Budapest, Kraków, Berlin

When we were driving from Italy to Hungary, we were in 5 countries in one day. We started in Italy (1). Our next country was Austria (2). When we drove across the border to Austria, there was a sign for all cars to exit and for some reason, Dad thought it was optional, so we skipped the passport check and border control and drove straight on into the country. We drove through Slovenia (3) and we stopped at Lake Bled. We had a picnic lunch and Theo, Helen, and Dad went swimming in the lake. After Slovenia, we drove through Croatia (4). We stopped in Zagreb and met Desi, another one of our cousins. She walked around Zagreb with us and showed us her house before we left. We finally got to Hungary (5) late that night. I fell asleep in the car and when I woke up, we were driving into Budapest. It is one of the prettiest cities at night… All of the bridges and buildings were lit up with white lights and it looked like a movie.

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Kat met us in Budapest and we spent a full day doing everything we could there. We were there 6 years ago, but we liked it so much that we wanted to see everything again. One thing that we saw this time that we didn’t see last time was Saint Stephen’s Basilica. It is beautiful and huge. We got Goulash, which is traditional Hungarian food, at a really cute restaurant… They had the best lemonade I’ve ever had in my life. That night Hannah, Kat, and I went to a ruin bar. It’s basically just old ruins that have been turned into a bar, but it was so cool. I obviously don’t have a lot of experience going to bars, but I have a feeling they aren’t all that cool.

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Oh yeah, also we took a boat ride and we saw these crazy people on top of the bridges

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They’re either being sweet and having fun, or their plotting something… It’s hard to tell

Our next stop was Kraków, Poland… We got a tour of the Jewish Quarter, took a walking tour, saw the castle, went in the churches, ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (because we are Americans and we love refillable drinks and good burgers), went to concerts at Mercy Festival (the week before World Youth Day), danced with nuns, joined a conga line through thousands of people, went to mass in Saint Mary’s Basilica, and went on a carriage ride through the city at night. The main square and streets of this city are stunning and it is full of incredible history.

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Here we have a picture of some drunk guy in a costume who was convinced Dad was Tony Hawk and wouldn’t stop talking to the fam… He kept hugging Dad and that is what is happening in the back of this picture 😂

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Every time someone walked past, this cute boy smiled so huge at them… How could you not give him money!?

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And here’s a picture of Mom… With a crooked smile and one eye open… that’s how she used to think you were supposed to smile when she was little and we made her show us on the carriage ride

On our way to Poznań, we stopped in Wroclaw, Poland. It was a short stop, but the buildings here are so colorful and they have dwarf statues all over the city that were a Polish anti-communist movement, so that’s pretty neat.

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We got to Poznań just in time for dinner and we all had pierogis… a real polish meal. The square was all lit up at night and some of our relatives from my mom’s side of the family came from Poznań, so it was such a cool opportunity to be able to go there.

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🙂

The next morning, we drove to Berlin. We stayed walked all around the city during the day and we went for a walk to the Brandenburg Gate because it was close to our hotel. We took a 7 person bicycle (we made it fit 8 people) around the park and through part of the city before working on our diving and synchronized swimming in the hotel pool that night. In the morning we went to Checkpoint Charlie, one of the crossing points between the East and West sides of the Berlin Wall. There is a museum there that I could spend a week walking through… well actually I couldn’t because it’s unbelievably hot in there, but if they installed some air conditioning, I could spend a long time reading everything in there. There is so much history in Berlin, but I think that the highlight for the boys and Helen was getting to sit in a Lamborghini… of course.

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We had been country and city hopping for a couple of weeks and we were so happy to be headed back to Remblinghausen. It doesn’t have an 8 person bicycle like Berlin, but it has our family and that’s where we like to be 🙂

-Sarah