Saturday: Krakow, Poland

We left Eger this morning and made our way to Poland. Krakow was five-and-a-half hours away.

Along the way we drove through some small, very interesting Hungarian towns. In one, cabbage was grown on a long stretch of land very close to the side of the road (there was a car right behind us so I couldn’t get a picture). We did stop at a pekseg (a bakery) and got some apple strudel since I doubted we would be eating anything until the afternoon. The two women in the bakery seemed thrilled to meet someone who spoke English (and of course baked goods know no language – I could just point).

We neared the border from Hungary to Slovakia and needed a vignette (toll permit) to drive in Slovakia. Getting one was was a bit of a puzzle. The truck stop we walked into smelled of old frying oil and the guy at the counter was annoyed before we even approached him. He demanded to know our car’s weight and class as though we would know it. We went back out to the car to try to figure out that information, but I just suggested we leave. Not far away I could see another small store that probably sold the permits.

The woman there was kind but said that no, the Slovakia vignettes were only sold in the “blue container,” a trailer – and she described how to get to it. The unmarked blue camper looked abandoned at first, but after a few minutes we had our permit. We learned later that this can be done online now. That is not as exciting though.

We arrived in Krakow at about 4:30pm and it was already dark. We are staying by the city square so we walked around there and found a restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner. By the time we left the restaurant, the weather had gotten much colder than we have experienced since being away. Tomorrow looks to be a sunny Sunday and I’m looking forward to seeing the city in the daylight.


photos: Krakow city square wrebath vendor this evening; Poland countryside; Crazy Hungarian money. 1,000 forints = about $3.30 U.S. dollars

Friday: Eger, Hungary

We left Budapest this morning. I would love to go back. It is such a vibrant city and I could look at the ancient buildings’ architecture every day. But we were off to Eger – a two-hour drive by the time we got out of the very busy Budapest.

Eger is in northern Hungary and one of the things it is noted for is its red wine. So once we got settled we tried some at lunch. Later we checked out Eger’s holiday market (the “Advent” market) which really does not open until tomorrow. It looks as though it will be a big deal, with a bandshell, lots of food and wine booths, and all sorts of holiday gifts.

Their holiday lights and Christmas tree will be lit tomorrow night too. We are just here overnight and the lights that are on make the city look beautiful.


photos: a tree in the center of Eger’s town square; a stream that runs into the Eger River; palacsinta – a rolled pancake tgat can have nuts, jam, or other things in it. We had chocolate❤

Sunday: Pecs

Our plan had been to go to the Pecs flea market this morning, so after breakfast we headed there – about a 15 minute drive. Although the tourist office assured us the market was held every Sunday, as it turned out the webpage I read was more accurate. Markets are the first Sunday of the month. I guess it really didn’t matter since we were able to see a part of the city we would not have otherwise visited.

Fortunately, some restaurants and cafes are open here on Sunday and after lunch we walked to the giant Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kassim – a church that dates back to the 13th century. In 1766, the mosque was converted to a Catholic church.

The artwork is what makes the building so interesting. Frescos were painted in the late 1880s and are fantastic huge paintings.

We had coffee and dessert at our favorite coffee shop then enjoyed the rest of the sunny afternoon.


photos: Me seriously enjoying an Apertol spritzer; the ceiling in the mosque; our favorite coffee shop/bakery

Thursday: Gyor, Hungary

We woke up to the coldest weather so far on our trip: 32°. By 9am it was not much warmer but then the sun came out and it was a beautiful day to walk around Gyor.

We went to the Janos Xantus museum in town and enjoyed looking at movie posters, contemporary metal sculptures, and photos from the last 100 years of Hungary’s history.

We walked from the older area of the city over the bridge to the busier part of Gyor where cars and trucks have normal road access they don’t have in the promenade area. It was not as nice as the old part, but still fun to see rhe Rabca river which runs through the city and is a big rowing river. There was no action on it today.

Back across the bridge again, we walked by workers putting up holiday decorations and we went into a 12th century cathedral that was decorated unlike any I have seen. The artwork, wood working, and decor were fantastic.

I had read about a part of a tree in the city that 300 years ago every craftsman/tradesman in the area had pounded a nail into for good luck. It was there, unprotected, easy to miss but very cool to see.

We went on the town’s giant ferris wheel this evening to get a bird’s eye view of the area.

Gyor is a delightful town.


photos: Gyor’s ferris wheel; when you walk past an open restaurant window; it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

Wednesday: Gyor, Hungary

We left Trieste this morning and although we would have liked to have stayed a few more days, the almost constant wind and heavy rain was becoming ridiculous. On to Hungary.

To cross through Slovenia and Hungary, tolls are paid via a vignette – a sticker on the car window. A car without a sticker means a €140 fine, paid on the spot. Stories are all over regarding clueless drivers who figured “toll road” means what it means in other countries: pay when passing through a toll booth. Fortunately we had read up on this and got a sticker in a shop close to the Italy/Slovenia border. Sure enough, police were on active lookout on the Slovenia/Hungary border.

The five- hour drive went fine until we got into the city of Gyor. Since the hotel was in the promenade/ pedestrian walk section of the old city, there was no way to get to it get there without parking in the garage and walking over – no big deal once we knew that, but GPS caused some frustration as we drove around looking for the hotel.

We finally found it, after parking our car and walking around inside the area closed to cars. We checked in and got the rest of our luggage and almost immediately went looking for dinner because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. We found a nice place within steps of the hotel – a good thing because of course it continued to rain.

We walked around for a while after we left the restaurant and eventually found a small dessert shop. Who knew “Gofri” means “waffle,” and that these things are gigantic.


photos: a vignette firmly attached to the windshield; wild and delicious gofri/waffle; Hungarian restaurant this evening. The old brick structure is interesting to check out.