A quintessential summer road trip. Pack your weekender, find a fast car, star a couple of golden playlists, find memorable views, and pitstops that you’ll remember forever, and let’s not forget about the company.
When having the opportunity to pick a car up in the south of France with a flight out of Budapest 4 days later the planning began. Where have we been, haven’t been / want to see in the perfect time frame. After some planning (or lack there of) we pinned the French Riviera, Venice, Slovenia & Budapest as our key destinations. 4 days, 4 countries. Sounds hectic, but for Robert & I, it was the near perfect pace.
day 1 / familiar faces & places
I spent quite a few months in the south of France while studying, which made our night trip to Cannes a trip down memory lane. After landing at the Nice airport, we met up with a few of Roberts friends for dinner in Antibes. After a creamy truffle risoto, champagne and an ice cream we made our way to Cannes for the evening to pick up the car.
After a morning swim in the mediterranean sea, we strolled down La Croisette, had a simple french breakfast and worked for a few hours before grabbing lunch at Baoli beach.
We decided to leave in the early afternoon so we would have more time in Venice, a destination we have never been to.
So we set off for Italy. It was scorching hot, there was a lot of traffic but we made it to Venice and wow it was phenomenal. Quite crowded, and touristic (which is rather understandable at the climax of European summer), but it was beyond easy to get lost down quaint cobblestone streets, marveling over secluded canals and narrow passages leading to what seemed like a never ending maze of venetian bliss.
We ended the day with a late night pizza-pasta-salad stop at a local trattoria in town. It was Italian, simple and delicious. We lugged our bag to our hotel for the evening and called it a night.
Ca’ Amadi. A simple B&B tucked away in the center of Venice’s bustling nightlife. Just minutes away from the water bus, and a main shopping district, it was eloquent, simple and perfect for a one night stay in Venice.
gelato count: 1
day 2 / canal cruising & lake lounging
After a very italian breakfast at the hotel, we packed our bag and walked to the largest square in Venice where we had a ‘When in Rome’ moment and decided on a canal cruise. It was amazing being able to see all of the cozy streets, not to mention moving boats, garbage boats and other normal ways of how the cities infrastructure works in modern times.
Afterwards, we strolled through city streets in search for our second gelato stop of the trip (let's not forget it feels like 40/100 degrees outside)
We then wandered around aimlessly in the direction of the car, which was parked outside of the city but in no rush we stopped at another italian lunch place along the canal for re-fuel before getting in the car.
Not so long after, we were on the road to Ljubliana, but not before stopping in the North of Slovenia for a couple of pit stops at Lake Bled, a place that I have seen many times on instagram and have been very excited to go.
Slovenia did not disappoint. With hidden gems around every corner, I would say this is one of Europe’s best hidden gem. Sky high mountains, crystal clear lakes and rivers, lush wildlife and an even more thriving nightlife, we were beyond impressed.
After a quick dip in the lake, we made our way to Ljubliana, the capital city where we were going to meet some Ski Week friends for dinner and a drink.
There was a jazz festival going on in town, which made the row of swanky bars and plush-pillowed lounges absolutely thriving. I have not been this impressed with a city in such a long time. The food was incredible, the people were beyond hospitable and the town was stunning.
Hotel Urban - a simple, modern place outside of the city center that seemed to be brand new. Great amenities and a well thought out room.
gelato count: 3
day 3 / sport shooting & hungarian nude beaches
We got an early start to the morning with no where to go, but Budapest was on our mind.
We set off, and within an hour we saw a road sign for clay shooting, where both Robert and I smiled like two kids in a candy store and got off the exit immediately. We just so happen to run into the European shooting championships and decided to dabble a bit ourselves.
We had (another) ice cream while waiting for the owner to come out and show us the ropes. We got 100 shells and decided to try the sport shooting. Hand eye coordination is not my strong suit, but at least I hit 2, and that was 1 more than I was aiming for. Success. I think i’ll stick with NES Duck Hunt.
Happy, and fulfilled by this random pit stop, we went back on the road in search for a lunch spot. There was a large Hungarian lake on the way to Budapest where we decided to stop at a 'beach' that ended up being an oh so classy nudist camping site. I will spare you the details.
Long story short, we decided to go up the road to a different spot for lunch, had a mediocre bite for lunch and was on our way to Budapest.
We made it just in time for golden hour, and similar to Prague, Budapest is by far one of the most beautiful, young and vibrant European cities I have been to. I was stunned by every corner we passed, and could not get over the stunning architecture and vibrant lighting of the buildings at night.
We stopped and got massages, and then out for dinner at a small, vegan lebanese joint.
Budapest night life is vibrant, young, crowded and social. I would love to come back here with a group of friends to enjoy both the culture, and cheap food, drinks and accommodation.
Prestige Hotel Budapest - a design worthy hotels with immaculate thought of detail down to the scent that lingers in the hallway. Plush pillows, robes & a bottle of bubbly upon arrival, can't beat that.
gelato count: 6
day 4 / brunching in budapest
After sleeping in until 8, we strolled the streets and opted out of the hotel breakfast to find something more local. We ran into a man and his dog that we met at a popsicle shop the night before who suggested A La Maison for breakfast, so that is where we went. It had an amazing menu with everything from eggs Benedict, avocado toast, homemade granola and American pancakes. We had a lovely work-brunch session, then did a bit more site seeing before jetting off to the airport.
I am now back in Tromsø, and could not be more happy with the outcome of this trip. I got to see 2 new countries, 3 new cities and like every road trip should have, there was amazing company, music, pitstops and memorable views that will last forever.