Budapest Hungary

During May 2017 we decided to book a four day break to Budapest in Hungary. We had never visited the Hungary before so it was new to us. What a surprise! It is so beautiful! We filled our four days, there was so much more to do!

For some reason I had assumed the weather would be cold but how wrong was I? The climate was on a par with the South of France or Croatia! In May the weather was beautiful very Mediterranean!

When in Budapest be prepared to get your walking shoes on. There is so much to see and do. We booked accommodation on the edge of the Jewish quarter, this was a good spot it was quite central to everything on our to do list. The Grand Budapest Apartments had everything we needed and it was clean and quirky with the open balconies of all the apartments overlooking a centre courtyard.

Whilst there we visited both Buda and Pest and loved them both. 

We climbed Gellert Hill and carried on walking up the long pathway until we arrived at The Liberty Statue /  Freedom Statue. It is huge and its purpose is to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for the independence, freedom and the prosperity of Hungary. 

The scenery from both Gellert Hill and The Liberty Statue is amazing, you can take wonderful photographs from these vantage points. 

We also took a trip on the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular. This is located not too far from the entry path to Gellert Hill.

The Funicular will take you from river level up to the Buda Castle above, once again there are amazing views from here.

Upon walking across the chain bridge we then took a walk along the riverbank passing the grand Parliament building where we paid homage to The Shoes on the Danube. Such a sad part of their history and it brought tears to my eyes, it is important never to forget the past and I felt proud to take a few moments to pray to those who perished. The shoes are located on the east bank of the Danube River and stands as a monument to the thousands executed along the riverbank in 1945.

There are boat trips on the Danube that are worth doing as you gain a different perspective of Budapest from the water. 

There are some quaint and quirky bars where you can stop for refreshments. One of our favourites was a little outbuilding on the side of the road where a man plays a guitar daily. They got to know us well when we were there! They had reasonably priced food and it was delicious. 

When in Budapest you have to go to at least one of their many spas. The main spa on Margaret Island and park was closed due to a refurbishment when we visited, but the grounds are fabulous so if you have a few hours free go there for a walk. 

We found another spa “Lukacs spa” with little problem and we thoroughly enjoyed, although due to the language barrier we had a bit of a run around with regards to not having swim caps! It took us about an hour to be adequately kitted out before we were allowed in!!! I am sure it was the case of being “lost in translation!”

 There is so much to do and see in Budapest and we will return as there was so much we didn’t get around to doing as we ran out of time. 

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Wroxham on the Norfolk Broads England 

I recently visited the Norfolk Broads in England.  It is a beautiful part of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed walking around little rural villages such as Wroxham and travelling on board a boat. That is a must when visiting the Norfolk Broads!

Accomodation I found to be expensive especially during school holidays. So much so I booked with Airbnb further away in Norwich which was still expensive but a little more reasonable.

The boat trips in Wroxham can be fully booked but I didn’t find it too bad. For a family of 2 adults 2 children and one infant we paid slightly over £25. Not bad really And the trip took 2 hours. So good value I thought.

The Broads are beautiful and very scenic. It was my fourth time visiting and I never get tired of the scenery.

There are plenty of places to eat: little cafes, restaurants or chip shop take aways. It’s lovely to find a spot by the waterways with a drink and watch the boats go by…..very relaxing.

Ireland!

I absolutely love Ireland. My ancestors were from Ireland and I always feel like I have come home even though I am from Wales. We have had many long weekend trips to Ireland, usually around Christmas. I find the people so friendly and the country is absolutely beautiful.Ireland 14 dec 2014 (68)

I love Dublin but prefer the countryside especially the Wicklow mountains. We have spent many times driving up the old military road, through Sally Gap and visiting places such as Glendalough with its monastic site. Then driving toward the coast following the map from Dun Laoire to Greystones

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Powerscourt Gardens near Enniskerry is beautiful and the grounds are absolutely stunning. If you are ever nearby please visit as it is worthy to be included in your itinerary.

Some of the Irish countryside views are the most beautiful I have ever seen. I am sure It will not be long before I return to the land of my ancestors, until then I have fond memories.

Sintra Portugal

Sintra in Portugal is beautiful but so busy! Car owners will need to search for car parking and expect to walk. When entering Sintra we were a little confused in what direction to go in, we found the directions in the area poor but we managed to find what we wanted to when visiting. The shops hidden in the little cobbled lanes in Sintra are quaint and whimsical in design, beware though people were slipping all over the place on the cobbles!

The higher you go the more splendid the view. You will see the Moorish Sintra National Palace with twin chimneys and tilework. There is a hilltop 19th century Pena National Palace.

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We chose to have a very reasonably priced tuk-tuk ride up to the hill top palace. Which was amazing! It added to the experience and the guide was so hilariously funny! I would certainly recommend a tuk-tuk ride!

When reaching the ticket office we decided to walk through the gardens which lead up to the Pena National Palace. The tickets were quite expensive for a family of four so we only paid to go through the garden and not to enter the palace.

IMG_1998Even though we did not enter the palace we felt we did the right thing as the queue for the entry at the top of the hill was over 2 hours long! I know I wouldn’t have had the patience to wait and what we viewed was enough, the experience was still a very positive one. The views and surroundings were beautiful. Here’s to the next time!

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Bacalhoa Buddah Eden Bombarral Portugal

Whilst travelling on holiday we accidentally came across the Buda Garden in Bombarral Portugal. It turns out this place was a 5 minute drive from our accommodation! What a find! A little bit of information, you would not expect to find a buddah haven in Portugal but you will! It seems so out of place but once you immerse yourself it’s fantastic! 

We took the mini (tourist) train around the grounds to get our bearings then we ventured around the site on foot. 

It is such a beautiful setting with lovely statues throughout. Note that no picnics are allowed (which is a  shame) but you’ve guessed it…..there’s a cafe there!! 

I loved the terracotta warriors! Not sure why they are blue? Still beautiful!!!! There was so much to see and you are left feeling relaxed and calm due to the surroundings.

If you get the chance to visit please go. It is beautiful.

Lively Lisbon

Lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of the many winding streets in Lisbon, perhaps take a ride on Tram 28 (if you can be patient to queue!) Or take a tuk tuk ride!

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One thing is for sure as with all big cities watch your purse & wallet! Keep your wits about you and use common sense.

The streets are filled with bars, restaurants and quaint cafes. Make sure you take time out to stop and people watch.

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I recently enjoyed meandering around the streets of Lisbon, then when too tired to walk I took a ride on a tuk tuk. This was far better than the Tram 28 option which is a tourist go to stop. The queue for this tram was down the street and the people looked mightily squashed into each other’s armpits on the tram! Now I am sure the tram is great and I did want to go on it but no no I don’t think, so off on a tuk tuk I went!!

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The tuk tuk tour took me around all the major tourist stops. There was an opportunity to get off the tuk tuk for 10 minutes at a time to go inside churches or view the beautiful vista of Lisbon from Alfama. The driver was so informative and humorous giving information, history and guidance on Lisbon. It was very much worth the money we paid and it was great fun and certainly one of the highlights of my time in Portugal.

The hill tram – Ascensor da Gloria is worthy of a trip. You can walk it but it’s a good experience  (it is located across the road and more or less opposite from the Hard Rock Cafe) I found the return tickets good value for a family of four (best to have the right amount when boarding). There is always a queue to go up, but not so much going back down.  At the top you will be met by a scenic view of Lisbon. 

Here you will pass legal graffiti artists showing their art work. The street vibe and feel for the city is very much evident.

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I love the country and peace a quiet but even I was taken with Lisbon and will certainly make a return journey there.

Kensington London England UK

London is a fantastic place to visit but I particularly like Kensington. If you get the chance visit Kensington Palace go! The palace is really interesting and you get to see how the other half live! We saved money too as Kensington Palace accepted Tesco vouchers, so happy days!

Within the palace are items from Queen Victoria and Princess Diana. I am an architecture and history lover so a trip like this is wonderful. The great thing about Kensington Palace grounds is the green area. London can feel claustrophobic at times and the grounds surrounding the palace I find calming. It is a definite must do when in London.