From Every Angle: Hungary Parliament House

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Hungarian Parliament House in Budapest taken at noon from level ground and taken at sunset from higher ground. It is one of the most iconic parliament house in Europe and definitely the most beautiful one.

WPC

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Readjusting Life According to One’s Priority

“Not until we are lost do we begin to truly find ourselves”

When we were a child, none of us had a real insight of what we are going to be in  the next twenty years. What we do was observing people around us, starting from the people close to ourselves, our parents. I’m sure we all had different family background, some of us may not have a parents, some of us grow without knowing one of them, and the lucky one have both of them. At family gathering people usually teased us with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. It is a question asked billion times when I was growing up and as a kid I was enthusiast in telling them what I want to be. My sister and I wanted to be an astronaut, as far as I remembered nobody told me that it is nearly impossible for us to be an astronaut. Perhaps that’s because they didn’t want us to be disappointed and they knew that we are not going to be an astronaut anyway. But you could tell from their face expression that it was not the answer they expected to hear.

I can’t remember the details about the progression of my childhood aspiration, but I knew that when I was about to graduate elementary school I changed my answer to a more rational answer. As a kid, of course I choose from the list of “cool job” which then was limited to pilot, doctor, and architect ( I don’t think lawyer get into the list). Fast forward to six years later, I was graduating from high school and enlisting for medical school. I was thinking about the prospect of each job from a teenage point of view (which is very limited and subject to generalisation), taking a business degree doesn’t sound good to me because the amount of people taking it each year will have to compete later on job searching (but now I realise that job vacancy for business graduate is more widely available), and I wasn’t into IT or anything else. I was quite smart (or I tend to think so) and want the best option I had at the time, which lead me into taking medicine.

Six month ago I graduated from medical school with Bachelor of Medicine. Reflecting back to the last four years, I found medicine quite interesting but while studying medicine I found something else more interesting, stock investing and trading. I’ve been trading since  my second year in medschool and it has been going well according to the market benchmark, during my study I found myself studying the market more often than studying medical textbook. I just enjoy it that much and participating in the stock market surrounded by hundreds of mutual funds and market volatility made me feel a part of a bigger group. But I think investing and trading as a side job instead of my career focus, so I enlist on residency to get my “doctor” certification.

I was completely out of touch with stock market during my daily residency in hospital, the daily activities are exhausting and time consuming. Most of the time I am imagining of quitting medical school and day trade for living, trying to figure out the next step. Despite my interest in medicine, I know deep inside I don’t want to work as a doctor. You might think it’s shallow life, but I like to travel the world, drinking pinna colada on a beach rather than routinely get up everyday to do my job. I like the freedom of not having a day job, so I figure that my next step is having a stable income. It doesn’t have to a big one but enough to sustain the lifestyle I want to live, more or less $3000/ month.

I quit my residency two months ago, enlist on MBA program on finance (which is all about stock market and banking), and learning about forex trading (on a losing position currently). It’s not the perfect life, but hey, at least I’m closer to what I want today than I was earlier this year. On the other aspect of life, I have been reducing my possession to 10% (yes, literally 10% although I think it is even less than that) of what I had five years ago to adjust the lifestyle I wanted to have (which is traveling). I threw out 5 big boxes of childhood toys (Lego and Gunpla mostly), give to charity all of my books (now I buy e-books), switch my photography equipment to a simpler one. I scanned my notes and threw the paper, never had I miss or wish I had the hardcopy. One saying I truly applied today is shaping the life I have now to the life I want. Decluttering my possession is so liberating and addicting that once I feel the freedom I have with less stuff, I want to reduce more. Here’s ALL of the stuff I have today:

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A lot of times we are so exhausted in our daily activities that we forget the big picture of life we are having. The same goes with our possession, we splurge on things we thought will enhance our quality of life, but the reverse effect may be true. Imagine if we could start again from scratch, what would you do? What will you have? What won’t you have? Perhaps it’s time to adjust accordingly.

DP

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Today Was a Good Day: Memory

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Today was a good day because I have a memory of beautiful landscapes I’ve seen across the world. Taken in Auschwitz, Poland on my last vacation in July.

WPC

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Today Was a Good Day: Time

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Today was a good day because I still had time to enjoy the world and writing my story, for one more day.

WPC

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Omega Speedmaster “First Omega In Space” Review

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When it comes to iconic watches, there isn’t many watch to choose. Rolex submariner would always be an icon of dive watch, just like Breitling Navitimer for aviation industry and Jaeger leCoultre Reverso for a refined gentleman. But when it is combined with human exploration achievement, nothing beat Omega Speedmaster. Worn by astronauts in the past and the present, the first watch worn on space and on the moon, it is one of the most respected watch in the WIS community. Before a WIS cringe I should tell you that there are many types of Speedmaster, but the context we are talking about here is the “moon watch”. The original Speedmaster made in 1957 and since then has developed several times including the change of movement from cal. 321 to cal. 861 and then to cal. 1861 in 1996. The most precious of them all and worth mentioning for collector is CK2915, the Speedmaster “Pre-moon” with cal. 321 that was auctioned for a stunning figure, $70.000.

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What we have here is the re-issue of the second generation Speedmaster, CK2998 that was worn by Wally Schirra on Sigma 7 mission orbiting the earth. He was the first person to go to space three times in Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Although there are few difference between the re-issue edition and the original CK2998, the difference wasn’t very noticeable for non-enthusiast. The original CK2998 use Hesalite crystal instead of Sapphire, which reflects light in a different way. The minute hands was thinner, and the movement use cal. 321 instead of cal. 1861. Both movement was based on Lemania (now Breguet) and there is no difference in accuracy between both watches, despite slight difference in the column wheel usage and bridges.

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Some people would still prefer the Speedmaster Professional 3570 instead of a re-issue, those with baton hands, hesalite crystal and slightly larger case diameter.  But for those with wrist under 7 inch, this 39.7mm Speedmaster might be a better alternative. The movement inside both Speedmaster is the same, cal. 1861 that has only slightly change for the last 50 years, a durable movement and easy to service. I guess when something endures for 50 years, it would endure for another 50 years.

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Omega Speedmaster “first omega in space” use alpha hands instead of baton, and there is no crown guard unlike in the professional series. Several people comments that winding FOIS is smoother and has a better click than the professional series. There are also downside to FOIS, among them are the lack of bracelet option (buying one OEM would cost another $500-600), slightly more expensive price, and no option for transparent case back. The usage of sapphire versus hesalite crystal is also a debate that continue among WIS until today.

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The FOIS comes with a memorative box, a more exclusive box than standard Omega watch. However, since 2014 the Speedmaster Professional also come with an exclusive box with loupe, two additional strap, and a Seamaster steel accessories. The second hands movement is smooth, and the chronograph movement is slightly smooth at four or five ticks per second, unlike quartz watch that has one tick per second. Movement wise, there isn’t many things to say except that it one of the best chronograph movement out there, the same base movement inside Patek Philippe, Breguet, and Vacheron Constantine for a fraction of the price.

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Instead of pairing this beautiful watch with bracelet, Omega decided to give it a more vintage look using brown leather strap with light brown stitching. It is very comfortable and since Speedmaster has only 50 meters water resistance rating, it isn’t suitable for any water related activities so pairing with leather strap is a rational choice. Speedmaster FOIS could be very dressy specially when paired with black crocodile strap, and the 40mm diameter could easily slide under the cuff. Although not a limited production, FOIS is a numbered edition, mine is 43XX and I bought it in August 2015 through local Omega boutique. Recently, two forum members found that their AD couldn’t order for FOIS and the AD said that Omega is discontinuing the model, however it is currently displayed on the Omega website. So if you want this model instead of the standard “moon watch” Speedmaster Professional, you might want to be hurry.

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The watch is actually proportional on my 6.5 inch wrist, I use wide angle lens when taking this photo so it looks bigger than it is.

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East Europe Trip Day 11: Munich City Tour, English Garden, Hofbrauhaus Dinner

Today is the last day we are going to have a city tour in East Europe, tomorrow we are heading back to our country so we are going to make the best of it. In the morning we visited Nymphenburg Palace. The Nymphenburg Palace is a Baroque palace in Munich, Bavaria, southern Germany. The palace is the main summer residence of the former rulers of Bavaria of the House of Wittelsbach.

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Nymphenburg Palace front garden, Munich.

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The main hall of Nymphenburg Palace, second floor.

The palace, together with its park, is now one of the most famous sights of Munich. The baroque facades comprise an overall width of about 700 metres. Some rooms still show their original baroque decoration while others were later redesigned in rococo or neoclassical style.

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The exhibited room inside Nymphenurg Palace, Munich.

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The exhibited room inside Nymphenurg Palace, Munich.

After 45 minutes inside the palace and the garden on the backside, we went to BMW World. On our way there, we saw the olympic stadium. BMW Headquarters is a Munich landmark which has served as world headquarters for the Bavarian automaker BMW for over 40 years. It was declared a protected historic building in 1999. Extensive renovations commenced in 2004 and were completed in 2006. Inside the BMW World we could see cars and even buy them there, there is also a souvenir shop. A must visit for automotive enthusiasts.

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Automobile inside BMW World, Munich.

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Inside BMW World, Munich.

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The olympic stadium seen from BMW World, Munich.

Our lunch today is at Ratskeller, located under the city cathedral. Our bus stopped in front of theatre house and we walk to the old town area while our tour guide explain the history of the city. We ate roasted chicken and got ice cream for desert. The place was nice and the service was great, a recommended place to lunch in Munich. After lunch we got quiet a lot of time to spent but all of the stores are closed at Sunday, so we sat on a café near the street and watch a very funny impromptu show performed by a local guy. A around three o’clock we walk for twenty minutes or so from the old town to English Garden.

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A local musician playing Canon in D mayor with glasses of water.

The Englischer Garten, German for “English Garden”, is a large public park in the centre of Munich, Bavaria, stretching from the city centre to the northeastern city limits. With an area of 3.7 km2 (1.4 sq mi) (370 ha or 910 acres), the Englischer Garten is one of the world’s largest urban public parks, larger than New York’s Central Park. The name refers to its English garden form of informal landscape, a style popular in Britain from the mid-18th century to the early 19th century and particularly associated with Capability Brown.

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The English Garden, Munich. A nice place to stop and spend your evening.

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Surfers riding the waves at the canal end in English Garden.

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We ride a tricycle from English Garden back to old town area.

After visiting English Garden we went back to the old town area and wait for dinner time. We went to Hard Rock Cafe, bought some clothes and sat on the table near the street for two hours. There is an old man playing guitars and singing near the crossroad, there’s also a mime artist asking people to take photos with him in return for money.

Our lunch is at the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, a beer hall in Munich, Germany, originally built in 1589 by Bavarian Duke Maximilian I as an extension of the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München brewery. The general public was admitted in 1828 by Ludwig I. The building was completely remodeled in 1897 by Max Littmann when the brewery moved to the suburbs. Everything but the ground floor (“Schwemme”) was destroyed in the bombing of WW II; it took until 1958 to be rebuilt.

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Inside Hofbrauhaus Munich, second floor.

That’s the end of our city tour at Munich, so we got back to hotel and pack for our trip home tomorrow.

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Lufthansa landing at Munich Airport.

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The landscape after take off from Munich Airport.

DSCF5136I woke up on the flight and found beautiful lights under, with excruciating and painful process I manage to take some decent shots with my Fuji XT1 and XF 56 at f/1.2. When I check with the GPS on the airplane, I was on the top of Kabul.

Until next time folks!

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East Europe Trip Day 10: Salzburg, Ride to Munich

Today we are going to Munich (Germany), but first we detour to Salzburg to go to Mirabell garden where “The Sound of Music” was filmed. The bus ride from Vienna to Salzburg was beautiful and the weather was colder than the previous days. On our way to Salzburg we stopped at a small city for early lunch in a chinese restaurant.

Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for the musical play and film The Sound of Music.

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Mirabell Palace and gardens, Salzburg.

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Several scenes from The Sound of Music were recorded in Mirabell Palace and gardens. Maria and the children sing ‘Do-Re-Mi’ while dancing around the horse fountain and using the steps as a musical scale. After visiting the beautiful garden and taking photos of bees around the flowers, we walked to the altstadt or the old town area of Salzburg.

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The Altstadt of Salzburg. On this road (left side) there is a house where Mozart was born.

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The old town area of Salzburg, here you’ll find many branded stores such as Hermes, Prada, also cafés.

The main building around the old town area of Salzburg is Salzburg Cathedral. Founded by Saint Rupert in 774 on the remnants of a Roman town, the cathedral was rebuilt in 1181 after a fire. In the seventeenth century, the cathedral was completely rebuilt in the Baroque style under Prince-Bishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau to its present appearance. Salzburg Cathedral still contains the baptismal font in which composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized.

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The Salzburg Cathedral.

It was raining when we walk back from the old town to the bus, luckily not heavily. On such a colder day compared to previous days, I slept on the bus until we arrived in Munich, Germany.

Munich is the capital and largest city of the German state of Bavaria, on the banks of River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps. Munich is the third largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, with a population of around 1.5 million. The Munich Metropolitan Region is home to 5.8 million people.

The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning “by the monks”. It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich; hence the monk depicted on the city’s coat of arms. The city became the Nazi movement’s infamous Hauptstadt der Bewegung (lit.: “Capital of the movement”), and after post-war reconstruction was the host city of the 1972 Summer Olympics.

We have our dinner in chinese restaurant (again) in Munich and directly go to our hotel for rest.

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East Europe Trip Day 9: Vienna City Tour, Classical Music Concert

Today we started our day with breakfast in the restaurant at the hotel lobby and went straight ahead to Hofburg Palace. Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace in the centre of Vienna. Part of the palace forms the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria. Built in the 13th century and expanded in the centuries since, the palace has housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, including monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was the principal imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was their summer residence. It was quite crowded, there are few street musician and a women offering a flower and asking for money afterward.

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Hofburg Palace area, Vienna.

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Hofburg Palace, Vienna.

There is also shops around the palace, including Starbucks at the front gate and lots of horse carriage. We also shopped for fridge magnet and I bought a victorinox with Mozart picture on it. After visiting Hofburg we went to the bus and went to Schonbrunn Palace.

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Buildings in front of Hofburg Palace’s gate. There’s Starbucks on my right and a watch shop on the front.

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The gate into Hofburg Palace, horse carriage are waiting for tourist who want to have a city tour.

Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna, Austria. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in the country. Since the mid-1950s it has been a major tourist attraction. The history of the palace and its vast gardens spans over 300 years, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs. We went inside the palace with a local tour guide, the tour inside the castle took about 45 minutes then we went to the garden behind the castle to take some pictures.

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Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna.

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Garden on the back of Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna.

Our lunch located in a Chinese Restaurant in the city, a small place for our group. We went to a stores that sell branded goods with cheaper price, a recommendation and mandatory visit for our group. We bought nothing there because we were doubting the originality and the price isn’t much cheaper anyway. It’s about two o’clock when we headed for Karntner strasse for shopping and eating the famous Sacher Torte.

Kärntner Straße (English: Carinthian Street) is the most famous shopping street in central Vienna. It runs from the Stephansplatz out to the Wiener Staatsoper at Karlsplatz on the Ringstraße. The first record of Kärntner Straße is from 1257, as Strata Carintianorum, which refers to its importance as a trade route to the southern province of Carinthia .

Vienna claims to be the “coffee house capital of the world”. A strong tradition of coffee houses created an environment where both residents and visitors could meet, share ideas, and leisurely discuss the events of the day. The coffee house status in Vienna would become central to its culture and tradition with the cornerstone of each fine coffee house being its freshly-baked cakes. These classic tortes were to become highly regarded works of art and intense rivalries developed as to who could create the finest masterpiece.

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The legendary Sacher Torte and Vienna ice coffee.

Today, the Original Sacher Torte is one of the most recognized cakes in the world and even helped establish the five star Hotel Sacher in Vienna founded in 1876 by Franz Sacher’s son, Eduard Sacher. The Original Sacher Torte is still made almost entirely by hand using Franz Sacher’s recipe and is a closely guarded secret. More than 360,000 cakes a year are made in Vienna by its 41 employees, many of which are shipped all over the world allowing a “taste of Vienna” to be delivered to many far away places. The most popular destinations for its cakes are Germany, Italy, France, The USA, and many countries in Asia.

We bought lots of goods in Karntner strasse, among them two Rimowa Luggage which is very cheap compared to Jakarta (€389 for cabin sized vs Rp 10 million), I bought an attache briefcase, my mother and sister bought shoes and bag. Sadly, watches are more expensive in Europe than in Jakarta.

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St. Stephen Cathedral in Karnterstrasse.

I also went inside St. Stephen cathedral before heading to watch concert in Kursalon. The concert started at 8.15 so we waited in a cafe under the hall and drink. The concert plays music composed by Mozart, Schubert, and other famous classical musician. They also featured dancers and singers to accompany the music itself. The concert is divided into two part, 45 minutes, then 15 minutes pause, and another 30 minutes. It was great experience, just make sure you don’t sit near a child or baby.

DSCF4850Classical music concert at Kursalon, Vienna.

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East Europe Trip Day 8: Bratislava (Slovakia), Ride to Vienna, Shopping at Parndorf

Today we had a long ride to Vienna and stopped at several places on our way. We started our trip at eight and had one toilet stop at a quite big gas station. A German guy asked us if we could speak mandarin and invited us to a convention in Munich. At eleven we arrived in Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. Bratislava, formerly Pressburg is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 500,000, the country’s largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia, occupying both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.

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Bratislava Castle, Bratislava (Slovakia).

We visited the castle on a hill where we could see a river and bridge from the castle area. Bratislava Castle, situated on a plateau 85 metres (279 ft) above the Danube. Under Queen Maria Theresa, the castle became a prestigious royal seat. In 1811, the castle was inadvertently destroyed by fire and lay in ruins until the 1950s, when it was rebuilt mostly in its former Theresian style. After three hours ride from Budapest to Bratislava, we still had 45 minutes ride to Parndorf Shopping Outlet for shopping.

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River and rotating restaurant at the top of the bridge, taken from Bratislava Castle.

We arrived at one at the afternoon and ate at Nordsee in Parndorf. We shoped branded goods (which is at a very discounted price compared to the stores), I bought Church’s Shoes and several Brooks Brothers Clothes and Trousers. My sister and mother bought quite a lot too. There’s wifi in Parndorf so we could do some research regarding the price of goods. We had four and a half hours to shop and lunch, I could say that there wasn’t much time left.

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Landscape on the way to Parndorf, Austria.

We leave Parndorf at six and had another one hour ride to Vienna where we had our lunch in a Chinese restaurant in second floor building near Kartnrstrasse. There weren’t any staff outside the family, the father cooked our food, the mother and two daughters served the food. Then we headed for our hotel in Austria Trend Ananas.

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Landscape on the way to Vienna, Austria.

Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria, and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria’s primary city, with a population of about 1.8 million. Until the beginning of the 20th century it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today it has the second most number of German speakers after Berlin.

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Landscape on the way to Vienna, Austria.

Apart from being regarded as the City of Music because of its musical legacy, Vienna is also said to be “The City of Dreams” because it was home to the world’s first psycho-analyst – Sigmund Freud. The city’s roots lie in early Celtic and Roman settlements that transformed into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is well known for having played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, and the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

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East Europe Trip Day 7: Budapest City Tour, Sunset at Fisherman Bastion

Today we went on a city tour around Budapest. First we went to Fisherman Bastion complex. Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle hill in Budapest, around Matthias Church. It was designed and built between 1895 and 1902 on the plans of Frigyes Schulek. Construction of the bastion destabilised the foundations of the neighbouring 13th century Dominican Church which had to be pulled down. Between 1947–48, the son of Frigyes Schulek, János Schulek, conducted the other restoration project after its near destruction during World War II.

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Fisherman Bastion among the cityscape of Budapest.

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Budapest taken from a café at the top of Fisherman Bastion.

From the towers and the terrace a panoramic view exists of Danube, Margaret Island, Pest to the east and the Gellért Hill. The Bastion takes its name from the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages. It is a viewing terrace, with many stairs and walking paths.

Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Budapest, Hungary, in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of Buda’s Castle District. According to church tradition, it was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015, although no archaeological remains exist. The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda and the seventh largest church of medieval Hungarian Kingdom.

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Matthias Church inside Buda Castle District.

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Inside Matthias Church.

After touring the Fisherman Bastion complex and took some pictures of the cityscape, we walked to the Presidential Palace nearby.

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Change of guard in Presidential Palace in Budapest.

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The Presidential Palace in Budapest.

Then we headed to Hero’s Square right at noon which is really, really hot. Heroes’ Square is one of the major squares in Budapest, Hungary, noted for its iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars and other important national leaders, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The square lies at the outbound end of Andrássy Avenue next to City Park. It hosts the Museum of Fine Arts and the Műcsarnok. The square has played an important part in contemporary Hungarian history and has been a host to many political events, such as the reburial of Imre Nagy in 1989. The sculptures were made by sculptor Zala György from Lendava.

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Then we went to Citadel, a hill overlooking the city.

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Citadel, the hike to this statue from parking lot took about 10 minutes.

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Cityscape taken from Citadel.

We had our lunch in a chinese restaurant near a small shopping mall before heading for a cruise across Danube river and Margaret Island. The cruise took less than one hour, the view is great and we can see the parliament house from the boat.

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Budapest’s Parliament House taken from a cruise.

We also visited St. Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary. It was the sixth largest church building in Hungary before 1920. Today, it is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary.

Around three o’clock we were dropped in Vaci Utca, while my sister and mother shopped I sat on a café and watched people on the street. We walked along the street and ate at Buda cafe, I had a lamb Zucchini.

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Street of Vaci Utca, Budapest.

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Buddha Statue inside Buddha Bar in Vaci Utca.

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My lamb zucchini.

Around 8 pm, I and my father went to Fisherman Bastion again for the third time to watch the sunset. We arrived on time and had the perfect spot to see the city, we sat for two hours watching the sky turn to dark and of course I took lots of good photos there. A sailor from Russia exhanged a cigarettes with my father, and we had a good time. We walked around the area again and took few pictures before heading back to hotel with bus number 16 and walked for one kilometer.

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Sunset overlooking the city of Budapest taken from Fisherman Bastion.

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Sunset overlooking the Parliament House in Budapest taken from Fisherman Bastion.

DSCF4582Sunset turns into night at Budapest.

*Please be careful when using taxi in Budapest, most of them are tricky and will charge you unreasonable rate, even the one with meter.

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