A BMW i8 outside my hotel, a plug-in hybrid capable of 0–100 km/h in 4.4 seconds. Don't see these in Dubai!
Back at Bratislava hlavná stanica to catch the train to Budapest. When I went to take this photo, I realised I had forgotten one of my camera batteries back at the hotel. My train was delayed by ~60 minutes, so walked back to get it.
By the time I got back to the train station after getting my camera battery, the delay was now 100 minutes, so grabbed a coffee at the station café.
The delay eventually stretched out to 130 minutes. Although there was a train to Budapest at 11:53 also, this was cancelled.
The train finally pulling into the station just after 12pm.
The cabin was clean and modern, and only cost 16 euro's for the 2hr 40m trip to Budapest.
Chocolate pancakes in the dining car for only 1.9 euro's.
Arriving at Budapest-Keleti Staion just before 3pm.
And just outside after getting my ticket for the following day to Belgrade.
My hotel room, the Bhudda-bar Hotel in an old historic building which was has been completely refurbished with an Asian style interior.
Catching the metro for 350 HUF (~1.2 euro's).
Outside Terror Háza, or the House of Terror.
Terror Háza is a museum and memorial for the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th-century Hungary.
Padded cell in the basement.
Hammer & Sickel.
I then walked down Andrássy Avenue towards the city. Outside the Budapest Opera house.
The Christmas markets in front of St. Stephen's Basilica.
Erzsébet bridge across the Danube, linking Buda (west) and Pest (east).
I had dinner at a local restaurant, with rosé duck breast with camembert muffin and orange and pepper sauce. Very nice!
And returning back to my hotel.
Coffee and cheese pastry for breakfast for 580 HUF (2 euro's).
Looking across the Danube to the Royal Palace on top of Castle Hill.
Széchenyi Chain Bridge.
Walking up to Castle Hill.
Looking over to the Széchenyi Chain Bridge and Pest across the river from Castle Hill.
Sandor Palace on top of Castle Hill.
Magyarország zászlaja (flag of Hungary).
Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion.
The Országház, or Hungarian Parliament, across the river from Fisherman's Bastion.
The building was built in 1904.
I got to the Parliament building just in time for the 1pm english language tour.
It was built with 40 million bricks, half a million precious stones and 40 kilograms of gold leaf.
The main debating chamber.
The Museum of Ethnography, just opposite the Parliament building.
I then stopped for lunch and had a traditional Hungarian dish of chicken paprika and dumplings.
Next stop was St. Stephen's Basilica, with an amazingly ornate ceiling.
And the great view from the top of the Basilica.
I then went for a walk around the Christmas markets just in front of the Basilica.
And then caught the metro on the #4 line to Gellért.
The Szabadsag bridge reaching across the Danude at Gellért.
Outside the Gellért Thermal Bath's.
Great place to defrost for a bit from the cool winter weather!
I then walked over the Szabadsag bridge back to Pest.
The Christmas markets at Vörösmarty tér.
Where I got a good feed of Hungarian black pudding and grilled chicken with potatoes and bread.
Back at Budapest-Keleti Station to catch the overnight train to Belgrade.
I had booked a sleeper cabin for the overnight trip, except there were only 3 carriages on the train, and none were sleeper. I asked the conductor and he just told me to grab a space in the first class car.
Luckily I managed to find an empty row of seats to lay out for the overnight trip.
The train crossed the border into Serbia at 2am, where I got my passport stamped and we swapped engines (the Hungarian engine took some carriages back to Budapest, while a Serbian engine took our 2 carriages on to Belgrade).
At about 5:30am the train started to fill up with passengers for Belgrade.
Crossing the Danube into Belgrade.
And arriving at Belgrade station at 6:30am.
Some interesting 'artwork' on one of the Serbian trains.
I then walked up the street to the former Ministry of Defence Buildings.
The buildings were bombed in 1999 by NATO as part of the Kosovo war.
They still lay in ruins as a kind of memorial.
The Serbian Parliament Building at dawn.
My hotel room in Belgrade. I had originally booked a room at the Rezome Diamond, but they had rebooked me at the Rezime Crown with a 'luxury apartment' which was closer to the city centre. Decent sized room for 50 euro's anyway!
With oak desk and crystal glasses.
And a cavernous bathroom.
After a shower and shave, I headed out to get some breakfast at a local café. I got an omelette, toast, yoghurt drink and a cappuccino for only ~$5.
Pigeons feasting on some bread from a dumpster.
I then walked through the park at Kalemegdan Castle.
The confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers.
A Humvee outside the Military Museum, captured during the Kosovo war.
The flightsuit from a F-16 that was shot down during the war, and a panel from a F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft that was also shot down.
The start of Kneza Mihaila, the main pedestrian shopping street of Belgrade.
Books and records.
Some anti-pesto at a café on Kneza Mihaila for lunch.
And I couldn't resist having some of the tasty looking cakes too.
The Temple of Saint Sava.
At the Nikola Tesla museum, with the sparking Tesla coil lighting up the fluroscent strips. I think it temporarily affected the electronics in my camera too (note the horizontal bands in the photo).
The ruins of the Radio Television Serbia building, where 16 people were killed when it was bombed by NATO in 1999.
Republic Square in the centre of Belgrade.
In the evening, I went to the restaurant, Mentalitet, after a good recommendation. Mini-beef pies, breaded roast pepper and rolled goat cheese for the starter.
And for the main, beef tournedo with red wine and orange sauce. Definitely worth the recommendation! Quite cheap too for a total price of ~$14 for everything.
Outside the main terminal at Nikola Tesla - Belgrade airport for the 7am flight to Rome.
A bag of goodies for the 80 minute flight.
And disembarking at Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.
Picking up my Hertz rental car for the day. I had prebooked the cheapest car possible for 36 euro's, but got upgraded to a Ford Focus Diesel instead for the same price.
As I had visited Rome for three days back in June I wanted to do something different for my 12 hour layover. The plan for the day was to visit some of the smaller towns, hopefully making it to the town of Tuscania.
After getting used to the 6 speed manual, I headed north-west on the Autostrada.
At the first stop of the day, the town of Cerveteri.
80 euro-cents for an espresso, definitely not Rome prices!
The town is famous for its many Necropoli (tombs) which date from the 9th to 3rd century B.C.
Out on the Autostrada again.
I then parked the car in a carpark in the centre of Civitavecchia.
The town centre.
I then visited the local fresh food markets.
Frutta e Verdura (fruit & vegetables).
Driving on to the next town...
Lady & dog.
A ~300 year old aqueduct.
I then drove off the main road inland.
To the picturesque town of Tuscania.
The town was built around ~7th century B.C.
On February 6, 1971 an earthquake caused 31 deaths. The town has since been meticulously restored.
Apart from the odd Italian visitors, it was completely devoid of tourists and was a welcome change from busy Rome.
I then stopped at a cool café/bar in the centre of town.
And had some local cold meats with bread for lunch.
And chocolate slice for dessert.
Some Christmas shopping before the drive back to FCO airport.
Paying my last road toll for the day.
And arriving back at the airport.
Enjoying a good read on the flight from FCO to DOH.
And about to board the QR A340 at dawn for the final flight home!