fun with funiculars.

Have you ever ridden a funicular?  While researching our upcoming trip to Budapest, I found that they have a funicular that goes to the top of ‘Castle Hill’.

photo found here:  http://www.europeanbestdestinations.org/top/best-funiculars-in-europe/
photo found here: http://www.europeanbestdestinations.org/top/best-funiculars-in-europe/

Don’t know what a funicular is?

funicular noun : a railway going up and down a mountain that carries people in cars pulled by a moving cable.

This got me thinking about how many funiculars I have been on, and I started to realize the list was kind of fun.  So I thought I’d share them with you.  My first funicular ride was in Bergen, Norway.  My mom and I were there … gosh … over 20 years ago.  Bergan has the Fløibanen funicular.  Ride to the top and enjoy the views of Bergen!

photo from:  http://tripcrushblog.com/
photo from: http://tripcrushblog.com/

Have you ever been to Santorini?  If so, and if you arrive by sea, you know there are two options for getting up to the town proper on top of the cliff.  It’s either the funicular or a donkey ride.  When we were there with our friends Joe & Vonda, we knew we had to experience the donkey ride.  And it was definitely an experience.  Basically they plop you on a donkey, slap him on the rear and up you go!  You have to hope that you have a well behaved donkey.  Mine kept stopping for a rest.  Mr. Q’s was off and running and went way ahead of us all.  Vonda’s donkey kept trying to crash her into the wall.  Unfortunately, I am still in the process of recovering my old photos after my recent computer crash so I can’t share an actual picture of me on a donkey, but I found one on pinterest that looks practically the same.

Me and Mr. Q
Me and Mr. Q

Yep … practically identical doubles for me and Mr. Q.  Obviously, I jest.  Although Mr. Q’s legs are just as good as that guy’s.

Anyway, as fun as it was to ride the donkeys uphill, for the return trip (after enjoying baklava and coffee at a cafe overlooking the sea) we chose the funicular.  Going downhill on those donkeys seemed like a dicey proposition at best.

Prague also has a funicular that goes to the top of Petrin Hill.  When Mr. Q and I were in Prague, we hired a private guide through PragueWalker.  This might sound super ritzy, but it was actually very affordable.  Less than $150 for a 4 hour walking tour.  Our guide was very knowledgeable about her city, and we had her all to ourselves.  We could pick and choose what we wanted to see, and how long we wanted to spend at each location.  We were mainly on foot, but she also took us on the public tram to show us the ropes.  We rode the tram to the Ujezd stop where we boarded the funicular and rode to the top of the hill.  Once there, we visited Prague’s version of the Eiffel Tower.

photo from:  http://www.bohemia-apartments.com/blog/posts/a-trip-up-to-petrin-hill-in-prague/
photo from: http://www.bohemia-apartments.com/blog/posts/a-trip-up-to-petrin-hill-in-prague/

We so enjoyed having a private guide in Prague that we have decided to do it again in Budapest.  For $130 (total, not per person) we have booked a private guide with Travel Guide Hungary for a 4 hour walking tour of Budapest.  Since there are 4 of us in our group, that is a mere $32.50 (plus tip) per person.  Our guide will meet us in our hotel lobby and we will set off from there on foot.  It couldn’t possibly be any easier.

If you plan to travel to a foreign city, consider hiring a private guide.  At least look into the cost.  It definitely is cost prohibitive in some places, but quite affordable in others.  And if there is a funicular, make sure you take a ride on it!

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6 thoughts on “fun with funiculars.

  1. Very interesting mode of transportation never heard of a funicular. And I applaud you for riding on a donkey. I most likely would have taken the funicular both ways. I did not know Prague had their own Eiffel type structure either it’s beautiful. I love architecture so that is always one of my favorite parts of traveling. I know you must be getting super excited for this adventure.

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  2. I learned something new today! One of the fanciest restaurant near to where I live has a funicular. You either have to go down a bunch of steep winding stairs of ride the funicular. Now I know what it is called. I just called it the tram. Ha ha ha

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