Place 11 – Day 2: Kraków – Auschwitz & Oswiecim 

Today, we woke around 09:15 to get our free breakfast! 

There was just bread, jam, corn flakes and milk, but it does the job & it’s free! Oh… And Coffee! 

The plan for today was to visit Auschwitz. This is something we’ve wanted to do, especially Curtis. 

We knew it wouldn’t necessarily be ‘fun’, but educational and something that we knew had to be seen when here in Poland. 

We made our way to the train station, catching a train to Oswiecim, in which Auschwitz is located. We walked for about 20 minutes through Oswiecim and arrived at the museum. 

We tried not to take many photos, because it’s not really the place for it, though we did get a couple. 

It was very interesting and also odd to be there at the same time. Walking around the gas chamber was very strange and eery, as well as the basement in the prison. 

We had a nice Polish steak dinner inner tonight, as we were both feeling a little odd after visiting Auschwitz! 

 Do widzenia! 
– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 11 – Day 1: Krakow 🇵🇱 – Awesome Trains & Castle! 

cześć 🇵🇱🇵🇱🇵🇱!!! 

Last night’s train journey was eventful, though nearly didn’t happen! 

We got an uber to the train station to ensure we arrived in plenty of time as we were unable to book any trains online, therefore we just arrived at the station to book.

We found out where we needed to book the train we needed and proceeded there. Once we arrived, we waited in line for 10-15 minutes and then the window closed for 20 minutes! Our train was at 17:30 and the window was closed until 16:50, so time was of the essence. 

We waited for the window to open, first in line, and once she arrived she said we have to pay with cash! 

We then had to get cash out, loosing our place in line. 

Once we got cash, we got back to the window but there was no way we were going to be able to get to the front of the queue in time for the train but luckily one lovely lady let us go in front of her and we managed to book the train at 17:10 and get to the platform to board the train! 

Our first impressions of the train were that it remind us of Harry Potter! There were cabins with 3 beds (one folded away) and it looked very similar to the films! 

The train wasn’t bad, other than we had to keep waking up for border controls. The beds weren’t too uncomfortable. We arrived in Warsaw at 9:20. We then had a train at 9:45 to Krakow which took to hours. It was apparently a ‘premium’ train. It was lovely with free tea, coffee and water, too!

When we arrived in Krakow, it wasn’t the best weather, but it was very warm! 

We got to the hostel, showered and got settled and then went out for some lunch after meeting back up with Josh! 

We had a lovely pizza, plus 2 odd beers! One green beer (9%!) and one very sweet and to be honest, not very nice, ginger beer (8%!).

We then went for a wonder around Krakow, finding castles and cathedrals, cool views, parks and a market very similar to German markets!
Do widzenia! 
– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 10 – Day 3: Куiв – Eurovision Village & Travel

Today, we paid just £0.12 each for the metro to get to the Eurovision Village, because why not visit it?! 

We stopped in McDonald’s for an awesome breakfast, too!

We are doing the blog now as we have a 20 hour train journey to our next place, so making sure it gets done! 

We are heading to dry some clothes that we washed and then to the Eurovision Village, followed by going back to the apartment and collecting our bags, then heading down to the train station! 

до побачення! 
– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 10 – Day 2: Kиiв – Zalissya, Chernobyl, Prypiat, Duga Base, Red Forest & Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

Chernobyl tour!!!

Today, we had a Chernobyl tour! We had to be up for around 06:15 and then had a 45 minute walk to the bus stop! 

We arrived at the bus stop early enough to be able to pop to McDonald’s for a (VERY CHEAP) breakfast! Also, the wrapping is obviously in Ukrainian and looks awesome! 

During the bus journey, we were speaking with some Swedish people, as well as some people from other places and we realised that EuroVision is currently on in Kiev, so most of the bus were in Kiev for that! 

We had about a 2 hour journey to the 30km exclusion area, as well as passport control. Once we arrived through passport control, we stopped at a town called Zalissya. 

Zalissya – Залiсся

Zalissya was our first stop and certainly one of the best! We were able to walk around all of the remaining buildings and go inside them, take whatever pictures we want and really get a feel for the abandoned village! 

There was an old lady that lived in the village up until 2015, and so it has only been officially abandoned since her death in that year! She refused to move out when the evacuation happened, and so lived alone until she died. 

Inside this village was everything that could be required. A doctors, houses, village hall and a church. 

Chernobyl – Чорнобиль

Next was the actual town of Chernobyl. 

This town is actually inhabited today, and although not many people live there are workers there such as the fire department and administration workers. 

The town is mostly like any other Ukrainian town as it’s still being used today, but there are still abandoned buildings around. 

Chernobyl was cool to see and visit, as obviously it’s called Chernobyl, but as it is a working town, it’s not much different from Ukraine. 

Duga Base – Дуга Басе

Duga Base was a hidden secret military base just past the town of Chernobyl. 

This place was used for a missile detection radar, which was built to detect missiles from the USA. 

ChPP (Chernobyl Power Plant) – ЧПП

Next was the main area which most people think of when they think of Chernobyl. The nuclear plant. 

In all honesty, the plant isn’t that interesting to visit. The sarcophagus has been converted by a new metal structure so now that all that can be seen of reactor 4. There will be a photo of this on Facebook, but it’s nothing special. 

We had lunch in the worker Cafe in the power plant, which was awesome! As you can see below:

There are still workers working in ChPP, around 3000. These are contractors who are finishing the new structure which was placed over the 30 year old sarcophagus, which is there to make it safe for 100 years, during which time, the old sarcophagus will be dismantled. 

Red Forest – червоний ліс

There is nothing much to report from here, except that it is the most radioactive part of the exclusion zone! This was the forest in which a lot of contaminated materials were be buried.  

Prypiat – Припать

Prypiat, the closest and most affected city to the power plant, was by far the best experience, for many reasons! 

There’s far too many photos for this blog, but we got some incredible photos. This town was abandoned due to the radiation from the disaster, all 45000 people had to be evacuated and were in under 3 minutes! 

Now, the town is not inhabited, but it’s still incredible. 

There is a stadium and amusement Park which were never officially opened but we’re due to be opened just a few days after the blast.

Prypiat was a different town to most. This town was large and had small amounts of capitalism, which was unheard of in the USSR. People could buy pretty much anything from the supermarket, which was not possible elsewhere due to government restrictions. 

The town was known as a ‘model city’ and excursions would take place to Prypiat like they would today! 

The town was built alongside the power plant for a place to house the workers of the plant. Therefore, it was created in just 1970.

As mentioned, we have many photos and videos of the tour, but not all can go on the blog! They will be on Facebook soon! 

I guess you could say we were lucky, but we ended up getting stuck in Prypiat! Our bus broke down when we went to leave, so we had to wait for a new bus to arrive.. 2.5 hours later! 

So, one of the guides said he would show us more of Prypiat while we wait. 

We had to sign rules when entering the exclusion zone and one of the rules was that we do not enter buildings. 

During our ‘extra tour’, we entered many buildings, which was incredible! 

We saw the swimming pool, a cinema, the Theatre, the gym, an apartment building and the roof which had an amazing view including the reactors and the satellites! 

We had a good 2 hour extra tour of going inside buildings like the above as well as schools and other places. 

This was an amazing experience and the breakdown made it even more incredible! 

What was cool too was that as a ‘sorry’ for getting stuck, we were given goodie bags when we got back to Kiev including a small bottle of Vodka (Водка), some food and some water, which was a lovely gesture! 

Be sure to check out all the photos on Facebook in the next few days! 

This is why we came traveling. 

до поражения! 
– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 10 – Day 1: Киiв 🇺🇦 – Worst Bus Journey Ever! 

Привіт! 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
We got on the bus at about 21:00, thinking that we’d be leaving at 21:00…How we were wrong! 

We were waiting for a few people to stop their argument with the driver, so we didn’t end up leaving until around 21:45.

We had a kid and his mum sat next to us and just 2 plug sockets for the whole bus… That basically put using ‘mobile devices’ out of the question! Well, that and the wifi was terrible and most of the time didn’t work! 

Behind us were a German couple (believe they were actually from Austria, but yeah) who decided that being drunk was a good idea for an 18 hour bus journey! 

The man was talking loudly and then the wife would get annoyed and shout at him. This went on for a while! 

We managed to get about 6 or so hours sleep, despite the man and woman throwing up and being loud! 

We had to stop at a boarder check, get off the bus and complete the check, then drive 2cm down the road for another check. 

Once we were in the Ukraine, the time flew. It’s an interesting place, it’s the first place that is a lot different to the UK. 

We had to figure out where to catch our bus to get to our apartment, which takes about 35 minutes to get to the correct street and it was very crowded! 

You walk on and just throw money at the driver’s area, and he passes change back. Very odd! 

The busses are also very old and broken, it feels a lot like what we think Asia will be like! 

Tonight then plan is to get some food, maybe walk into the centre, find where we need to go tomorrow for our fun plans and also find the train station so we are able to get tickets for the train to leave Ukraine when we leave. 

до побачення! 
– Містер і місіс Хейл

Place 9 – Day 3: Budapest – Budapest Castle

After waking at 10am and having some cereal, we took a bus to get some extra breakfast at McDonald’s, well a nice coffee! 

After we finished our coffee, we walked to the other side of Budapest to get to the Budapest Castle and it was incredible! We walked all around it and Kim wanted to go to a princess tower, so we found one and she got to go in one! 

We had a nice long walk around, got some lunch and then walked to Aldi to get some snacks for our 19 hour bus journey! 

We then caught a bus back, and we’re heading off to our next location very soon! 

Budapest is brilliant, we’d highly recommend! 

Our hosts for the 3 days, Micael & Agota, have been wonderful and super hospitable! We thank them greatly.

This is the last update from Budapest! 

– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 9 – Day 2: Budapest – Public Baths & Awesome buildings

We tried to wake up early and ended up getting up around 10am, which isn’t too bad, considering we didn’t sleep for about 35 hours! 

We planned to go to the public baths today so we made that our goal! 

We walked for about an hour or so to get there so we were ready for a relax! 

Before we went in, we found an outdoor barbecue place next to the circus which sold hungarian food! We purchased a Kürtőskalács for a very cheap price! This is similar to a cinnamon bun, but it is baked on an open fire and twisted around a cone! Very tasty! 

It costed about £13 each to go in, so we made our way in and got changed for the nice hot baths! 

We had lockers, but only the staff could unlock and lock them, which was irritating when there were just 2 staff members! 

There were multiple pools and rooms. There was a nice and hot pool, a swimming pool and a warm pool outside. Inside, there were numerous other pools, ranging in temperatures as well as steam rooms and saunas! 

We made sure to make the best use of our time and use everything there! 

We saw a ‘beer sauna’ in which you pay 20€ each (far too expensive) and bathe in water mixed with beer ingredients, but you also get your own beer tap with unlimited beer for 45 minutes! We really wanted to do this, but 40€ was far too expensive for 45 minutes! 

Once we had finished at the baths, we just went for a walk around Hungary! We stopped for a KFC and then just walked and walked! We saw a lot of awesome looking buildings. See some below! 

We had a perfect day and hopped on a bus around 21:00 to head back to the apartment for some sleep!! Whilst we were heading back, Kim decided that we need to visit a ‘Patastery‘ for breakfast tomorrow… Whatever that is! Our feet are killing us! Tomorrow, we’ll be up early and be busy visiting ‘buda’ before leaving on a bus for our next place at 21:00 for a 19 hour bus ride!! 

Please note: The blog will likely be up at a reasonable time tomorrow, either the morning or early evening due to travel. 

Viszlát! 

– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 9 – Day 1: Budapest 🇭🇺 – Tiredness

Szia! 🇭🇺

We took the 23:00 bus to Zagreb to get in for 04:50 and, after a very small amount of sleep on this 5 hour bus, we had a 2 hour layover in Zagreb before catching the 07:00 bus to Budapest. We headed to McDonald’s for breakfast during our layover but we didn’t realise just how far away it was! Though, we did get 2 sausage & egg McMuffins and 2 cappuccinos for 20KN each. That’s about £2 each!! 

Once we (rushed) back to the bus station, the bus was arriving, so we jumped on, very tired… Pretty OVER tired at this point, to be honest… And ate our breakfast. We managed to stay awake for a while, but Kim fell asleep just before we had to wake up and go through passport checks at the border, which took about 2 hours!

We got through the border and headed on and eventually arrived in Budapest! 

We had the clear instructions on our phone on how to get to our accommodation, which was a tram and then a bus, but we realised that we had stopped in the wrong place, so we had to walk for quite a way, before realizing quite quickly that we had no clue where we were! 

We managed to find the place we are staying! We are staying with a lovely couple that Curtis’ mum works with. They have just moved to Hungary and are kind enough to let us stay with them during our short stay in Budapest. 

So far, Micael & Agota have been more than welcoming and it’s been wonderful spending some time with them! 

We went for a walk to a park where there was a lot going on! We got a few pictures, but the real adventures start tomorrow! 

Viszlát! 
– Mr and Mrs Hale 

Place 8 – Day 7: Split – Touristy Stuff & Travel Night 

Today’s blog is out early as we may not have WiFi. 

Today is a travel day. Or night, we guess! 

We’re going to spend the afternoon doing all Touristy things, such as the crypts, bell tower, treasury, cathedral and more! 

Once we’ve done all of these, we’ll be off to our next location, on a bus at 23:00 tonight! We then need to change our bus at 4am, wait for 2 hours, then continue onto our next location, arriving at 12pm tomorrow! 

All photos from today will be on Facebook! (click the ‘photos’ link!) 

Pozdrav! 

– Mr and Mrs Hale  

Place 8 – Day 6: Split – Froggyland & Beach Day Pt 2

The plan for today wasn’t decided until about 1pm when we finally decided to leave the house! 

Kim had wanted to go to Froggyland today, which is a museum of 507 stuffed frogs doing everyday activities. Yes, weird, but it’s the only one of its kind in the world, so we had to go! 

Unfortunately, we were unable to take photos, but photos can be seen online. It was interesting and strange at the same time. 

This didn’t last as long as we expected, so after we decided to get changed and head to the beach as it was very hot today! 

We got to where we climbed the wall yesterday and 2 Croatian guys told us it is a private beach, so we went to another beach instead, which was also nice but more people! 

After some wading, sunbathing and jumping into the water, we headed back home for a shower and now we’re making burgers and potato wedges for dinner and then an evening walk we think! 

Pozdrav! 

– Mr and Mrs Hale