Thursday, December 10, 2009
Budapest, Prague, Berlin & Vienna - all in 1 week!!!
As we set off on Monday morning for our trip around central Europe, I was afraid that maybe we had bitten off more than we could chew!
7 December 2009 -
Hungary borders part of Croatia so it was only a 4.5 hour drive through foggy villages to Budapest. Hannah slept most of the way there which was a blessing. Once we arrived we set about exploring straight away as the next day we were off to Prague. Here are some pics of Budapest which is such a lovely city, we were all pleasantly surprised -
Hero's Square -
Gorgeous Christmas Lights -
The Christmas Markets -
This is Hot/Mulled Wine, very popular with the locals ;) -
This is a popular sweet pastry covered in cinnamon and sugar -
More Christmas Market images -
Us in front of the massive Christmas tree in the square -
St Stephen's Cathedral -
8 December 2009 -
The trip to Prague took about 6 hours as there was a lot of rain. Again Hannah was an angel and slept most of the way, snacked on her biscuits and was of-course, awake for lunch! We had 2 nights in Prague but arrived late at night so the only sight seeing we did was on Wednesday.
9 December 2009 -
We put on our walking shoes and set about exploring Prague. Prague really reminded me of Paris with its beautiful buildings and interesting history. Also Czech is similar to Croatian so we could understand most of the writing etc which helped. -
Brian and I (Hannah was sleeping) overlooking the Vltava River - you can see the Castle in the background -
Walking across Charles Bridge -
This is a photo of St Wencelas who is the patron Saint of Prague. You can see that the brass is shiny from all the visitors rubbing it for good luck -
Our walk up to Prague Castle in the Stari Grad [Old Town] area -
St Vitus Cathedral -
The changing of the guards -
For all the Hannah enthusiasts; Hannah in the Castle Square -
Some more images from around the Castle square -
The view from the top -
Some images of Charles Bridge and across the river -
While we were waiting for mum to buy some souvenirs, Hannah was enchanted by a lady displaying some marionettes. She really enjoyed seeing them 'dance' to the music. Other tourists who were walking by even asked to get photos of Hannah - oh, if I had a dollar for every person who has asked that on this trip I would have a nice amount by now! -
The Astronomical Clock and Prague Christmas Markets -
The river at night -
Wenceslas Square -
10 December 2009 -
This morning we woke and visited Wenceslas Square (see above) and then began our drive to Berlin. The trip took about 6 hours and we arrived around dinner time. My great-aunt and uncle live in Berlin and had generously arranged for us to stay in a hotel for 3 nights. They live in an apartment - like most Berliner's - and therefore it was too small for all of us. We had dinner with them and then slept in the next day before making our way to their flat for lunch.
This is the area where they live -
11 December 2009 -
This afternoon we made our way to the Old Centre. This is inside the KaDeWe which is the second largest department store in Europe after Harrods.
We totally wanted to take this horsie home! It would look gorgeous in Hannah's room -
And just seconds after this photo was taken Hannah broke on of the large blue baubles!!! We promptly left the scene of the crime... as you do...! -
My angel :) -
Outside KaDeWe -
Hannah all wrapped up from the cold -
The Christmas lights along the main street -
The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was badly damaged during WWII and since then 2 large towers housing the New Church have been built on either side -
You can see one of the towers on the left -
That night we went out to dinner and Brian had some proper German beer -
12 December 2009 -
Today we went to see the Berlin Wall. It is worth clicking on the link and reading the history as we found it just incredible. Berliners celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall this year so it was special to see it now. We didn't walk all the way along (as it goes for quite a while and it started to rain when we arrived) but some of the images are so sad and haunting. -
No More Wars No More Walls -
The roses represent the 136 people who died trying to cross the wall in all the years it was standing -
We visited Checkpoint Charlie next and unfortunately it was pouring with rain so we couldn't spend time reading the info around the perimeter but instead we went inside the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The museum was a highlight and such a great source of information about what people went through during that time. Most of the stories were about how people escaped from the East to the West. -
The flags representing the people from all the countries who crossed at Checkpoint Charlie -
The sight that greeted us when we exited the museum :) -
That night we braved the cold and visited the Brandenburg Gate -
The bricks represent where the Wall used to be. The Gate belonged to the East for the duration of the wall -
After visiting the Brandenburg Gate we went out for dinner at the suburb closest to Berlin. And we had a nice surprise waiting for us when we got there :) -
13 December 2009 -
Today we arrived in Vienna. The drive was mostly through snowy German and extremely beautiful.
Unfortunately, the night before Hannah had a temperature and wasn't feeling well. The drive took almost 7 hours but she slept for almost all of it, the poor baby. We arrived at night and she had a temperature again so the next day we didn't do as much sight seeing as we had hoped to. We just visited the main square and left early to go back to Croatia.
Some images of Vienna -
The snow-capped Austrian mountains on the way to Croatia -
And so our week long European adventure ended. It was fast and furious but we had an awesome time and feel so lucky to have seen so many wonderful cities.
Lots of people have been asking how we are finding doing all this traveling with a toddler. Honestly, Hannah has been a dream. I think one of the keys to traveling with babies or small children is to be flexible as being on the road/on a plane/in hotels etc, you don't have home comforts and therefore you have to make do with what is available. For example, I was so glad that I had brought an extra pillow with us from my grandmas house as hotels usually only give two and in Europe they are usually not much thicker than a sheet ;)! One of the hardest things has been finding baby change rooms. In Europe you usually have to pay to use the toilets (yes, public toilets are NOT free) and they rarely have any facilities. McDonalds is normally a great standby but a few times even they didn't have baby change rooms! The cold has obviously been difficult to cope with at times, particularly on days when we have been out all day and into the night. Overall though, everything has been fine and we are so happy to be able to be doing this trip as a family :).