Foodie Chronicles: Three Meals, Three Countries, One Day
A few months ago I was looking through an app I had downloaded to track my travel goals. It turned out it didn't have the features I needed, but it did have a travel bucket list that looked interesting. I browsed through and there was one in particular that caught my eye - "Have breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries on one day". Being that travel and food are two of my favourite things EVER, I got very excited and then promptly filed this away in my mental list of things to look into at some point.
Fast forward to mid March and I was trying to figure out what to do for the super long Easter weekend (can you believe we get Fridays AND Mondays off in Europe? So exciting). I started browsing for destinations which would work for my mood and budget, and came across Budapest, Hungary. It wasn't exactly high on my wish list, but like I mentioned in my Budapest City Highlights post, I could do with a spa break.
I looked Hungary up on a map, noticed it was landlocked. Hmm, this could be an interesting option for my three meals in three countries travel goal. I researched a couple of cities in the countries surrounding Hungary, and it seemed like the least complicated ones to get to from Budapest were Bratislava in Slovakia and Vienna in Austria. There were multiple train/bus options, and journey time between each city was less than 3hrs. If I could actually pull this off, it would be AMAZEBALLS!
Guess what? I did pull it off! And I've decided to do a photo recap of the day in this post. It should serve as a good itinerary if you're planning to do something similar yourself.
I woke up before my alarm (which hardly ever happens haha). I was clearly super excited about all the food I was going to eat that day. I put on some music, showered and got ready. Luckily I spent my last night in Budapest at a hotel which served breakfast, so all I had to do was go downstairs when I got ready. After breakfast, I and the rest of the group checked out and then bought a Hungary shot glass for my collection from the hotel souvenir shop.
For days when you have an early start, a hotel that serves breakfast comes in handy. You can skip paying for it when you're making your hotel reservation if you're not sure you'll have breakfast, and elect for it to be billed to your room so you can settle when you check out. Don't forget to make arrangements for transportation the day before, especially if you're travelling as a group and need a van or multiple cars.
We departed the hotel for Budapest-Nyugati station to catch the train to Bratislava (station is called Bratislava hl. st). We arrived at the station around 815am and spent 10mins trying to figure out where the international ticket counter was. Thankfully there was no line up and we were able to get tickets for the train departing at 841am. The tickets cost a little over €9 each.
I found that Google provided the most reliable information when it came to the train schedule. The other sites I checked just confused me. Give yourself a lot of time to navigate through the station to the ticket counter and platform.
The journey to Bratislava took about 2.5 hours, so we arrived in Bratislava a little after 11. After taking (a whole lot of) pictures, we headed to the station storage to drop off our luggage. Storage cost €2 per item.
We also bought the tickets for the train to Vienna to save us time when we returned to the station.
Left the station to go explore the city. My friend @missfemz came up with a walking itinerary. I didn't even realize Google Maps let you add more than one stop between destinations, how cool is that? The route took us through the Old Town and ended at the restaurant we planned to have lunch at.
If you're doing this, don't forget to factor in extra time for getting lost and taking lots of pictures. Our tour ended up taking almost 2hours. Another option is to book a guided tour.
Exploring the Old Town!
Lunch at UFO. This is a really cool spot that has an observatory deck at the top of it, where you can see amazing views of Bratislava. During summer months check out the Beach Under UFO for food and great sunset views.
Headed to the station to pick up our luggage and then catch the train to Vienna. The train departed around 330 pm and we arrived in Vienna an hour later.
Checked in at our hotel, freshened up and went to the opera, which I almost missed because I couldn't get my contacts in smh. But that's a story for another day.
Dinner time! I was so full from the two big meals I had already had that day, but I was committed to the cause.
So there we have it - my itinerary for breakfast, lunch and dinner in three different countries on one day.
In this case, I didn't bother buying tickets in advance since the trains are fairly frequent (hourly on Saturdays) and tickets are pretty affordable. I wouldn't recommend this on more popular international train routes. I'd also recommend getting to the train station 60mins - 90mins before your train is scheduled to depart, especially if you don't have tickets yet. Why? The queues are sometimes ridiculously long. Also don't forget on some routes e.g. Paris - London, you actually have to go through customs before boarding your train. I've missed a train because I didn't account for going through customs and I had to buy a brand new ticket. It cost me more than €9 lol.
Thank you for reading!
Fun and Sun,