Monaco – 3. Hairpin bends

If you are a fan of F1, you might recognise this, its the famous Fairmont Hairpin bend that does an almost 360 degree turn.

Yes, this is a functioning highway and sometimes a race track.   It seems the country is well organised so all the residents don’t mind having to move their cars and not have accessibility into the whole country when a race is on.

Right underneath this bend in another road that tunnels underneath, at the edge of the bend is the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel.

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On a race day.

I can stand over here, as there are some pretty gardens, do spin around!

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I’ll just pinch this photo from this Yacht clubs site.  You might recognise this Finish (or Start?) line.   Now we can see it when its being used as a normal street here:

This place is so small and ultra tightly packed, the roads go in spaghetti fashion all over the place, its bonkers, I love it!!

1. Monaco, my first tiny country – 2. Train in from France3. Hairpin bends – 4. soon….

Monaco – 2. Train in from France

Getting out of the train, this was my first glimpse of this micro-nation

The train goes effectively underground, as this small country is carefully compacted tightly together.

There can be an outdoor seaview above a shopping mall, which is above a car park which is above the railway line.

This is where I stayed in Nice, not Monaco.   Well, somewhere near here.   I don’t think the hostel is there now.  Because it was 2005, no one had a smart phone, so gasp!  you can actually get to know and chat to strangers, and have some friends to explore and see places.   Something I miss now.   Nice and Cannes are pleasant places, but very touristy and after a few days there it got a bit samey.

A lot of my holiday / blog exploits is about trying find a way to do something cheap in place where many people are spending big wads of cash.   So several of the days I wanted to get into Monaco, it was a quick train ride away.

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This train ride was actually less than 20 mins!  along the sea front.

1. Monaco, my first tiny country – 2. Train in from France3. Hairpin bends – 4. soon….

Monaco – 1. My first tiny country from 2005

There was just something irresistible about taking a break from my IT job at a hospital back in 2005 needing some adventure and not really travelled back then.

Research showed that Monaco, possibly the most expensive country in the world is very close to the city of Nice, in France which is served by Easyjet.

So, it was simple as a 6km train ride into the place of a motor racing mecca and glitzy casinos.

Nice has ferries to Corsica, an island that looks like it should be part of Italy, but is actually French owned.  The other side of Nice has Cannes, famous for the big film festivals also.

Although because this trip was so long ago, I can’t actually find my photos from back then.

nice and monaco from the air When you take a flight directly into Nice, the plane effectively does a 180 degree turn so if you are sat in the right place, you get a view of the whole of the edge of the Mediterranean. Nice (!)

1. Monaco, my first tiny country – 2. Train in from France3. Hairpin bends – 4. soon….

Related:  Other tiny countries I have seen:- Andorra, Gibraltar, Iceland, Liechtenstein,  Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco

Budapest, Hungary – 4. Hungary Eating

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The centre part of Budapest is a short distance from the Synagogue I visited earlier.  This looks like a Christmas market but it was April when I was here.

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There are some live demonstrations of local craft going on, including this live ironmonger’s workshop.

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This was great, some Goulash (popular Hungarian stew) in a giant bread roll which has had the middle scooped out.   You can’t eat this too slowly as eventually, the bread casing will start to dissolve!!

Budapest is often considered the best Eastern European city by many people and I completely agree.  The main old town overlooking the Danube has some great really long walks here which I wish I got more photos of.   The end.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

 

Budapest, Hungary – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary

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So as well as a huge famous synagogue, there are some big decorative churches in Budapest as well.

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I also noticed this sign 🙂

In fact, what I didn’t see here, my Hungarian Christian friends told me back in the UK.  There is a big revival of the gospel in Hungary, I got see several Hungarian Christians during my studies at Ellel Bible College in the UK.

I go to a Calvery Chapel in London UK which is a branch of a well known American church network.   The Calvery Chapel that is in Budapest has 3,000 people and a bible training school and another 13 churches other parts of the country.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

Budapest, Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue

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This is the Grand Synagogue in Budapest, its the biggest in Europe and No.2 in the world (the #1 is actually in New York)

This is both a live functioning place of worship and also a museum at the same time.

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The French flag is there for a waiting place for a tour guide.  There are tours for Hungarian, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Hebrew speaking visitors.    This is a truly incredible looking temple, every fitting and decoration appears to have done with the utmost quality and case.

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This spiral staircase looks great, I ended up seeing another later when I went to Trinity College (which is Christian, in Dublin, Ireland)     On the right, a big collection of candelabras used for lighting Shabbat candles.

I think Hungary was hit very hard by the Shoah (Holocaust) but there are items from then, and also from happier times when this was a bustling place for celebrating Jewish holidays.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

 

Budapest, Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary

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To get to Budapest actually required going backwards to Vienna and then in a different direction.   The border between Austria and Slovakia seemed invisible, whereas here, there is a restaurant and a petrol station demarking the two countries but nothing more formal than that.

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IMG_20180327_142645632 10241000 Hungarian Forints is worth UK£2.50.   Or, coffee and a decent bag of pastries.  Hungary is cheap and this place was good to find a few minutes getting off the bus.

While I was (2018) here, it was just before the Hungarian elections.   Some poster like these had big concern over uncontrolled immigration whereas other parties had other priorities.

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Want to be a musician without instruments?  This guy had the right idea.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – 3. soon

Bratislava, Slovakia 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Bratislava, Slovakia seems like a nice modern clean city and has long shrugged off its image from communism that dominated Eastern Europe up until the early 1990s.

This the Hostel Blues which is in the main part of the city centre and is a good place which I stayed here for just two nights.    Unusually the guy behind the counter is a local, as opposed to a casual traveller.   He told me that the government offices near the castle have some protests.

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So when I took a look, this is mostly local people, with banners up in their local language.  I spoke to a local to ask what was going on.   Turns out a local Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak printed a piece in the local newspaper about serious corruption in the Slovakian government and connections to the Mafia.   Shortly after, the journalist was murdered.

Therefore the local people were protesting asking what the heck is going on.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-47294178 

So, in a case like this I wonder if the EU and other heads of nations got involved to ask the Slovakian government how are they getting to the bottom of this.

After this I left Bratisalva, and went to my next place, Budapest…

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

Bratislava, Slovakia 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia

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What I learned from my brief visit to Slovakia;

  • The country split off from the Czech Republic which was previously known as Czechoslovakia, which dissolved in 1993.
  • Some of the iron curtain legacies are used for history and curious amusement for western tourists who might be fascinated by socialism, like this firing range with eastern European weapons
  • This country is a recent (2004) member of the EU and uses the Euro currency. (since 2009)
  • There was a scandal involving the Slovakian government, the Mafia and shooting of a local journalist.  I’ll cover this in part 5.
  • wide bratislava pano 1024
  • easter 1024There is this nice outdoor display during Easter which I really like.   No political correctness here thank goodness.
  • The streets look clean and supermarkets like Lidl have incentives for people to recycle, you post your empty plastic bottles into a machine to get a printed voucher off your shopping.
  • IMG_20180326_172903139 1024There is a holocaust statue to remember the loss of Jewish people who met tragedy here.
  • This country shares the Danube river with Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary.
  • This seems like a modern and pleasant country and is quite cheap to eat out although isn’t a huge amount to do here, and I only stayed two nights.
  • There is a huge castle that overlooks the Danube.   Bratislava castle has some parts of it that date from the 13th century.IMG_20180326_170929271 1024

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating

Bratislava, Slovakia 3. Strange mirrored museum

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I was walking down this street past this brewery and saw this strange place which was just 5 Euros for a ticket, its called Gallery Multium.

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Each of these rooms is quite small, but the arrangement of the mirrors gives an infinite view, actually like with this bank vault cabinet thing has a slight curve to give a better visual effect.

The Gallery Multium can be seen here and is well worth seeing if you visit Bratislava, Slovakia.

Slovakia – 1. Austria’s neighbour and travel hacks – 2. River Danube – 3. Strange mirrored museum – 4. Things I learned from my visit to Slovakia – 5. Slovakia protests and strange goings on

Hungary – 1. Feeling Hungary – 2. Jewish Hungary and the Grand Synagogue – – 3. Christian revival hits Hungary4. Hungary Eating