Yeah I have. I bought myself knife sharpening blocks and a frypan for making rolled egg omlette.
Tenjinbashisuji in Osaka might be worth a look. It’s pretty central and said to be the longest “shotengai” in the country. Shops of all kinds.
That’s the kind of thing we’re looking for!
We did Cesky Krumlov last year on the way from Prague to Vienna.
Also went to Dachau and Auschwitz.
2 nights in Vienna, I love the place but found the people a lot more abrupt than on last visits. Still had a good time even though the prices have gone through the roof and not helped by our rubbish dollar. First evening we just went for a wander along the Danube canal and had dinner and a few beers at a pretty cool cafe. The second day we walked just over 15km, walked into the area around the Ringstrasse to see the regular sights such as the Stephensdom, Hofsburg Palace and on to the Museum Quarter. We decided to go to a beaut little Schnapps factory that we had visited before and that was about 4.5km so we decided to walk. On arrival we found out they no longer open to regulars and is tour bus only unfortunately and as we were halfway to the Schönbrunner we kept going. Walked around there for maybe an hour or so even making it to the top of the hill. We could see a Thunderstorm approaching so walked briefly down to the nearest train station just as the rain bucketed down. Apparently had been nearly a month since the last rain and the locals seemed in a far better mood with its arrival. Went down to the night markets and had some dinner which turned into several drinks and stumbled back to the Motel a few hours before the Hawks game kicked off. Stayed at the Mercure Wien City, not a bad room and had a good breakfast buffet. Location was brilliant though, only a 10 minutes walk into the heart of town and only 50m from the Danube canal and all the bars and eateries you could ever wish for.
Vienna was just about the dearest place I went to when backpacking around Europe 23 years ago.
Good to see nothing’s changed…
We stayed at a hotel on the Ringstrasse.
Did the full tour of the Schönbrunn
Had the famous Sachertorte at Hotel Sacher
Went over to the Prater and rode the Wiener Riesenrad (the Ferris Wheel featured in The Third Man)
Can’t remember what we did on the Saturday morning.
Last time I was there in 1989, we went to the Spanish Riding School.
Yep, most expensive we have been to so far. Far more expensive than Berlin.
The meals all are fairly pricey then they add in sales tax, service tax and then still expect hefty tips
If you are thinking about Hiroshima, just check that the museum is open as when we were there in April they were doing renovations to the main building (smaller section of the museum was still open and still impressive but I expect the larger museum would be better).
In Osaka, definitely do Osaka castle (I reckon you can easily do a whole day there if you like to immerse yourself in the history). Make sure you pop into the Kuromon Ichiba market and if you are in that area (Namba) I would recommend Fukutaro for okonomiyaki. The Osaka aquarium would be about the best aquarium I have ever been to if you are into that sort of thing.
We expected a steepish cost at Hotel Sacher, but it is iconic so expected. 18 euros for coffee and cake.
Had a good Wiener schnitzel at the hotel…wasn’t too expensive…25 plus Euros, including sides.
The drive from Vienna to Budapest was pretty uneventful. Went via Bratislava where we stopped for lunch, took a little longer as we avoided the Slovak toll roads and took the scenic route. The Hungarian Vignette was done online so it was quite a breeze on their toll roads. It had been many years since I had been been to Budapest and whilst it still had the beautiful architecture the City is quite a bit more run down than I remember. We stayed at the Budapest Novotel Centrum which is on the Pest side of the Danube and right in the centre of town. The streets were fairly filthy with litter everywhere and a strong urine smell in a lot of places. A lot of beggars and homeless were sleeping on the streets and whilst most were harmless there were a few around our hotel and the river promenade that appeared intoxicated and were hassling passers by. Our first port of call to the Szechenyi Baths for a relaxing dip that really hit the spot and soothes some aches and pains. We had teed up a night cruise on the Danube with the hotel but the only one available was at 2215 so we had plenty of time to grab a bite to eat along Vaci Utca at one of the many eateries, prices were on par with Vienna rather than the cheap prices I remember. Boat cruise was pretty good and the sights at night were stunning. We got back to the hotel at around midnight and made the decision that instead of staying 2 nights we would move on the next morning and have a night in Zagreb instead.
Some pics courtesy of my wife, for some reason her Samsung galaxy takes far better photos than my iPhone especially at night
Left Budapest mid morning yesterday and drove past some beautiful scenery in Hungary especially the Lake Balaton area. Stopped and had lunch at a great little place called “Panorama Restaurant” which overlooked the lake. I had the Hungarian mixed grill which was huge and wonderfully tasty whilst my wife had a Paprika chicken dish. Washed down with a couple of the local brews each and it totalled an amazing 18 euros.
Panorama Restaurant, nice view for lunch
Was hoping to arrive into Zagreb at a decent time but border control was a bit slow due to the excessive number of caravans and people on vacation and it took us close to 90 minutes to cross into Croatia. Unlike most of the countries we had visited Croatia doesn’t have a Vignette system but rather a series of individual tolls paid at booths along the way. The toll from the border to Zagreb was 47hrk or around 6 euro for the 90km journey. Had a quick look around the town but Zagreb was basically a stop over on our way to Bled, Slovenia where we currently are. Stayed at the Sheraton Zagreb which was ok but without being great.
First time I’ve ever been to Budapest, but I didn’t find it particularly dingy.
It hasn’t been renovated all that much since the extreme dinginess of the Soviet era, unlike cities in East Germany like Dresden and East Berlin.
We went to the House of Terror, just to gain a little extra hatred for the Soviets. Can’t remember the name of the hotel but had a relatively famous New York Lounge with fancy drinks and cakes, on one of the main streets.
Edit…think it was the Boscolo Hotel…some name like that.
Stop it, you guys! You’re making us jealous.
Budapest, Zagreb, Prague etc. Some of my favourite places right there!!!
BTW, @aceman, how on earth did you get a shot of the Danube looking so still in front of the Budapest Parliament building? There’s a boat of some description going past there every nanosecond. Can only assume it must’ve been either late at night or very early in the morning.
The wife took those photos. We could only get on the last tour which was scheduled for 10:15pm and we didn’t depart until about 10:30. The boat first headed up that way but there was a couple of other boats up near the castle so the pilot turned around and headed the other way first. We got back up there at about 11:30 and was the only boat past the chain bridge. The water was like glass infront of Parliament House
The Slovenian border is very close to Zagreb and the border crossing took about 15 minutes compared to the cars coming the other way who were apparently on about a 3 hour wait at the time. Picked up my Slovenian vignette from a servo just before the border and made our way over. The road from Zagreb to Ljubljana is simply stunning and this was the first time I had done it in summer and can’t believe how picturesque it was. Only a short drive and this time didn’t go into Ljubljana but headed straight for Bled. Traffic from when we got off the motorway to Bled was horrendous and took a good hour to do a few km’s but once we finally arrived there the lake met us in all it’s glory. Absolutely stunning and we stayed right on the shore at the Grand Hotel Toplice. Real old hotel full of pomp and grandeur and our room had stunning balcony views of the lake. Was still 36 degrees so after lunch went for a dip in the beautiful waters and spent several hours sunning on the hotel lounges. All in all a beautiful day and really wished we had booked more than 1 night but unfortunately it was booked solid.
Room with a view
Left Bled fairly early for the drive up to Salzburg as there were reports of a crash in the Karawanken-Autobahn tunnel and delays of up to 3 hours, luckily it was only a bus that broke down and it was cleared after about an hour so the delay probably only cost us a bit over an hour. In addition to the Austrian vignette they also hit you up with tolls for some of the tunnels, we had to pay €7.20 for the Karawanken tunnel and €11 for the Tauern tunnel so the cost builds up. We took a slight detour about an hour away from Salzburg and headed to a little town called Hallstatt that a friend had recently visited and recommended. Was a fantastic recommendation as this place was postcard perfect. The town is wedged between a lake and sheer mountains and is stunning.
We drove across the US in 2010, from New York to San Francisco via Niagara, Cleveland, Chicago, both Springfields, Oklahoma City, Amarillo etc and the tolls certainly mount up there…or they do take their toll.
Geez I really want to go back to Eastern Europe all of a sudden.
Leaving Spain this afternoon for Paris. Have enjoyed our time in Spain. Barcelona has been nice, it is different from the rest I’ve seen.
The port and beach area’s are nice, did the hop on/hop off bus over 2 days. Worked well saw all we wanted to see and more.
The Segrada Familia is a weird looking thing, nice, but weird. Preferred the 19th century Hospital de la Santa Creu i San Pau.
Walked La Rambla, some nice sights and some not so nice.
(speaking of tolls, it cost €35 from Marbella to Barcelona, farken LADRI )