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Two Weeks, Ten Countries: a backpacker's itinerary

Just over two weeks spent traveling through ten European countries. It was completely worth every minute spent planning the trip - but you're welcome to save yourself some time by stealing parts of our itinerary. We used an Interrail flexipass.  It was valid for 10 days of travel within 22, and ... read more

Anjali Nirmalan

AustriaAustria

GermanyGermany

GreeceGreece

HungaryHungary

ItalyItaly

RomaniaRomania

SpainSpain

Sri LankaSri Lanka

TurkeyTurkey

United KingdomUnited Kingdom

Vatican City (Holy See)Vatican City (Holy See)

Lying in Church: The Backpacker's Religion

My friend Jade likes to lie in church. On the ground. It gets tricky in a house of worship; sometimes she has to settle for kneeling.  In the Hagia Sofia, she had barely a minute to soak in the 6th-century dome before a security guard dragged her up.   But ... read more

Anjali Nirmalan

HungaryHungary

Bafa Bafa: Teaching cross-cultural transitions since 1977

Three years ago I moved to Eastern Europe to teach English to high school students. Before I left, my mission organization hosted a two-week training for sojourners. During this training we played Bafa Bafa, a simulation that allows players to experience some of the feelings associated with cross-cultural interactions.   The simulation ... read more

Mandi Lindner

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Getting Around

Buy a train ticket...AND a seat

Mandi Lindner

07 Apr 2009

Hungary

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Mandi Lindner

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Intercity trains in Eastern Europe are trains that travel at a higher speed and make fewer stops. In Hungary, this means that you can get from Vienna to Budapest in 3 hours when it would normally take you 4 and a half. However, few visitors know that travelers must purchase a ticket supplement--a seat reservation--for Intercity trains in Hungary. If you purchase an Intercity ticket for your entire journey, this reservation will be included in your price. However, when my parents came to visit me in Hungary with Eurail passes, they needed the additional seat ticket. I had to ask my friend, Kimo, to come to the station with us as translator and help explain that we had tickets, but we just needed to purchase the supplemental reservation.

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Must Do

Get thee to the baths!

Vanessa Quirk

03 Feb 2009

Hungary

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Vanessa Quirk

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Visiting Budapest, you'll probably get around to all the beautiful castles noted in your guide book. But, if you're like me, you will look upon your guide book's suggestion of visiting "Baths" with suspicion. Communal baths? Sounds kind of awkward and unhygienic. I wouldn't have made it there at all if my friend (who lived in Budapest at the time) hadn't dragged me to one of the few co-ed (read: not naked) baths in the city. He explained the intricate process of the proper bathing experience: warm, lukewarm, hot, ridiculously hot, freezing cold - you skip from bath to bath either soaking languidly with friends or jumping quickly out of an icy blast. Either way, you leave relaxed and completely "immersed" in a uniquely Hungarian experience.

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Etiquette

Sniffles Can Stifle the Room

Jessica Felix

30 May 2010

Hungary

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Jessica Felix

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As Americans we tend to not carry tissue around when we have a cold or allergy. Remember sitting in a quiet classroom taking a test and hearing the *sniff*sniff*? Normal right? Well, while studying in Budapest, Hungary I found that to be the complete opposite. Don't waste your time trying to hide the sounds, people would much rather hear the blowing of a nose then the constant sniffle. A friend told me that it's almost offensive to others, especially in a quiet setting like a classroom, continuously making that noise. So just get it all out with one foul swoop so your sniffles don't stifle.

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