Nannie and Pappi came to visit us AGAIN and this time it was during the school year, including the kid’s school break (which is featured in two separate blogs all about our trip to Croatia: Part 1 and Part 2). Having the kids in school this time provided me ample opportunity to take little day trips with my parents and share quality time we don’t usually otherwise get. We explored brand new places and ate SO much good food. The following are chronicles from our Hungarian-Slovenian portion of their three weeks with us in Europe!
I picked up mom and dad at the airport in Vienna and we went straight to Cafe Landtman across from the Rathaus in Vienna for brunch. We never want to miss an opportunity for a good Eggs Benedict!
They were pretty tired, so after that we drove to Papa and enjoyed another great meal at Papa’s own Hotel Villa Classica. We tried to eat at places we hadn’t been to last summer with them, and as usual they were easy to please and always impressed with the food – and the prices – in Hungary!
We took three little day trips to four different towns and enjoyed a lovely long weekend in Slovenia’s Soča River Valley all before we traveled to Croatia. The first day trip was to Heviz, a small town near Lake Balaton in Hungary. Heviz is known for its thermal lake – the largest of its kind in the world! It was a drizzly, chilly day, so we decided to enjoy the inside portion of the thermal lake and were quite surprised by the vast infrastructure built over the lake so it could be enjoyed year-round. After we swam in the “healing waters” we discovered a beautiful restaurant called Romai Pince, or the Roman Cellar. It was too cold and dreary to make the most of their amazing outdoor eating space but the inside did not disappoint either! We had an impressive meal, complete with drinks, appetizers and main courses, all for under $30.
The ‘rents joined me to an “International Brunch” that happens monthly in our community, and this time it was hosted by the Norwegians. We did a little shopping in downtown Papa and got our nails done by my girl Agi and then we were ready for an adventure! It was a great weekend to venture west to Slovenia. Mom and dad (Nannie and Pappi) fell in love with Radovljica, Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj when they visited last summer in July, so we wanted to explore a bit further west to the Soča Valley. One of the big draws, of course, is the river. The other big draw was a special dinner mom and I had planned at Hiša Franko – an amazing restaurant in Kobarid, Slovenia that became world-renowned thanks to the Netflix show “Chef’s Table.” Ana Ros has been named the “best female chef in the world” and is well known as Europe’s best female chef. Her story is fascinating and her food creativity is even more incredible! Read my full review of our dinner(s) at Hiša Franko is here.
We arrived in Tolmin, Slovenia through the Austrian northern route to the Soča valley (Bovec, Kobarid) and made a few pit-stops to take in the misty views. We took every opportunity to get down to to the river and walk around and explore. The color of the water is unbelievable, and the kids could play for hours in the rocks by the riverside!
Soča Valley, Slovenia
We enjoyed meals of pizza at Pizzeria Soča in Kobarid and local specialties at Slavečki Stjepan Gostilna Zatolmin in Tolmin. Of course Mom was overwhelmed with excitement to meet the incomparable chef Ana Ros of Hisa Franko – but the entire experience is detailed in another blog. Also, this trip the kids learned that dandelions are DELICIOUS!
The exploring never stops in the Soča River Valley…some people were fly fishing, but our kids liked to build bridges and rock structures!
On our walk towards Slap Kozjak we saw a giant salamander! It moved SO slowly. We also saw a bunch of bee hives, which isn’t surprising given that Slovenia is the bee capital of the world!
After returning home from Slovenia the kids had school. That gave Nannie and Pappi a chance to accompany me to Veszprém, Pannonhalma and Gyor, Hungary over the course of a couple of days. We enjoyed walking around the main squares and shops of the towns and ate some yummy food! Of note were the Olivia Etterem and Chill Bistro in Veszprém and Pálffy Etterem in Gyor. My new favorite cafe in Papa became a favorite for mom and dad too – Helo Velo! We would’ve liked to eat at the Viator in Pannonhalma, but we learned that although the restaurant opens at 11, the “kitchen” doesn’t open until noon, so we missed out on it this time.
We ended our day in Gyor, with a little walk around their main square and a delicious meal at Palfy Etterem. A quick stop at Box Donuts (real, good donuts are hard to come by in Hungary but Box Donuts does it right!) and we were on our way. Willow didn’t have preschool so she joined us on our adventure. Mom and dad kept raving about how cute all the towns are here and it made me realize we have *already* taken a lot of the local beauty for granted! It was a treat to see it through their eyes and be reminded of how special the simple, historic towns are where we live.
The next day we headed off on our 10 day tour of Croatia. Check out the exciting Croatia blogs: Part I and Part II. When that entire whirlwind adventure was through, we had two days left in Papa, including a much-anticipated and planned for “International Day” at the kids’ international school, which included a delicious food tasting event where each nation represented at the school had tables with special foods from each country. We were so thrilled to contribute a “Maine” themed USA table for the event! Mom made a yummy seafood chowder complete with lobster and haddock brought over from MAINE, frozen on the airplane. Amazing! We also had two last meals at Intro and Zabhegyezo Gastro Lounge. All in all it was an incredible visit that was packed with fun but went by WAY too fast! We were glad to celebrate my birthday and Didi’s too before Nannie and Pappi left. We took them up to Vienna to catch a train to Prague for the next leg of their trip – a 10 day Viking cruise to Amsterdam, ending in Paris! What a way to celebrate your retirement, mom! Can’t wait for the next visit…come again soon!
[…] we couldn’t have been more excited. After a memorable first portion of their visit (read blog here – all about our time in Hungary and Slovenia together), it was time for the “big […]