Ian Wright starts his adventure in Budapest,
the capital of Hungary where he finds that tourism has
boomed since the fall of communism in 1989. He samples
the traditional Hungarian sausage, luxuriates at the
thermal baths and steps into the past when he visits
a communist theme park.
From Budapest Ian hitches a lift to Eger,
stopping off on the way at a refuge for zoo animals
where he gets friendly with one of the bears. Once in
Eger, Ian checks out the city's baroque architecture,
and goes grape picking with a local family who encourage
him to drink plenty of the fruits of his labour!
Travelling by bus, Ian continues his journey to Hortobagy
National Park situated on the Great Plain or
Puszta, which covers one third of the country. The Puszta
is home to whipcracking Hungarian cowboys, renowned
for their horsemanship, and Ian gets to see a display
of their impressive skills.
Ian crosses the Hungarian border into Romania by train,
and his first stop is Transylvania's medieval town, Sighisoara. This picturesque town was
the birthplace of the ruler who became known as Dracula,
and Ian investigates the history of his famous tale.
He also samples Romania's most popular dish Tripe soup,
before embarking on the next leg of his journey into
the Carpathian mountain range.
After making merry with the locals in a small mountain
village, Ian climbs the Fagaras peaks, and discovers some breath taking views. Then taking
to the road, Ian travels through a landscape of orchard
covered hills to the small town of Bistrita,
where Romania's Gypsy community gather for a festival.
At the festival, Ian observes the fiercely held traditions
of gypsy culture, and joins in with
the drinking and the dancing.
From Bistrita, Ian travels East to the Romanian capital Bucharest. Here he tours the many reminders
of the Ceauscescu era, including a visit to the Grand
Palace and the leader's final resting place. Ian finishes
his journey discovering evidence that the country is
no longer locked behind the Iron Curtain, and life is
changing for the better. Conditions for some of the
street kids in Romanian orphanages has improved greatly
and in one particular refuge Ian plays basketball with
children who have benefited from the support provided.