Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Szechenyi Baths Hungary

On our arrival in Budapest, Hungary, there was one thing right at the top of our to do list and that was to spend a day at one of Hungary's Baths. After much deliberation we decided upon the Szechenyi Baths which is home to the largest medicinal bath in Budapest.  There are 15 indoor pools and 2 large outdoor pools.

We paid around 4000 HUF for entry with a locker. This gives you access to all the indoor and outdoor pools.

The outdoor pools are cool and refreshing. On the day we visited it was fairly hot and it was lovely to relax in the pools and enjoy the sunshine.

One of the pools is for everyone and the other requires a swim cap to be worn. There is a whirlpool in the centre of the main pool which provides hilarious entertainment and was mainly a hit with the children, but we couldn't resist having a go ourselves!

We spent around an hour lazing away in the heat of the day before retreating indoors to make use of the thermal and medicinal baths.

The interior of the bath is beautiful, with grand architecture and whitewash walls, it feels elegant and relaxing.

You leave your towel and flip flops by the edge of your chosen pool and just get in and enjoy. There are plenty to choose from and each has a sign indicating what type of pool it is. We had the experience of going from a pool that was around 38 Degrees Celsius to a pool that was 20 Degrees Celsius and the difference felt intense, we were shivering!

There are also healing pools accessible to hospital patients that are filled with various minerals to help heal the body.

We spent most of the day dipping from one pool to the next, before stopping at one of the hottest saunas. The exact temperature we can't remember but it was above 50 Degrees and we could only bare a few minutes in the intense heat before calling it quits and looking for the nearest cold pool. Hats off to those who had been sat there for a while.

After a good few hours we ventured back outside in search of food. There is a little cafĂ© next to the outdoor pools serving a range of food from your usual chips, to sandwiches, salads and more. We opted for a light meal just to take the edge off of our hunger. The prices were reasonable.

If you are planning a trip to the Szechenyi Baths we would recommend only bringing the essentials. A little cash for entry and food, a towel (these are not free and come with a high deposit charge), flip flops and sun cream. Try not to take valuables as the safes are very small. The lockers are good but are right inside the building so not easy to keep accessing once you've made your way outside.  If you are a bit of a party animal the baths have a party every Saturday in summer that runs until 3am! Unfortunately we arrived on the Sunday in Budapest and were leaving before the following Saturday so missed the opportunity to visit this.

The facilities are really good with a toilet and shower near to most of the pools, all of which were clean.

Although it got a little crowded at midday (it was high season) the baths were an amazing experience, we had a pleasant few hours of relaxation which was a welcome break in our intense backpacking trip. It was a lovely way to take a step back and drink in all the memories we had made so far whilst having the sun on our skin and our feet in the cool water.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

10 Reasons Why You Should Travel With Your Partner

I have read some pretty inspiring solo travel stories and read numerous posts on why solo travel is a good idea, and in all honesty I am impressed! I thought however why not come at it from a different angle and share our thoughts on why you should travel with your partner.

I'm personally not confident enough to travel alone yet and salute you ladies and gents that do, I currently prefer to take trips with my family, friends and partner.

So here's why we think you should take that trip;

1. It's a great way to get to know each other. You can learn so much about each other through travelling.

2. Two heads are better than one. One of you may know great places to eat and the other the best beaches to visit.

3. Long journeys are made easier. It's always nice to have someone to chat with during a long flight or train journey.

4. Making Memories. Some of our best memories are from the trips we have taken together.

5. It's Cost Effective. You can split food bills, go halves on drinks and did you know many hotels charge supplements for single rooms?!

6. Having Support. It's comforting to have someone there when you have a bad experience or fall ill during a trip.

7. You get chance to talk. It may sound silly, but if you're like us we work a lot, like our technology etc. and sometimes you just forget to talk. Get away from it all, leave the gadgets at home and have a really good chat.

8.  You get to share. This is very broad, you can share bag storage, toiletries, food, money etc. I always off load some of my stuff into his bag as he always seems to pack much lighter than I do!

9. We do more. If there's something I wouldn't do alone I am much more likely to have a go if Stephen is there.

10. Some experiences are just better shared. Standing hand in hand at the top of the Eiffel Tower, racing along the desert together on quad bikes and trying our hand at snorkelling for the first time are some of our best shared experiences.

So whilst Solo travel has some excellent draws such as independency and freedom, travelling with your partner equally has some amazing positives too.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The Stunning Scenic Slovenia

Lake Bled

If you haven't got Lake Bled, Slovenia on your list then get your pen out and put it down. It may not be a bustling city, but it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been. It was the perfect place to relax from what had been a very hectic travelling schedule.

Lake Bled

For the best view over Lake Bled you should climb up to the Castle, not only is it very historical itself but it has the best vantage views. You can see for miles over both the lake and neighbouring towns.

It's the best place for a family break, romantic break or relaxing break with your friends. Not only is Lake Bled beautiful, it's also got a lot going for it. We ate out a lot, there's walking routes, cycling, tobogganing, swimming, mini golf and so much more. If your an outdoorsy person then we would definitely recommend staying here!

Also the food is delicious, especially the Bled Cream Cake, a signature dessert that we just couldn't pass up on..

bled cream cake

A crisp sugary top, and then a thick layer of sweet cream, it may not be healthy but it was definitely good!

 There's just so much natural beauty that we think it should be noted about more often, Slovenia itself is stunning, but there's something about the lush greenery and crystal turquoise blue lake that makes Lake Bled that bit more magical.

Are you going to add Lake Bled to your travel list?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Don't Skip Ljubljana

It was by sheer luck (and bad timetabling on my part) that we ended up going to Ljubljana, we were meant to go from Venice straight to Lake Bled. However, I had magically missed out a whole day on the itinerary and so we made an unscheduled decision to stay the night. Boy are we glad we did.

Firstly the journey their was stunning, so many beautiful landscapes to feast your eyes upon. Then there had been a mistake in our room booking and we ended up with a 3 bed dorm all to ourselves! When you are staying in hostels this was practically 5 star luxury!

Ljubljana has an old-world gothic feel to it, and because we arrived so late in the day we decided it would be madness to try and fit everything in. Instead we took each other's hand and had a lovely stroll around before hiking (it really is like a hike!) up to the castle to watch the sun set.

A lot of other travellers had taken picnics up the castle and ate as they watched the sun set, such a perfect idea! If we were to ever go back I would definitely do this.

 We sat a while reflecting on our trip so far before making our way back down in search of food and drink.

What could have been a disaster on my part turned out to be the best mistake I have ever made.
We would definitely recommend visiting here and don't make our mistake of almost missing it!

Have you had any travelling mishaps?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Our mini Guide to Venice


Venice, the floating city. Such a stunning place with the white-washed buildings and winding canals. It's like something from another world. Venice is located in the North-East of Italy and is famed for its beautiful canals and unusual transport system. You can either catch the busy water taxi's or go for something a little more romantic and take a gondola ride. Either way there are no vehicles here.

During our time in Venice we learnt a few things we thought we would share :

1. If you want cheaper accommodation stay outside of Venice city centre. We stayed at Camping Rialto in a little wooden hut!

2. Don't sit down for a drink, it is really expensive if you decide to sit outside. We learnt the hard way and were charged 11 euros for just 2 bottles of Fanta. Bad mistake when you are on a budget!

3. Take a map. We ended up walking around in circles for hours because we couldn't find our way back, in the end we admitted defeat and caught the water taxi back instead.

4. Take money for the toilets. No public toilet is free here.

5. The weather can be unpredictable, even in summer. As with anywhere you can expect bad weather but we experienced a horrendous 24 hour storm in which we were left stuck in our little hut for the whole day.  Make sure you take plenty of things to do and waterproof gear.

6. Eat as much gelato as possible. Just because you can. Yum!

7. Buy local food. As with anywhere it is cheaper to buy your own food, we were lucky to have a local supermarket near our campsite and ate most of our food from there.

Grand Canal

A few sneaky peak photos of our time in Venice.

Hope you enjoyed our mini guide to Venice, is there anything you would add?

Friday, 7 November 2014

A Day Trip to Pompeii from Rome

If there was ever an opportune moment to visit Pompeii it's on a day trip from Rome. It only takes an hour by train from Rome Termini station to Naples, then a local train from Naples to Pompeii. It takes around 2.5 hours overall and is so worth it.

It is such an incredible and eye-opening experience, to walk around what is now a ghost-like place that would have once been full of life, with markets and houses. It's now so very quiet apart from the low mumble of tourists. It's both beautiful and tragic in the sense that people actually lived here and experienced such terror in the form of a natural disaster and yet when we were there the sun shone gloriously and it seemed so peaceful.

It's unusual to walk around and see parts of old kitchens, houses and even a brothel! If you pay a visit just keep your eyes open and take it all in, take a moment to appreciate what is and what could have been.

A few useful tips when visiting Pompeii (especially in summer):

- Wear sensible footwear, it is quite broken up underfoot and there are some steep hills.

- Take a high factor sun cream, there is little to no shade.

- Take water, it can get very hot and with no where to shelter from the heat it is important to stay hydrated.

- Do not approach any dogs on the site as they are strays.

If you get chance we definitely recommend you add a day trip to Pompeii to your itinerary!

Monday, 3 November 2014

5 Reasons to fall in love with Rome

1. The History.

Every Street in Rome holds history, from the beautiful old buildings to the magical fountains the history of Rome is made clear. A lifetime of exploring Rome would not be enough to take in all of the fascinating monuments and wander its winding streets. There is just so much to see that go beyond the all time travel classics seen in the likes of the colosseum and the trevi fountain.

2. The Food.

Italy in general is renowned for it's delicious food, in particular pizza, pasta and gelato. Three of our favourite things! There is nothing better than al fresco dining then alfresco dining in Rome. There are bands playing music, bustling tourists passing by and scrumptious food on your plate. Yes please.


3. Good Weather.

Rome can be blessed with glorious sunshine in the summer season with the temperatures sticking in the 20's from early June to late September. Even right now in November it is around 14 degrees Celsius on average! You cannot complain with those kind of winter temperatures.

4. The way of life

The Italians know the meaning of balancing their family and work life. They value the quality of time and spend it with their families, this is usually implemented with family meals and an emphasis on the importance of good food and togetherness. They ensure that they work hard but play hard, the whole atmosphere just feels that bit more relaxed. You rarely see a true Italian running for the tube (unless they are late of course!) it's mainly tourists trying to cram themselves all into one cart. Take in the atmosphere and get on board with their way of life.

5. The Romance

Although they say Paris is the city of love Rome could give it a run for it's money. The beautiful cobbled streets lined with tall rustic buildings and musicians playing on corners. Cute little restaurants with candle lit tables and wonderful fountains to make wishes at. What a perfect way to spend the day with your significant other.. or perhaps meet them!