Written by: Brigitte F.
I returned home to Florence this past Monday after an amazing spring break trip to Croatia and Hungary. I know I can’t express how awesome my experience was, but I’ll try! I traveled by bus on Friday the 7th to Ancona, a city on the coast of Italy, to take an overnight ferry across the Adriatic sea to Split. While waiting at the ferry station, I met another American who is currently backpacking through Europe. He was also going to Split and we both were staying at the same hostel so we traveled together. I had planned on going by myself but it was a really nice surprise to make a friend with the same travel plans so easily and quickly.
We arrived in Split early Saturday morning and found our hostel. The Tchaikovsky Hostel in Split has very comfortable rooms, spacious lockers, clean bathrooms, and a friendly, helpful owner. It’s in a great location; I walked down to the water in the morning and explored the city, main sites, and surrounding area easily. We made more friends with other hostel guests and enjoyed Split together.
We wandered around the city, strolled through markets and explored Diocletian’s ancient Roman palace. I swam in the Adriatic Sea almost everyday I was there; the sun was shining and the water refreshing.
I decided to stay longer in Split and cut off time in Zagreb after talking to travelers who had been there and suggested less time spent in the capital. I really enjoyed the time relaxing and soaking up the sun in Split for about four days and it was a great experience to make new friends with fellow travelers.
After staying one night in Zagreb, my new friend and I traveled by train to Budapest. We met up with his buddy who he is backpacking with and we explored Budapest together. Everywhere you turn there are buildings rich in history and beautiful architecture. It gets redundant, but all of the places I have visited have picturesque art and architecture and interesting history.
We walked along the the river, across the bridges, and past castles. We climbed to a good outlook over Budapest and wandered around on both sides of the Danube. We found St. Stephen’s Basilica and walked through the inside gazing at the ornately decorated interior. There was so much detail, color and images to view; once again I recognized a lot in the art from my classes and could appreciate it more.
We stopped at the Heroes’ Square; it was built in 1896 and commemorates the 1000th of the founding of arrival of the Magyar tribes in the Carpathian Basin, basically the founding of Hungary.
The Szechenyi Thermal Baths were relaxing; we waded in a large outdoor pool, sweated in a sauna and tried out different indoor baths.
It was easy to befriend more people at the hostel and interesting to hear everyone’s stories. I really enjoy just exploring the city and experiencing the culture; I definitely could have spent more than three nights in Budapest.
Travelling home took a little while and presented a few challenges, but I made it! I left Budapest at 6 AM Sunday morning, took a train, then a bus, then a ferry, then two more buses before reaching my destination. When I finally got home to Florence it was a relief to be in a familiar, comfortable place; but I had an amazing time traveling so it was bittersweet. Both Croatia and Hungary are pretty inexpensive places and definitely worth the trip. I had so many great experiences and learned about other cultures and myself. Just writing about it right now makes me miss the beautiful coast of Split and exciting city of Budapest. I’m not doing my trip justice by this blog, but it’ll have to do. If you ever get the chance, go to Croatia, swim in the Adriatic Sea and explore Budapest!