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Yes, it’s hard to imagine just how fast mid semester break came here, but it was soon upon us! Although it was only a week, everyone had really exciting plans, which varied from visiting the French Riviera, to going to Norway and Sweden, the UK, and all over Eastern Europe.

I met up with my parents in London for a day before we headed to Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. Eastern Europe is amazing! You can still really see the Soviet influences everywhere. I just kind of took for granted the ability to visit the East, because it’s a common destination now, so it was really interesting speaking to Mum and Dad about how they never expected to be able to see this “Iron Curtain” area of Europe.

You can tell that the countries here are still kind of “finding their feet”. This really brought to my attention the great variety of countries that are now in the EU, and how this can cause disfavour amongst the more ‘established’ European countries. Actually, that’s something I’ve noticed in Denmark...that it’s really not multicultural. Coming from Australia, where I lived in College and was able to head to King St, Newtown in uni breaks, I was used to having every culture just round the corner, but here, there is definitely a predominance of the blonde hair, blue eyed Scandinavians, and few foreigners. I guess it’s a lot easier just to pop across a border to another culture, but still.

There was a lot to see in the “Paris of the East” – Budapest. It’s actually two cities combined on either side of the Danube, where the side of Buda is predominantly a castle, whereas Pest is the modern city. Oo I’d really recommend catching the ferry between the cities rather than the train. We caught the boat from Bratislava to Vienna, and saw castles along the river banks. It’s a great way to arrive in city!
We visited the torture chambers of the Communist party in Budapest which was really interesting. There were standing cells, 50 by 30cm, where the walls were covered in spikes, water cells, and cramped cells where you couldn’t stand. Definitely not where you’d want to stay!

One of the greatest things we did there though, was to have a bath. Haha that sounds so strange, but they have these amazing bathing complexes from the 1700s. Think Romans with different temperature and size pools, different temperature saunas and steam rooms, and elaborate buildings and fountains. It was fantastic! Definitely got us ready for another few days of busy sight seeing...

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