Devin Castle day: Archery, History and Dragons! (Well, in our head it was Dragonstone!)

On our way to our next stop (Brno, Czech Rep.) we planned to pop into Devin Castle, not far from Bratislava and near the border with Austria. It’s mostly ruins sat on an outcrop and looks like a set directly out of A Game of Thrones. (DragonStone, perhaps?!). There is a fantastic set up there with a few restaurants and a play park at the bottom of the hill. So seeing as we arrived at lunchtime we took advantage of this. Om nom nom!


We then climbed the short hill to the Castle (€4 each adult entry), having a go at archery and checking out some Stone Age tools and medieval weapons on the way. 


There’s currently no access up the the top part of the castle, which was a shame. But it was still spectacular. The views were amazing and just being there transported you back in time (or to Westeros if that’s what’s in your imagination.) It’s my favourite castle. I’ve never had a favourite castle before! 


We spent much longer there than anticipated, but it was such a great place, we’re so glad we did. It did mean a late ETA for our next stop in Brno… Which is another story!!!

Bratislava, Slovakia – my new favourite city! Amazing Street Orchestra and a UFO!

Knowing we had very limited time in Bratislava, I’d managed to book an appartment right in the centre only a couple of minutes walk from the old town. This really paid off as we headed straight out as soon as we arrived in the evening. 


We wondered pretty aimlessly into the old town, which was a contrast to our time in Budapest where we were always on a mission! 



As we wound our way deeper into the old town we could hear music and a found a crowd gathered round a small orchestra in the middle of the street. We stayed ubtil the end of their set because they were AMAZING! They’re from the Netherlands and only exist one week a year, when they pick a place/area to go and perform on the streets! What a wonderful way to enjoy playing music and to travel! They absolutely blew us away. They finished with a version of Alanis Morrisette’s ‘Uninvited’, which has such powerful music, and it didn’t disappoint. They were just incredible, and really added to our Bratislava experience. We felt very fortunate to have stumbled upon them.

The relaxed yet lively atmosphere of the old town didn’t fade once they finished and we continued our meanderings down to the Danube.


There were some massive river cruise boats, one even had a swimming pool on top! That is definitely a holiday I would like to do in the future (minus children). The main bridge over the river has a rather oddly shaped restaurant perched atop the far support – a UFO/flying saucer! So cool for a sci fi geek like me! 

Knackered, we found our way back to the appartment and the kids slept on the sofa bed, while we took the proper bed! What a luxury! (Uninterrupted sleep, that is.)

5 Week Europe Road Trip… With a 4 yr old coeliac and a potty training 2 year old!

 On the 26th July our family will be departing on an amazing adventure round Europe! We’ll be in our trusty Ford Kuga with a roof box, with our 4 year old coeliac and potty training 2 year old… What could go wrong?!

I was itching to travel again now the kids are a bit older (4 and 2 years), and the opportunity arose when we were invited to my cousins wedding in Poland at the end of August. “Let’s make a trip of it!” I said… And somehow my husband agreed! We’ve managed to get 5 weeks off work, so we’re actually properly really off!

Places we are either going or interested in going. google maps app screenshot.

It’s been really really exciting planning the route… I’m a geography geek, especially when it comes to maps and GIS. So using google earth and google maps app for something so real to us has been great!

 

Trip planning spreadsheet! I’ve been in my element making this! Great overview of the trip, accommodation and costs, kilometerage, and ideas of things to do. Really helped make sure we’re not cramming too much in.

I also love a good spreadsheet, so have one set up to help make sure we have a balanced trip regarding number of stops and travel time etc. It’s even colour coded by region!

I really have been in my element! 😂 It’s saved on Microsoft One Drive too, so I can play with it on the MacBook or my iPhone, meaning it can come with us – ahhhhh, tech geek bliss.

I’m usually more of a spontaneous traveller. Pre children, we had a couple of trips (UK and France), where we just followed the road and found somewhere to stay on the day. But with two small children in tow, we don’t want to run the risk of not finding anywhere, or ending up somewhere awful. So we’ve got most of the trip booked.

I’ve been using the Booking.com app for the majority of our accommodation. Another tech dream, as it automatically adds the accommodation and dates to google maps and I can easily save them to Apple wallet.

So… Here’s where we’re going!

Night 1: Ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam

Night 2: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Night 3: Bacharach, Germany

Night 4: Baden-Baden (Black Forest), Germany

Night 5-7: Black Forest (central), Germany

Night 8-9: Innsbrük, Austria

Night 10-14: Lake Garda, Italy

Night 15: Venice, Italy

Night 16: Ljubljana, Slovenia (how is Ljubljana pronounced?!)

Night 19: Lake Balaton, Hungary

Night 20-25: Budapest, Hungary (Sziget Festival – Hungary’s Glasto, and visiting relatives!)

Night 26-27: Undecided (probably a route through Bratilslava and eastern Czech Reublic to Wroclaw.)

Night 28-32: Wroclaw, Poland (Wedding!)

Night 33-34: Berlin, Germany

Night 35: Lübeck, Germany

Night 36: Bremen, Germany

Night 37-38: Somewhere near Efteling Fantasie Park, Netherlands

Night 39: Ferry back from Amsterdam to Newcastle

Yes, we’re a bit mad! We’re aware there will be many challenges. But I think we’re prepared! (Ha!)

We don’t have many set plans for each place, so any hints and tips would be most welcome!

I’ll be blogging throughout the trip, so I’ll leave it at that for now, and update soon!

M x