Dubrovnik , Budapest and Vienna – Mike

7th August 2015:

On Tuesday 4 August, around the middle of day I meet Fiona and Tina at the Dubrovnik airport. They have arrived after a 2 day delay in meeting up thanks to some unknown change of flight plans by Eazyjet …. Who apparently have a bad reputation in changing people travel plans.Any way they have arrived … And we find our way in the old Town of Dubrovnik … Where I had managed to find my way around the day before.They got a little chance to see how special this part of the world is. Magic rocky coast line. Famous old town, largely rebuilt after the horrors of the 1991 wars that broke up what was then Yugoslavia. It’s a horror story, but the proud Croatian folks restored the town and are now befitting from the tourist trade.

We have lunch in the old city and then venture North along the most amazing costal road. The view is stunning … Before ending up on toll way … And the road is first class.

We drive for 3 ½ north, aiming for Sibenik … a coastal town … Nothing like historic Dubrovnik , but teaming with visitors. And what a micro adventure we had trying to find accommodation. This included following faithful Pocket Earth into a set of lanes to find a B&b that no car should attempt . We nearly got stuck for ever in the brand new 308 wagon. It was not going to be a good look taking paint and worse of this nice new car ( by this stage about 1000km). But with help of a local and 40 point turn and driving the wrong way back up the lane we escaped un harmed , but a little worse for wear as Fiona and Tina had been redirecting traffic and running up lanes etc etc. ..

After this stressful little experience we then found a luxury hotel that had rooms but where charging about €700.00 for 2 rooms … Not quite our budget. Then end up finding our way to coastal tourist area that looked like a local version of a UK holiday park. More people, and cars and hotel and caravan park type accomidation in one place then we have ever seen before in few square km . We high tale it out of there, drive back through the town and get more and more frustrated about worried about not getting anywhere to stay.

We eventually found a room in house on the outskirts of town and the 3 of us had beer or two and some corn chips for dinner !!! Bought from a petrol station down the road …. Anyway the room was clean and we helped a lovely old lady earn a few €€€ s and left about 7 am for our drive to Budapest. And finally catch up with Barry and Pete late in the afternoon who had found a hotel not fare from the centre of town.

Budapest was great … A fantastic city, with interesting history, including fantastic buildings , churches and sites of interest.

We had a day and ½ in Budapest and enjoyed our stay, before making our way to Vienna today. And wow !!! …Our son Tom had advised us about the opulence. Stunning buildings, amazing walking central area, lush green parks …and even the public transport was great . Clean and great service levels . Five minute services on the underground !!!

We are staying a few km form the centre of town near a metro station in an area that appears as if it has been redeveloped around metro station … For the planner and architect types …a classic TOD redevelopment (transit oriented development ) , which includes redevelopment of a heritage Gassometter ( a massive gas tank ) and redevelopment of apartments and commercial building. Even the contemporary architecture has a classy style.

Well that’s enough for now. …lots more of Europe to see as we move our way towards Paris.

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