Here are more pictures! After I have a chance to try out some of our favorite Hungarian recipes with Eros Pista I will post right away…
We spent 9 days over Spring Break driving through Central Europe. We basically did a circle around the Czech Republic. We stopped in 4 countries (including Germany), 3 currencies, and put lots of gas in the Suburban. About 2 hours before we crossed the border into Poland, their President Lech Kaczynski was killed in a plane crash. Then, towards the end of our trip the volcano erupted in Finland creating all sorts of mayhem with fellow travelers in Europe. Thank goodness for ol’ Bessie getting us home safely!
We began our trip in Dresden, a lovely Baroque city in Eastern Germany. It’s amazing how beautiful the city is considering the devastation that happened during the WWII. We stayed the night in a Silesian town called Görlitz. Thank you Rick Steves for your wonderful random recommendations! We loved this town. Our hotel was called Destille Görlitz and had an amazing restaurant as well. The next day we went to a Silesian castle called Ksiaz. Had a picnic, toured the castle and then hiked back to the car in the rain. My family was patient while I waited for good light and photographed the gorgeous castle in between downpours.
The next town we visited in Poland was called Wroclaw. It had some nice architecture and was a good look at non-touristy real life Poland. We arrived the day after their President died so there was much sadness everywhere. Colorful candles and flowers were laid by every monument, church, and flag in the city. We walked into a couple of churches that were full of people singing hymns and mourning for the deaths of everyone on the plane.
After Wroclaw we visited the Auschwitz concentration camp. PJ was hesitant to visit the camp, but after being in these cities with all the history that surrounds them, and after reading several books on Central Europe, he decided to go. We toured the camp and museum separately because the images and scenes were too vivid for our kids. We did take them to the second camp called Auschwitz-Birkenau. We explained everything that had happened to our son, Caden. It was a great learning experience for us all. There were approximately 1.5 million people killed at Auschwitz, mostly Jews. The museum walks you through several buildings showing how the people lived and died at the camp. The evidence was mind-blowing.
We spent the next few days in Krakow. It was a busy city with a lot of character and history as well. The castle hill was beautiful. And I was able to bring home some pretty Polish glass ornaments, yay!
After Poland, we drove through the High Tatras mountains in Slovakia. The overnight stop was nothing special, but broke up our drive to Hungary. We visited a huge castle called Spissky Hrad in the hills.
And then came Hungary! We loved Hungary, the people, the food, and the fun. Our kids especially loved the country. Eger is a gorgeous small Hungarian town famous for it’s red wine called Bikaver, or “Bull’s Blood”. The hotel we stayed at was in the center of the square directly across from a wine tasting store.
Senator Haz Hotel, Eger
Our highlight of the trip was Budapest. We stayed on the Buda side which was fun and allowed us to see both sides of the city in the morning and evening. I had a great birthday dinner and at some amazing Hungarian gulash soup, meat dish, and cake that rivaled our Parisian favs! The weather was not warm, but we had some sun and spent the afternoon at the Szechenyi Baths. Our kids had a blast and it was fun to see Hungarian’s in their element. Budapest has parks throughout the city with the largest one near the baths. Our kids could have spent days there. We will definitely be going back to Budapest!
Our hotel favorite was called Bellevue B & B, a great deal and super friendly hosts.
Here are some photos from our adventure…