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Out and about in Eastern Europe


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Hi folks,

Been a while since my last report, so I thought that I would share some photos from our European tour of Hungary, Vienna and the Czech Republic this past spring.

 

This report will consist mainly of food and culture, but there will also be some bonus pics of Weiner Prater park in Vienna.

 

Unfortunately, it stormed just as we arrived at Prater via subway so most of the rides were shut down. Luckily, we were still able to catch a ride on the parks premiere ride: Riesenrad (German for Viennese Giant Wheel). I found it interesting to be in a ferris wheel cabin in a ride that is made of the same type of material as the Eiffel Tower...in a lightning storm!

 

But then again, this is Europe and not America!

 

Now on to the photos...

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Looks European, right? Can anyone guess which country we are in?

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If you said Austria you would be wrong! How about Buffalo NY at Salvatore's Italian Gardens? A big trip needs to start out with a bang so why not have dinner the night before at one of Buffalo's most famous (and expensive) restaurants?

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The inside lobby was gorgeous!

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This would be my bone-in ribeye served au poivre (with crusted peppercorns and demi-glace). This bad boy will set you back half a Benjamin, but boy was it good!

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The Easter Bunny was here in prep for the coming Easter Sunday. Looks intriguing, yet creepy at the same time. Not quite sure what that is in his left hand, but sure hope that it's a carrot!

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Fast forward about 24 hours and here we are in Budapest. We were able to have our agent throw in a last minute Danube river cruise so we were able to see the buildings lit up at night. Here is a spectacular view of the Parliament Building.

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This is Hero's Park - or Hősök tere if you happen to speak Hungarian. Behind it is City Park which also houses an amusement park. Unfortunately we did not have time to wander over there...that and the fact that it also had not opened for the season yet.

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Fancy Shmancy photo of the city with a winged creature.

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Not sure how many people on here like beautiful old world architecture, but if you do, Europe is the place to visit!

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About time for more food...here is a breakfast plate that I got at the hotel in which we stayed. American hotels should be ashamed of themselves for putting out what they call a breakfast!

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This is only one part of the buffet. You can get just about anything you want...fresh breads, cheeses, veggies, fruits, cereals, home-made yogurts. Did I mention that Europe rules?

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The next day we went to this huge Hungarian market where we could buy souvenirs and eat some traditional Hungarian fare.

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On the left is traditional Hungarian Goulash which is definitely not your mother's American version. This is more like a soup or stew with potatoes, carrots, celery etc...accentuated by their most famous spice - Hungarian Paprika. This also tastes nothing like the paprika you buy in America and sprinkle on deviled eggs. This stuff is potent! If you are ever there, you have to try Eros Pista which is a Hungarian paprika paste. I bought two jars to bring back with me...if you like spicy hot sauce, you will LOVE this!

 

The other entrees are a fresh stuffed sausage and a Hungarian version of sauerkraut with apples and bacon - both wonderful! My partner and I ordered and then split the meal and were both totally stuffed when finished.

 

Of note - if you decide to visit Hungary, I would recommend taking someone that knows the language with you as a guide. Our guide told us that Hungarian is the 2nd most difficult language to learn/speak (after Mandarin). I did just fine by pointing to what I wanted to eat.

 

And if you eat at a restaurant or food stand you damn well better know what you want when you get up to place your order or prepare to be yelled at like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. They have no tolerance for whiny people or Americans that can't make up there mind. Had to admit that I loved watching some of the folks on our tour act appalled when they wouldn't do special request orders or would get yelled at when they would ask "what's in that?" The servers rolled their eyes quite a bit and then would mutter something (probably) along the lines of "Stupid Americans!" in Hungarian! Did I mention that I love Europe? lol

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Of course I wouldn't post a report without beer....here are two. The front one: Borsodi is Hungarian while the back one is Staropramen which is brewed in the Czech Republic. We will see that brewery later in this report. Both were very tasty and reminded me of some of the beers from Bavaria.

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Who knew there were Hungarian Broney's?

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This seemed a little strange as well, but not as creepy.

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Apparently six of the seven dwarfs like to party. Probably explains why Grumpy is always so...ummm Grumpy. He really needs to shake his boots and let it all get loose.

 

Thanks for reading...Prater and Vienna coming soon!

Edited by Philrad71
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Had to go back and dig out this old TR and continue on with some Wiener Prater photos as well as some food and other oddball things that you will not see in the USA.

 

Unfortunately, it stormed right about the time that we got on the subway headed for our only chance at a Prater visit. Luckily, they were still running the Riesenrad during the lightning storm, so we were at least able to get that in.

 

Most of the other rides were down and some sections of the park were dark so we didn't get to venture through the entire park. Would love to return to this park when all of the rides are operating as the park itself looked very nice!

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Sign for the 'real' Budweiser. If only the American version tasted this good!

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They say that this guy is a little famous in Vienna.

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This is the best advertising sign that I have ever seen - hands down. So awesome that I don't even really need a caption, but would welcome any and all witty caption requests from our TPR folks! Who needs Meme's when you have this???

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I'm not sure whether I should be revolted or turned on?

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Nice to know that they have kock in Vienna and aren't afraid to flaunt it.

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Ahhh...here we are finally...at Vienna's own: Weiner Prater! But where are all of the people?

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Maybe they have taken this crazy train to the tunnel?

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Yay! Riesenrad is open in the lightning storm..let's go!

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Before you enter the queue, they have this really cool museum where each of the ferris wheel cars have something unique inside of them.

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Miniature recreations of the park throughout it's history. Cool!

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With a working miniature Shoot the Chutes ride!

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And a working swing ride!

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The park endured a brutal attack during WWII. The park was destroyed, but the Viennese were determined to rebuild & restore this awesome piece of their history!

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Let's board our car on this iron & steel monster in the pouring down rain with lightning all around us...sure, why not?

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The Super 8 (no relative of the US hotel chain) was running periodically in between the lightning flashes and torrential downpours.

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Love this photo. I didn't think that I had the camera on brush stroke or anything, but doesn't it look like a brush or oil painting?

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I think that I spy three credits down there. Unfortunately, I didn't get to ride any of them.

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Did I mention the torrential rain?

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Every fourth or fifth car, you can reserve and have banquets and dining service. It looked very elegant!

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Looks like table service for two.

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I think that I remember reading that the structure is very similar to the Eiffel Tower. Lots of rivets, steel and iron used.

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It's a very picturesque wheel & quite beautiful at night.

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Apparently Ben & David are missing out on the awesomeness that is Riesenrad?

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A "never seen in America" thing. The windows could be opened so we could take photos! No seat belts, no having to stay seated until the ride comes to a complete stop. And I didn't see one idiot try to hang out of or thrown stuff from the gondola!

 

Thanks for reading...more Prater at night coming soon!

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Moving along with the rest of my Prater photos...

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I think this one already has some classic captions in it from previous trip reports! ;-)

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Notice how there is no barrier wall on the bumper cars. Also part of the "never in America" theme.

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Nice to see props to some Vegas casinos that are no longer around.

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One of the world's craziest flat rides: Extasy was one of the few rides in operation on this rainy night in Vienna.

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Getting ready to crank up.

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I'm glad I watched this ride operate before I decided to get on. This is definitely not a ride for people with GERD...which made it a no-ride for me!

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Flashing lights, crazy g-forces, super loud music with plenty of f-bombs thrown in for good measure. This one also falls into the "Never in America" theme!

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They had quite a few of these little indoor go-kart tracks.

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Wow...an old Rotor. Probably not too many of these left in the world. I still remember riding the one on the Cedar Point midway many years ago.

 

It looks like Spiderman wants to get on!

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Yay for parks that still give out stuffed Pac-Man and ghosts!

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Another shot of the bumper cars. I was standing on the barrier wall and never got yelled at...because you know, this isn't America.

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So sorry to have missed this one....NOT!

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I really wished that I could have watched this one run (as well as Black Mamba).

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One of many colorful looking dark rides.

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No America for you!

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Apparently, this ferris wheel doesn't run in the rain...only the one made with more steel and iron.

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Another bumper car ride with little barrier.

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The swing ride was hanging limp this evening.

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Another famous Austrian guy.

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Can anyone spot the "never in America" in this one? Kinda hard to tell, but I would imagine some of you might see it.

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Gute nacht from Austria!

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