A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
In the last fortnight or two weeks, I’ve been telling you all about fashion and I will get back to the juicy bits in a few weeks, but for now, back to basics. Haw! Haw!
Yes, it’s that time of year.
Drum roll pleeeeease!
Shiver me timbers!
Well, you know me. Never the easy option!
I am travelling from Berlin to Budapest. From Budapest to Prague. And then from Prague back to Berlin again. Many people do it the other way around but I’m not many people LOL!
I’m going to Hungary and the Czech Republic and I’m going there by the train!
Hungary, also known as the Republic of Hungary is a country in Eastern Europe and thus a part of the old Eastern Bloc!
It is technically situated in Central Europe and is surrounded by Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), Austria and the Ukraine! I will be going to Budapest which is the capital city and considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe surrounded by the river Danube and divided into two lovely parts known unsurprisingly as Buda and Pest!
My trip to Budapest is going to be a cultural one so I’ll be travelling with “The Tall Young Gentleman” and we’ll be staying at not only one (1) hotel in Budapest, but two (2)! We’ll be staying firstly at a luxurious, Asian-inspired five-star hotel consisting of one-hundred and two (102) rooms and located at the corner of the famous Váci utca or Váci street which is one of the main pedestrian thoroughfares and perhaps the most famous High Street in Budapest. This chic but luxurious hotel is called the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply the Buddha-Bar Hotel!
We will then transfer a few days later and we’ll be staying at the beautiful boutique and musically inspired five-star hotel consisting of just forty-nine (49) guest rooms and suites, and located in the historic centre of Pest right next to the St. Stephen’s Basilica. This stylish hotel is called Aria Hotel Budapest.
I simply can’t keep my breath in!
I have written plenty about the Czech Republic because back in the day, I used to live there and it still remains one of my most favourite countries.
I love the Czech Republic so much that we always try to go to Prague every couple of years and my favourite skiing destination is also in this rather wonderful country. In fact, I wrote quite a few things about the various ski slopes that you can go to and how one year, I pretty much only ate fried cheese and fell off the ski-lift! For more information, check out the links below:
Anyhoo, the Czech Republic.
You know. Previously known as Czechoslovakia.
The Czech Republic!!
Oh yeah, the Czech Republic is another previously Eastern Europe nation behind the Iron Curtain! After the Fall of the Berlin Wall, Czechoslovakia decided to split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The country is also technically situated in Central Europe and surrounded by Germany, Austria, Slovakia (not Slovenia. Think Czechooooooooslovakia!) and Poland. We will of course, be going to Prague which is the capital city. How could we not?
Everybody likes Prague! It’s just so. so. so….
What with all those kings, queens, fighting for kingdoms and holy crusades. It’s the British monarchy all over again. Although of course.
They have their own rather interesting Bohemian monarchy LOL!
Prague is said to be the “heart of Europe” and sometimes called “the mother of cities.” Not quite similar to the mother of dragons in the Game of Thrones family saga, but close enough!
It’s beautiful but in the summer months can get crowded, really noisy and sticky. I’m travelling with my I’ve-just-become-a-real-teenager son, so his comfort is of importance.
We will be staying at a four-star modern designed hotel on the other side of the Vltava River. Similar to the art design hotel in Helsinki, this hotel is large and has 168 rooms. We chose this spacious hotel as it’s trendy, in a residential quarter and quiet.
I weighed up whether to stay in the centre of Prague or to, unusual for me, choose a place a little further away. I chose further away for a little bit of peace and quiet LOL! The name of the hotel is Angelo Hotel Prague.
I can’t wait to show “The Tall Young Gentleman” my old haunts!
The first and only time that I visited Budapest was in 2004. I went with a German girlfriend of mine who wasn’t really interested in the sights, wasn’t really interested in history and wasn’t really interested in walking.
All I remember is the awful monstrosity of a “modern” hotel, a river cruise which was thankfully quite charming, real Hungarian goulash that wasn’t in the least chewy, and nothing at all about the city itself!
This visit is going to change all that.
And as for Prague? I have always had a love affair with that city of charm because after I graduated university, I went to live there!
It was my first real job and it was a high-flying graduate programme.
I didn’t speak Czech or German.
I had never been to Eastern Europe before.
I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, and I wasn’t even getting paid initially!
It was the best thing that I had ever done. I had such a fantastic time, that I stayed on, became the Regional Project Manager and lived there for (2) two years!
Prague is both romantic and successful, ancient and modern, cheap but can be horribly expensive.
But the same can be said for Budapest, and therein lies the rub.
These cities are based in Europe and have magnificent stories of richness, history and grandeur.
Both cities are classical beauties.
Both cities have mountains of history.
Both cities are based in Eastern Europe.
Which one shall be the Queen?!
We will be travelling by train.
Between Berlin and Budapest, we will be taking the twelve hour (12) German Railway overland train service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB, on a direct train to Budapest.
In first class no less.
And the difference in price between the second (2nd) class train and the first (1st) class train was….
Wait for it.
Second (2nd) class €59.00 and first (1st) class €69.00.
I booked it immediately LOL!
Between Budapest and Prague, we will be taking the seven (7) hour train journey (second class this time) via the Hungarian Railways or MAV at a cost of 11,780 Ft or €38.40.
This journey should be interesting. About as interesting as when we went to the Polish country-side by local train too!
Between Prague and Berlin, we will be back on the German Network on a five (5) hour train journey (the usual second class) and don’t forget, even though I’ll be paying €29.00, on the German Deutsche Bahn trains, children under 15 years old, travelling with their relatives, are free and cost nothing at all!
I’m so looking forward to sight-seeing river cruises, perhaps going to the baths.
Rambling through the cobbled streets of both Budapest and Prague, booking a live escape game.
‘Should be thrilling!
Doing a little hiking, visiting some interesting museums that tell us a little of the history and culture, going on a walking tour, stuffing ourselves with marvellous local cuisine, going to the local theatre, watching a film in Hungarian or Czech and generally, just having a great time!
It’s going to be quite an adventure!
This article is part-sponsored by Aria Hotel Budapest, the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest, and Angelo Hotel Prague but all opinions and the exciting time that I’m sure to have, are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
Next week, I’ll be writing from Budapest!
I’ll be there. Will you?
August is going to be quite the thing.
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to Hungary? Have you ever been to the Czech Republic? Are you team Budapest or Team Prague? Do you like my new it-took-me-a-few-hours-to-do-all-by-myself-blog-look? Any comments on my fancy logo?
See you in Berlin.
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Wow, that sounds like quite an adventure, Victoria, I am sure, you and your son are going to have a blast! It must be amazing to return to a city where you once lived. I have lived and worked in San José de Costa Rica and Santiago de Chile during my studies, but I haven’t returned yet. On my next journey after that I started to explore Asia and I was hooked right away. Also, I haven’t been to Eastern Europe yet, but one day. But first there are so many other places and countries in Asia where I haven’t been to yet and also in the Middle East are a few countries which are very appealing to me. Anyway, have a great journey and happy travels!
Thanks so much Vanessa! I’m very much looking forward to being on the road again. Itchy feet n’ all that! I have been waiting years for me to be able to do this in a way which my son would understand. He’s very well travelled and understands. He’s probably been to about 40 odd countries so it’ll be an absolute pleasure. We went skiing early in the year and we touched on Prague for a few hours and he was so fascinated that I knew that it was time to bring him back and show him around properly!
I haven’t yet been to South America proper. I’ve been to the Dominican Republic but I didn’t like it and since then, the continent hasn’t been urgent enough for me to invest time in. Like yourself, Asia is my thing and I know it well. Eastern Europe is my baby and I’m very<protective of the countries in the region as I find them all very interesting, intriguing and still fairly unknown. My German friends still find it strange that I spend a lot of my time and money there instead of say, Spain or Italy. I love them too. Especially Italy. I’ve only been to Qatar in the Middle East and of course, I’ve done the North African countries of Egypt (3 times) and Tunisia (We hired a car and went to the Sahara Desert!). Jordan and Dubai is of interest and “real” Turkey. I’ve been to Istanbul. ‘Loved it but I would like to spend more time there and travel around Turkey having said that, if I like a place or country, I have no qualms about visiting again and again. Life is far too short not to do what you want to do if you want to do it. Say hello Italy!
I took an overnight train from Munich to Bologna – not fun. But then again, there was no first class option 😉
I am SO jealous of your 5-star vaca style in Budapest! Not that I was slumming it, exactly… but anyway, having been there AND to Prague twice, I can say with 100% confidence that Budapest is the clear winner for me. In terms of architecture, food, atmsosphere… I love it and cannot wait to go back.
Yep, same! Although it’s a long time since I was in Prague. Might have to rectify that!
Thanks so much Linda! That is so cool. We’re soul sisters at heart. You & I. Although, I wouldn’t want to test anything. You’d drink me under the table and some!
When are you leaving? And why have you left Prague so long LOL!
Ha, I’m not! It’s just a thought – not sure when I’ll next get a holiday! Hopefully before the end of the year 🙂
LOL! ‘Hope you get the chance. Prague in the winter is just the best. Freezing but comfy! 🙂
Thanks so much Anna but travelling from Munich to Bologna is pretty adventurous. Yikes! Ha! Ha! No first class option, no Budapest with son-in-tow, by train LOL! Alone. Yes! But with son? You don’t want to hear the dramatic whining that I would have to endure. On a 13 hour train ride. No thanks!
I am so looking forward to the luxury of both Budapest & Prague. I mean, I didn’t slum it in Budapest the first time around either but the hotel was “modern” and far too big and packed with hotel groups. My girlfriend had chosen it…! I am biased towards Prague as I used to live there, have been many times, and know it better so I’m looking to be surprised. I have to give Budapest a chance you see so we’re putting them on the same level as I have never done the luxury thing in Prague. It was all $2.00 nights, staying with Czech friends or at the Karlovy university hostel where the bathrooms were mixed sexes and people wandering around either with only their underwear on or not at all..! It was pretty challenging for my British sensibilities at the time LOL!
Wow, those sounds like wild times – cant decide if I am scared or a bit jealous!
Let’s have both. Scared & Jealous! 🙂 🙂
Looks like you are going back to Budapest after all! Have such a wonderful time!
Thanks so much Krista! After 11 years, it really is about time LOL!
Oh! I like the new design too! Looks like we’ve both been busy tinkering..LOL! It looks nice and clean. Now, if you would only move everything over to your .com once and for all..hah hah :-). I’m envious of your return to Budapest. You know how much l loved that city! Prague, l am sort of ambivalent about. I might judge it too harshly because everyone says its a wonderful place, but l hear the prices are insane. We’ll see. I’m sure you guys are going to have a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see how it is for you after so many years!
Thanks so much kemkem! I’ve been wanting to change the theme for a while but it needed a few more hours than I actually had…LOL. I’m very pleased with it as it has a more clean & bright look. Just like yours. Believe me, I do have a .com which is linked & mapped to wordpress but nobody seems to know how to “show” only that, including my German provider! I don’t want to self host at the moment so hopefully, somebody comes to my rescue sometime this year to show me how to open the magic door…! Are you self hosted yourself? How has it been for ya?
Indeed, I remember your Budapest posts and will be re-reading them for some tips. Budapest has just been soooo long but Prague we touched on for 4 hours exactly when we went skiing this year! And yes, Prague is expensive. I keep telling everyone that as far as daily costs are concerned, Berlin is by far cheaper, but nobody believes me…LOL!
I use Bluehost for which l paid $35/yr with the free .com . I moved mine myself, but l can’t remember how. They had the directions on their website. It wasn’t too bad. If you go to my old wordpress.com, it forwards to the regular .com . Are you doing it from the .com account or are you doing it from your .wordpress account? I think you need to be on the .com to try and change it.. I don’t know code at all, so l just use the free wordpress stuff.
I’m on the .dot com but the “situation” such as it is, is from from the side of the German host and the German coding…. I’m not that worried about it right now but one day, I’ll get it sorted as soon as I can get some guy and I in the same rom at the same time LOL! Thanks my sweet. 🙂
Wow, Victoria! This sounds like it’ll be a blast! It’s so nice to travel with a kid: not a group of kids, mind you! That’s just a headache. But traveling with one kid can be really special! One-on-one time outside of the usual busy-ness can get teenagers to really open up or just relax and have some fun. I hope he appreciates it!
Thanks so much Rachel! It really can be delightful especially at this age. We’ve been travelling with “The Tall Young Gentleman” since he was 3 months old and I breastfed him for almost 2 years! In my opinion, the younger they are, the easier it is to travel with children. It’s the teenage years that get difficult ‘cos they’re more demanding hence, the WIFI option, a comfortable bed, good food and a place to “relax” at the end of an adventurous day, as I prefer active holidays rather than lounging on a beach. 🙂 I can only manage 2 days of that and then I’d be looking for a way out LOL!
Also, we try to spread out quality time with family holidays, and each other. I’m more the traveller in my family as is son (he’s been to about 40 countries) so we sometimes spend a week here and there without my husband, “the boys” do weekend only bonding eating pizza and watching 1920 black and white movies and I use that time to travel alone, and when our son is camping which he does about every 6 weeks or so, my husband and I use that time to “date.”
We have an only child so of course, it’s quite easy to travel. As for appreciating the opportunity. I’m not so sure he finds it “fun” more “educational” and “oh-my-god-do-we-have-to” type of thing, but I always insist and we always put some sort of “fun” activity in the mix to mke it a fair deal. He’s only 13 so I’m guessing in about 5 years or so, he’ll understand how lucky he really is LOL!
What a lovely adventure, girl! Go for it!! Many people cannot understand why I love taking trains when travelling across Europe. 1 – it’s fun 2- it’s much cheaper 3-you can admire the stunning landscape and 4- there are always many awesome people on that train you can meet and have a nice conversation with!! Prague is stunning, enjoy it!
Thanks so much Agness! Yep! You’ve said it. That’s exactly why I like train travel. 🙂 They’re so easy. No checking-in. No worries about hand luggage, heavy luggage or luggage in any capacity at all. And you can move around and meet people.
I remember going on the Indian train. The train itself was a disaster but the Aussies on it were great, and really helped me get to grips, with half a cup of pepsi and a huge dollop of whisky LOL!
Sounds like a terrific trip! So lucky that the countries there are easy to get to and close to each one. Love that you can take a train to each. Also great is that you take the kids and show them the world. Nice job mom.
Thanks so much Phil! Yep! We really are so lucky on this side of the pond. I realise that America is so much bigger and not as easy to travel around without either flying or taking a very long roadtrip. 🙂 As for my my son. He’s my one and only child and is a chip of the old block. He’s 13 now and not always so happy about going to the museums and learning about history and culture. But when he becomes impressed by future young ladies, he’ll thank me later LOL!
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Hey British Berliner,
I enjoyed reading why you chose this pen name and you are truly a mix of many cultures. Hungary and Czech Republic are two very exclusive European countries that have cool customs and wonderful unique culture. Your writing about the experiences in these countries made me feel like I was living them.
Thank you so much Saachi! I appreciate the feedback as I really do love the region. Both Hungary and the Czech Republic are gorgeous countries with wonderful history and culture. Keep in touch as next week, I’ll be writing about Prague! 🙂
p.s. My blog name – The British Berliner is perfectly apt. Don’t you think? 🙂 🙂
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