Museum and some literature

For this last cultural proof I finally got around to seeing the Hungarian National Museum. It was a great time to see the museum because it really tied together a lot of the history lessons I have picked up while in the city. I was able to finally put a timeline together for the old kings, Turkish invasion, and different ruling families in the region.

The museum literally begins with neanderthals in the Carpathian basin, which would later evolve into Hungary! Most European ancestry can be traced back to here, in the fertile valley between two rivers. Since then, though, the land has changed hands tens if not hundred of times. Finally, the nomadic Hungarian tribes conquered the region, and with the Danube as their base, they pillaged Europe, all the way to Denmark!

Modern Day Budapest: The tribes are represented in the seven pillars of fisherman's bastion.

The first King of Hungary was King Saint Steven the first, or "Istvan" in Hungarian. In the museum I finally put it t…

Cultural Proof #7: Map of my new home

I've marked a few spots on the maps below! (Note this map shouldn't be used for actual navigation around Budapest, its a little bit of an approximation).

1) Bikas Park: This park is a little outside of the city center, and is full of local Hungarians enjoying the nice weather or exersizing. On Sundays there is a farmers market where I plan to go to find some "real" Paprika. 

2) West End Shopping Mall: I've walked in here a few times to pick up some necessities, like shorts and a cell phone plan. It feels like I am in the US when I'm in here though. I recognize about half of the stores. 

3) The Tram 4/6: This excellent tram is my main mode of transportation, and it runs all night! 

4) My University (BME): The university is beautifully positioned on the river. Just yesterday we attended a regatta (rowing race) that included all of the universities in Budapest. 

5) The Citadella: Its about a ten minute hike from the edge of my campus, and the views of the city are am…

Cultural Proof #6: Taking in the Past, and touring different Holocaust memorial sights

Throughout my semester here, I have been fortunate to have to opportunity to immerse myself in many different historical places. There have been castles and forts, basilicas and central squares. Some pieces of history are more prevalent than others, including the painfully recent second world war and the mass deportation and execution of European Jews that accompanied it.
To give you some context, I am writing this assignment on a bus between Nuremberg and Munich in Germany, and we visited the courthouse where the Nuremberg trials were held early this morning. (Shockingly: The court room that was used for the trials is part of the museum, but is still occasionally in use today!)
Every single country in this region was effected by the Nazi party. There are holocaust memorials in every large city, serving as a constant reminder. Below are two that I have seen personally.

When I first started traveling, me and Nicole spent several hours in a holocaust exhibit in the British Military Mu…

Montenegro: Crazy beautiful and some crazy weather

Photo Credits to Erik Tazegul

After two short days in Budapest to go to class and finish some assignments, we were back traveling again! This time we had a discount flight to Podgorica, the small capital of Montenegro. This capital doesn't have a lot to see, so we were headed strait for the bus station! There we caught an evening bus strait for Kotor, a charming city on a striking bay. 

I have to say, riding the Montenegrin buses has been quite the adventure! The buses are run by private companies, with no schedule posted reliably online. (As I'm writing this I'm waiting for a bus right now, because we managed to miss the early morning bus). I have actually seen a bus driver shift gears, steer and write out a ticket at the same time. If it wasn't a little scary it would be very impressive!! The buses also seem to stop in the most random places including locals' homes or where their cars are parked. This bus-adventure sure beats the alternative of driving! The roads …

Croatia! The land of beautiful waterfalls and old Roman ruins

Even though I still haven't written about my travels to Amsterdam or Krakow, I want to skip ahead to what I've been doing in the past weeks, so I can get back on track with this blog!
We we're getting a little sick of wandering north into the for the first time we ventured south of Hungary into the beautiful Balkans. The time spent here has been full of beautiful surprises! 

Luckily one of my friends could drive a stick shift, so we were able to road trip through the Hungarian countryside and into Croatia! It took about 5 hours to go from Budapest to or first stop in Plitvice national park!! (I hope you guys are ready for a lot of pictures!! This park took my breath away).

The park itself isn't very big, but it sure is stunning!!! The waters were so green and clear, and we weren't expecting to be greeted by such amazing sunshine. We woke up quite early in the morning and managed to snag some time with a very empty park. 
Walking the whole loop (with a ferry r…