In the summer of 1993, a new destination to explore was chosen by my family: Austria and Hungary, to be visited, always by car.
The primary objective was Vienna, which we would have reached after Salzburg, so we would have headed to Budapest, and then returned to Austria via Lake Balaton.
the two-week trip took us through the Brenner in July, to Innsbruck, as we had already done when we returned from Germany, we stayed overnight at the campsite and the next day we headed for Salzburg, the native city of W.A. Mozart, where the birthplace of the Austrian composer / musician is still preserved.
The old town also known as the Old Town (Altstadt) and the Castle pleased us so much for the history that exuded walls and squares, streets and ancient buildings, without forgetting the new part (Neustadt) of the city dating back to the nineteenth century and the house-museum of the musician.
We stayed in Salzburg for two nights, staying overnight with the magnificent view of the Austrian Alps and the mountains surrounding the city.
On the 4th day of travel we headed for Vienna: the ancient Austro-Hungarian capital appeared splendid to us, lying on the banks of the Danube, and after having settled in a nearby campsite we began to tour the city, being struck by the immense garden of the imperial palace Schönbrunn, wandering the immense parks of the city and admiring the Danube and the area of the MuseumsQuartier where the major museums of the city are located such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum or the Weltmuseum: museums dedicated to works of art and collections of weapons and really huge furnishings to see, not to mention the Museum of Modern Art which we avoided … at the time I did not yet have a passion for the modern arts, so being kids we “lost” ourselves among the collections of weapons and armor. One day in the area of the Parliament not far from the MuseumsQuartier we also casually witnessed a brief exhibition of “Lipizzaner” horses which are a breed bred in Austria that as an adult presents a completely white livery, used for riding and towing carriages.
Me and my family stayed 3 nights in Vienna, measuring ourselves with the Austrian cuisine (I will not forget a “purple” cream taken from my mother and turnip base), taking long walks and taking public transportation to move around cheaply around or around the city.
On the morning of the 8th day we headed for the Hungarian border, crossed after thorough checks of the car and passengers, we avoided diverting to Bratislava and following the highway we reached Budapest around noon: also the Hungarian city presented itself crossed by the majestic Danube, which divided it into two.
Of the city I will not forget the thermal baths scattered on the island that currently welcomes the Ziget-Festival on the Margaret Island.
We liked the Hungarian National Museum, which illustrated the history of the country, its customs and traditions of the Magyar population, as did the area of the Citadel, consisting of a Habsburg fortress from the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
In general, however, Budapest appeared to us very relaxed and calm, after the end of the east-west division, anxious to welcome tourists, economic and monumental with its centuries of history.
For the occasion we stayed in a house of a Muslim family that rented rooms, finding us very well. We slept in a quadruple room furnished with an old double bed and two single beds, lying between the dozens of carpets that covered the floor, a wardrobe and a few bedside tables, the shared bathroom was outside the room, on the corridor, in the morning we had breakfast with Turkish coffee (for my parents) and milk or tea accompanied by sweets and biscuits, bread and jam. To overcome the problem of the often busy shared bathroom, we took advantage of the thermal showers, however the weather always remained warm and it was pleasant to soak in the thermal pools.
One evening, since we could not find a restaurant that would convince us to come in and get tired of the Hungarian “goulash”, we even ate in one of the first Mc Donalds that they were opening in the city, a symbol of that western capitalism that so many Hungarians yearned for, after the decades of “Socialist economy”.
After 3-4 days we always moved by car along the “puttingza” (the Hungarian steppe that covers most of the country) towards Lake Balaton, a vacation spot especially frequented by the local inhabitants. Arriving in the town, we spent a couple of days at a campsite on its shores, not missing the opportunity to bathe in its warm and crowded waters of swimmers, sailboats, boats, screaming children and anything floating.
On the shores of the lake there were little restaurants that served the fish of the lake (indeed a little salty, at least the fried one we ate), then there was also a bar where you can sip tokaji wine or soft drinks. After stocking up on the famous Hungarian wine and relaxing on the lake shores, we headed towards Austria, crossing the Hungarian border near a place called Kindergarten Heiligenkreuz and passing quickly to Graz, without stopping because there was little time left.
Going back along the way of going, we passed again to Vienna and then to Salzburg, stopping late at night in a hotel in Innsbruck, a place that given its position on such an important and frequented transit route was ideal for the stops of passage to and from Italy crossing the Alps.
The next morning, as usual, we left early in the morning and reached the Italian border at Valico del Brennero, which we now knew so well, crossing it in the afternoon and ending our trip again in the cool evening, after the summer heat in July that we had accompanied along this journey.
See you for another story…