Budapest is quickly becoming the most diverse stop on our trip, mostly because without meaning to we have stayed here for 5 days. By diverse I mean including going out to bars with 18-year-old British boys, which is something I haven't done in about 7 years.
There's lots to catch up on--Anya traveled with us for 2 weeks to Vienna, Prague, a cute little Czech town (with bed bugs!) called Chesky Krumlov, and, of course, Budapest, and left early yesterday morning.
When I last wrote, I promised a description of the Croatian national park, Plitvice. This is, luckily, and with reason, one of the few places I can remember in detail and still distinguish from all the other places we've been (Sam and I have been playing the "what country was that in? Albania, no, Croatia, no..." game way too often) though I won't remember any of the technical details (park size, number of waterfalls) and my guide book is not within reach. This place is incredible. A park set around the bluest lakes and waterfalls you could imagine (bluer, yes, than the windows toolbar on this computer!) with trails and wooden bridges winding all through and boats that take you across the lakes (included in park admission) and fish that just hang out close to the banks, watching. We could have spent the whole day there, but we had to catch an afternoon bus back to Zagreb. If you're ever thinking about a Croatian holiday (and I would DEFINITELY recommend Croatia for a summer getaway), this place is worth a day trip or an overnight stay.
From there we continued to Graz, a small town in southern Austria (in the region confusingly called Upper Austria) from which Arnold Schwarzenegger hails--you can even go visit the gym where he lifted his first weights (we didn't). We spent the evening seeing the town and the next morning went to see the nearby Lurgrotte caves with enormous, dripping stalactites and stalagmites in rainbows of colors. Inside of the cave a sculptor installed a pair of hands reaching towards each other with Michelangelo's Adam and God's hands in mind, thinking that over time they would continue to reach towards each other, like stalactites and -mites--he didn't realize that this would take thousands of years, so there still pretty much just hands. It's actually kind of creepy, but the cave was neat. And cold. And German. The tour I mean.
Then it was back to the town for the afternoon, where we saw the wooden Glockenspiel dancers twirl around when the clock struck 3 (very anticlimactic)and where I went to a wacky contemporary art museum in a building that looks somewhat like a slug decked out in unlit Christmas lights (the locals apparently call it the "friendly alien) while Sammy went for a walk, and then off to Vienna.
And that's all I got for now because we're going on a chocolate hunt. But I think I'll be able to write more tonight. I'm certainly not going out with those British boys again.