Europe anytime is a good idea. Even in the winter. I am surprised at the number of people who save the bulk of their travel until summer. We love to travel but HATE crowds. We’re also Canadian. The definition of cold in most places is actually not cold at all to us.
Besides, we are all ready equipped with the proper clothes to stay warm. The cooler temps were worth not having to fight. major crowds. There are so many flights from where we live to many different places in Europe. This trip, we decided to travel a little further east. Our first stop was in the Hungarian capitol of Budapest.
We stayed in the Hotel Boscolo and it was impressive. Ornate European architecture covered the building and there are details everywhere to gawk at. Which brings me to my favourite past time in Europe… gawking. I love wandering around and just looking at all the architecture. Admiring the size and scope of the buildings and the vibe of the streets are always top on my list. The service was also exceptional. We had an issue with our heat one night and it was fixed immediately and we were giving free desserts and coffee at the historic New York Cafe, which is located in the hotel. (all was forgiven.)
Imagine eating breakfast everyday surrounded by this. DT and I barley talked, there was too much to soak in and enjoy.
The history and culture of Budapest was incredibly interesting to learn. More than any other city in Europe, it is known for it’s spas. Before going, I could not wrap my mind around the grandure of what it means to go to the spa. This ritual has been engrained in the locals since the Romans figured out what a special place this is. Apparently you can dig anywhere in the city and hit a thermal spring. There are many spas in the area but we settled on the Szechinyi Spa, the world’s largest medicinal bath. It was impressive.
The buildings are all that bright beautiful yellow. They were first built in 1913 and no expense was spared. It was a cool day and starting it at the Spa was perfect. This is the outside pool, the rest are indoors.
Another must see spot in Budapest, Fisherman’s Bastion. It’s a massive terrace surrounding Matthias Church. It’s located on what’s called Castle Hill. It’s a great place to learn about the history of Budapest and again, more gawking at the architecture.
On the other side of the Danube is Parliament. The buildings are massive and surrounding grounds immaculate.
We don’t ever have a super scheduled itinerary when we travel. We usually do a bit of research and decided on a few spots we definitely want to hit. Because we didn’t have to fight high season crowds, we were able to get into many free concerts and enjoy all the city had to offer. Probably the best prep work was watching Rick Steves guide about Budapest. It gave us a really good idea of what we wanted to see. He’s already done the research, we have learned to trust that guy.
Finally, we pound the pavement like crazy when we travel. It’s not unusual for us to get over 20,000 steps a day. We walk as much as 10 miles a day at times… again, all the gawking. DT convinced me to invest in this pair of shoes before we left. I can’t tell you how comfortable these are! Better than runners and I don’t like looking like a tourist. They’re also weatherproof and made by a fellow Canadian who really gets winter. Plus, they’re lined with fur on the inside. Some days I didn’t even wear socks. Visit Budapest if you can – and wear good shoes.