Hi, folks. Here’s another catch-up post. As I explained in my last post, I’m attempting to wrap up my posts that have been sitting in my drafts for the last months of 2019. As the new year begins, some exciting trips are in the works, and I want to be ready with an empty drafts folder as inspiration strikes after travel.
So, in a similar fashion to my post about Dublin, I give you a photo summary of my Christmas travels through a few cities in Central Europe. I hope you enjoy!
Our first stop on the tour was Prague. We went downtown and explore the Christmas markets and had a giant sausage dog at least twice. Also, a LOT of mulled wine (although we had that throughout the whole trip. So very delicious). Also, check out the giant Christmas tree all lit up!
The 15th century astronomical clock in Old Town Square is one of the most famous sights of the city. We went on a walking tour of the city and it was so interesting to hear about the history of the clock and all of its mechanical intricacies. If things like that are of interest to you, I would recommend reading about it (or checking it out in person)!
The second photo here is from a viewpoint in the city we went up – the Powder Tower, which is part of a Gothic gate in the middle of the city.
The first picture is a photo of a random street. The mosaic of colorful buildings caught my eye. And the second photo is a partial panoramic of the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Note the grey colors of the photos – it was SO cold when we were there! We drank a lot of hot tea, hot chocolate, coffee, and mulled wine out of sheer necessity to stay warm. That’s how you do it, right?
The few days in Prague were over in the blink of an eye and we continued our journey to Budapest. As we rode our cab to the downtown Airbnb, the friendly cab driver mentioned some unfortunate news. For three days, the city would be basically shut down as it was the Christmas holiday. As much as it was a bummer to hear this, Dani and I decided to make the best of it. For the first two days, we wandered around the empty city (in periods lasting as long as we could bear the frigid wind) and cooked a lovely Christmas meal in our spacious Airbnb. From all this walking, I ended up getting some nice photos which are down below.
The light in Budapest was a total dream. Even though it was winter and the sunset was around 4:30 PM, the crisp golden light kept the day bright and cheerful. And when the sun went down, the sky would turn into delicious shades of purple – every variant of the color.
I love these two pictures on opposite sides of the Danube. Budapest was formed as it is known today back in 1873, when the two cities on each side of the river were unified. The city on the west bank of the river (seen in the above left picture) was called Buda/Óbuda, and it houses the ancient downtown area, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and the royal district. The picture on the right shows the city on the east bank, called Pest. Pest features the Parliament building (fun fact: the architecture was modeled after London’s famous Parliament structure) and a more urban center for businesses and citizens.
Here’s a few photos of the food at the Christmas markets. I will say, of all the Christmas markets we visited on this trip, I thought that Hungary’s markets were spectacular. They were definitely my favorite.
Above are three pictures of the Fisherman’s Bastion area in Buda. This scenic overlook of the Danube is a bit of a hike. (There are funiculars, but hey, we needed that walk to warm up from the bitter cold). It’s absolutely beautiful – there is a cathedral (Matthias Church) decorated with a roof of ornate tilework. You can also walk around the old city of Buda and see the palace complex.
The final part of our trip was a quick two-day visit to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. We stayed with a friend we had met in Madrid who graciously offered her apartment for us to sleep. She was also a stellar tour guide. I don’t have many pictures that I like from Zagreb, but here are a few to share of the old town area. I really would like to return to Zagreb one day, especially in the summer. I can just imagine the life that would be overflowing from the city during the warmer season. And plus, I want to hit up the coast of Croatia – I’ve heard it’s a beautiful part of the Mediterranean which has gained popularity for beach-seekers over the recent years.
So that wraps up the whirlwind of a Christmas trip! Thanks for reading. My roommates and I squeezed in two trips in early 2020 before the coronavirus craziness shut everything down, so I’ll be working on those posts as well since we are in quarantine. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re doing alright during this global crisis. I’m sending you love, and don’t forget – this too shall pass.