Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hungary, 6/26-7/03/2010

After Paris, I hop over to Budapest with Swiss Air. The landscape is different from Western Europe but beautiful in its own way. Budapest is a uniquely charming city. Divided by the Danube river, Buda sits on the hill while Pest occupies on the flat land. Many classical buildings, such as the parliament and the palace, stand tall and proud boasting their significance and power they once had.

View of the palace on Buda side
The palace on Buda side

The parliament on Pest side

Local commuters start going to work as early as 5 in the morning with trams and buses. Hungary has just joined the EU and the country is looking for opportunities to boost its economy. The scars of World War II and communism are still evident on some of the building walls but the people are moving on.

VOLT concert

Sunday, September 26, 2010

France, 6/19/2010 – 6/25/2010

My journey continues eastward. The 7-hour flight across the Atlantic from Newark to London isn’t that bad. Then, after spending a night at a relative's house, I take the EuroStar from London to Paris across the Chunnel. I am a bit disappointed for spending $130 one-way to take the train but at least I can say I've taken the train across the Chunnel from London to Paris. The journey takes about 2 hours and a half but I can't really feel we're moving that fast.


Lunch break

Paris is a beautiful city but very crowded with tourists, especially in the summer. The architectures are magnificent. The French seem to be carefree, ignoring tourists, and enjoy their good food and wine. Highlights of the trip are Château de Versailles, The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, La Défense, Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées...And watching the World Cup at the Eiffel Tower with the crazy crowd is something to remember.


NYC, 6/14/2010 – 6/18/2010

My around-the-world trip starts in New York city. I’ve been to NYC before but the longest time I spent there was 2 days. These 4-day stays give me a different perspective of the Big Apple. The crowded city is moving at much faster pace than Seattle’s. Everyone seems to rush, especially at the subway stations -- no time to stop and smell the roses. I sort of felt dizzy when navigating through the crowd at the Grand Central station for the first time. And the watchful-stern-looking armed guards also make me a little nervous, though their job is to make NYC safe.


However, as I get used to the city vibe, I begin to like the fast-moving city. There are many places to go and things to do. Foods are cheap and available with almost every ethnic flavor. People are diverse. The subway system, though not very clean, is very efficient to get around the big city. Taking a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge is a must for first-time visitors. And when you need to unwind or get away from the city crowd, Central Park is a good place be. It is also the time of the World Cup so I occasionally enjoy drinking beers and watching the games with my buddy at the bars.