In mid-May I jetted of to Europe for a wedding and an epic road trip.
Had a quick stopover in London before flying over to Tirgu Mures, Romania. The large sign “Transylvania Airport” greeted us as we landed at our first stop on the trip. The lady we met on the plane decided we weren’t going to take a cab – she was going to have her brother in law drop us off at our hotel, what a great start to the trip!
We had a one night in Tirgu before being picked up by the Groom and his father in law for a lovely drive through the lush and green Transylvanian countryside to the town of Bistrita.
The wedding was the following day so we had a wander around the town and rested up. That first evening we got to taste the delights of Romania food, including cirbo (sour soup), wild boar, and bear salami!
The wedding was gorgeous! The ceremony was held in a Romania Orthodox Church.
The reception was in our hotel’s ballroom. Tables were set up for 400 guests. We spent the next 10 hours drinking, dancing, and making our way through 6 different courses. There were fireworks at the end of the evening, a perfect end to a wedding I will never forget.
The next morning was a rough car ride to the town of Cluj Napoca where we planned to jump on a train to Budapest. When we got to the train station, the ticket lady revealed to us that the 3pm train we were hoping to get on didn’t run on Sundays… the next train was at 2am! So we spent the day in Cluj with our new friends from the wedding, seeing the sites, eating, and drinking until the time came for us to board our train.
We booked a sleeper car, which was just like all the old films about the Orient Express! The top bunks pulled down and the bottom bunks folded up into chairs. We had a couple other people in our “room” and did our best to figure all this out without waking everyone up.
At 5am we heard a bang! Bang! Bang! on the door. “Passport control!” Romanian immigration checked us out of the country and 30 mins later, the Hungarian immigration checked us into the country. I found it all quite charming, but everyone else in the bunks just seemed annoyed by it all.
8 hours after leaving Transylvania, we were in Budapest, Hungary. Arriving quite early in the morning we checked in, had a bit of brekkie, and jumped on a hop on/hop off tour. We saw Hero’s square, the City Park, and stopped at the top of the hill on the Buda side to see the Liberty Statue.
That evening we went to a bar/pub called For Sale where we gorged ourselves on delicious goulash before heading over to Szimpla Kert, a ruin bar. Ruin bars are places that have taken over ruined buildings, decorated them in the most random way possible, stuck a bar in it, added a DJ, and wha-la! One of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to.
The next day we ate in the Central Market then took a boat ride down the Danube. It was a lovely day on the river and we got to see buildings on Castle Hill and the Parliament building.
At this point it was time to head to Vienna. We packed our bags again and headed to the train station. At the train station we noticed a train to Vienna was leaving in 30 minutes, with the next one leaving in 3 hours. In the line to buy our tickets and the clock is ticking down… 7 minutes before the train was scheduled to leave we finally got our tickets and ran to the train! We made it just in time for the 2.5 hour ride to Vienna.
Getting in late to Vienna we decided we’d had enough meat and bread and ate at a Vietnamese hole in the wall. Spent the next few hours just wandering around the city admiring all the beautiful buildings before finishing the night off watching the Barcelona vs Bayern Munich match.
The next day we stopped at the Leopold museum where we discovered that the artist Egon Schiele liked to paint a lot of naked ladies. After getting our fill of naked ladies, we wandered down to the National Opera House. The building is absolutely gorgeous. That evening’s show was sold out, but we managed to score some tickets to see Die Fledermaus at the Volksopera. We met up with an old friend of mine for a few drinks, ran to the hotel to change, and then headed off to the Opera.
The opera was wonderful! The only unpleasant moment of the evening was when we had to request new seats after the first act because the old lady next to me kept releasing some rather potent gas. This was very difficult to politely explain to the ushers at the theater, but we finally got the point across and all had a bit of a giggle. Otherwise, the singing and costumes were fantastic!
The following day we had breakfast in the Naschmarkt and then headed to Schönbrunn Palace. It’s an absolutely spectacular place full of opulence and grandeur. I got a very delicious strudel there and we totally rocked the maze.
Drinks in the museumsquartier that evening and the next day we were off to Prague! No drama with the tickets at the station this time.
The rest of our crew met up with us in Prague. The first night we ended up eating delicious food then heading straight to the Roxy Club for drinks and dancing. The next day we wandered all over the city admiring the beautiful architecture. We crossed over the Charles Bridge and hiked up to the Castle District. Wandered back across the Danube and into the Jewish Quarter.
That evening we went to Cross Club and the Bukanyra boat club for some more dancing and drinking. The next morning was a bit of a recovery morning. We wandered around Wenceslas Square doing some shopping and meandering around. We tried some of the Trdelnik (a cinnamon pastry) and then headed out to the airport.
I spent another day in London catching up with friends and doing some more shopping before my most epic trip came to an end.
I met amazing people, tried delicious food, and saw beautiful places! It was an absolutely fantastic holiday and I can’t wait for the next one!