|View of The Danube from Buda Castle|
This post has taken a little longer to write than I had planned. We got back from holidays on Friday with the hopes of having an easy going weekend before facing work again on Monday. The reality was the weekend was pretty busy and I have just been exhausted ever since. Our holiday was amazing but it was pretty busy. We were gone for 12 days and we did a little tour of 4 cities! There was a lot of eating and drinking but before I go into the post holiday weigh in, its time to share how we spent the time!
Our first stop was Budapest, and I have to say I LOVE this city. We arrived late on Monday night and had 3 full days to explore the city. There is something so special about this place, you can have whatever type of trip you want there. It is so pretty and so much to do/see. The centre of the city never seems to end as well, everywhere you go there is like endless streets of bars or restaurants as well as really beautiful architecture. We spent the first day over in the Buda side of the city, the castle and older buildings. It is up on the hill and the views Danube really are spectacular. Day 2 was spenttouring the Parliament building which really is something quite impressive and visiting Margaret Island and the Parks out there. Day 3 and our final day we made the trek out to the City Park just to find all the Art Museums closed! The only problem we had with Budapest was the heat, walking anywhere was an absolute struggle, and it didn't get any better in any of the other cities.
The other great thing about Budapest was the food was fantastic. We only had one dodgy meal the whole time we were there. On top of all the lovely food we had, there was one AMAZING meal. We found a Michelin starred restaurant and went for their 7 course tasting menu with wine pairings. It was 10 courses of pure delight. It was our 5th Michelin experience and it was fantastic. If you are in Budapest and are a bit of a foodie, definitely give Costes a try. The cheese course with its jigsaw shaped jellys, and the dry ice desert along with the most perfect egg yolk ravioli I have ever had. The wine parings were all Hungarian and I will be looking out for a lot more hungarian wine after the experience. Everything from start to finish was fantastic and the bartender even recommended a lovely little cocktail bar we headed to on our last night in the city (Boutiq, a must see if you like cocktails).
When we had been planning our trip, we were originally only going to spend one night there. But we found a really nice hotel and heard it was a nice city so decided to extend it to 2 nights. What a mistake! The hotel itself was lovely but there really is hardly anything to do in the city. To be fair, the first night we were looking for specific restaurants we had found on Trip Advisor and they were pretty isolated with nothing else around so we got the impression there was nothing else going on, which on a Friday night was pretty disappointing. On the other hand the bar in our hotel seemed to be the place to be and there was a big crowd drinking there so the night was not all lost.
We had been considering making a day trip out to Vienna so as not to waste any days of the holiday but unfortunatley the first full day Conor came down with a pretty bad bout of food poisoning and so the day was pretty much spent in the hotel. We had a fancy dinner booked for that night but we had to miss it and just pick another restaurant in Warsaw to treat ourselves too. The following day we were getting an overnight train to Krakow at 11pm so we still had the full day to see all Bratislava had to offer. We checked out of the hotel around midday and were pretty much done with the city by 4pm. And that was taking a long lunch and taking our time looking around. Bratislava castle was quite pretty but nothing spectacular. There are loads of churches around but really nothing that blew us away, unless we missed the best part of the city. We did have a lovely tapas meal and plenty of wine before finding the overnight train from hell with no aircon! But overall I wouldn't overly recommend Bratislava for anything other than a drinking holiday!
Krakow I also adored, it came in close 2nd to Budapest for my favourite city and I really wish we had more time there. We arrived at 7am fresh off the overnight train, feeling very sweaty, tired and stale. The plan had been to grab a quick breakfast, dumping our bags in the hotel and going and trying to squeeze in whatever we could that day. We had a full day tour booked for the following day so really Monday was our only day to see the city. When we got to the hotel to our delight they had a room ready for us so we were able to shower and freshen up before heading out to explore. It was an absolute lifesaver as I know I wouldn't have been able for anything without that shower. Day one we headed out see Oskar Schindler's Factory Museum. It was a lot bigger than I thought it would be inside, and really interesting. There was a lot of general information about the war and less focus on Schindler himself but still definitely a really interesting Museum. After that we had some lunch and had a look around the Jewish Quarter before finally giving into our exhaustion and heading back to the hotel for a afternoon nap. The food in Krakow was great too and we had a gorgeous sushi feast for dinner that night.
Day 2 was a full day tour, we were picked up from our hotel at 9:40am and straight to Auschwitz. It was a really tough but worthwhile tour to do. I had been a bit wary about doing the Saltmine tour straight after but to be honest it was probable the best thing to do. I wouldn't have been in the mindframe for anything else if we had just gone back to the hotel. The Saltmines tour was fantastic. They are so interesting. Full of sculptures made completely out of salt and an entire chapel underground. The chandeliers have crystals made out of salt crystals. The tour takes you 135 meters underground and covers 3km of walking. If you do go to Krakow you have to do this tour. It is fantastic. We got back to the hotel around 7pm, just enough time to freshen up and hit the town again. We had a lovely polish dinner and then a few drinks in Market Square!
Warsaw was our last stop of the Holiday and we only really had one full day and an evening there. The first night we wanted something super easy so just headed out for a kebab and found a fantastic little cocktail bar (Kita Koguta). The following day we were up early enough, and after a little bit of wandering around the old town we realised we were pretty much done with sightseeing and pretty much bar hopped our way across the city. We did visit the Chopin museum which is far and away the best museum I have ever been too. It was completely interactive, your ticket played different parts of the exhibit in whichever language you had specified. There were little booths where you could listen to all of his music and it was just a really beautiful museum. I really wish more museums were as interactive as this.
After our missed dinner in Bratislava we booked into Sense in Warsaw to end the holiday with a bang. This was another 7 course tasting menu but with so many little extra details added. While I still think Costes was our number 1 meal from the holiday this place was spectacular too. The service was a little stiffer but each course was just wonderful and the dramatic petit fours at the end including dry ice and a treat that looked and smelled like a cigar but tasted completely different was lots of fun!
So that was our holiday, what was the damage on my return? While I felt great in all my new clothes for most of the holiday, I was starting to feel a little bloated and pudgy by the end. In addition my TOTM was due which always means a jump in the scales so I knew the damage would be worse than usual. I gained 7lbs while on holiday, which while it is more than I would have liked, its definitely what I deserved. We did do lots of walking and I did get 3 work outs in my last week but all the food and drink had to go somewhere. I would like to say I got back on track the moment I landed but we had a really busy weekend so I ate an awful lot over the weekend too. I have been about 95% since Monday. Tracking everything but using up weeklies that were definitely blown on Sunday so I am not hopeful for a big loss on Saturday morning. I need to get back into my groove and get back on the road running again and refocus my attentions. My friend has now set the date for her wedding and I have 7 months until I am bridesmaid! I need to be sure I am back at goal and staying there by March!