Savannah Grace


The highlight and most eastern stop of our 8-Country, 8-Day Birthday Road Trip”  was Budapest where I spent my 27th birthday.  We stayed at Estilo Fashion Hotel  right on Vaci Street in the center of shops, restaurants, cafes and just a minutes walk to the nearest Hop on Hop Off bus stop which we used to explore the entire city. A perfect (if not boiling!) day.

A warm night stroll through Budapest showered us with an unexpected firework display just around the corner from where we ate traditional Hungarian goulash at the restaurant attached to Estilo Hotel. Live string instrumental music was played at our table and melted us fully into the heart of the moment.

We spent an entire day covering almost every inch of the Hop On-Hop Off Bus lines around Budapest, stopping at some of the most beautiful tourist sites I’ve seen in a while. I was so impressed with this capital city, one I had previously put very little thought into and which was pretty low on my radar until now.

I couldn’t have picked a better city or day to spend my 27th birthday. Parliament building, citadel on the hill with stunning view, Great Market Hall, Opera House, Heroes’ Square, Vajdahunyad Castle, New York Cafe and more!

We stopped at The New York Cafe  purely because it was labelled as “The best coffee shop in the world”. I’m a sucker for “best of” and obviously I had to make an opinion for myself. I completely misinterpreted this one, and realized they weren’t talking about the COFFEE being the best, but the actual coffee shop. Holy, incredible, wowza! The New York cafe, undoubtedly is THE most stunning, jaw-dropping, over-the-top cafe I have ever been to in my life. I think I could spend my entire life in that cafe, too bad we couldn’t wait out the line to get a seat and have one of their coffees. In that kind of place, it’s a hit or miss. The coffee will either live up to the setting, or they put zero effort into actually making their service and drinks good because they know the tourists will come anyway. Has anyone dined at The New York Cafe? Would love to hear about your experience!

As the day got hotter and my 30+ week pregnancy feet became more swollen, so did my brain. In a rush to get off at our stop, I carelessly left my purse (passport and money) on the Hop on Hop Off bus. Another point for the pregnancy brain! Thank gosh it’s all one company and I noticed pretty quickly it was missing. Everyone was extremely kind and helpful in finding it. I can easily give this company an A+ for service! At the end of the day I picked the passport up at their office, unfortunately all my money was gone. I guess it was a bitter sweet (mostly sweet) ending. It does make you curious at which stage of it being recovered was the money stolen…

Part of me felt angry. Another felt sorry for myself. But I kept telling myself I needed to remember the important things. That my baby is healthy, we are healthy, we had a working car, a smooth journey, a fantastic day in Budapest and no one got harmed or kidnapped in this story. And I try once again to adopt a Kees mentality that whoever stole it probably really needed it. More than I did.

From Budapest we drove another few hours to Slovenia and stayed in the warm and welcoming Firbas Farmhouse  where we were greeted like family.


This trip was the last one before the baby comes, the last one I will take as a solo, non-mother, “free” person… but it was a comforting confirmation that this is indeed the perfect timing. After a week on the road seeing castles, hearing the silence of hundreds of year old cathedrals in the middle of busy cities, lakes, fields, historic cities, swimming pools, palaces and castles, sleeping in luxury… I knew it was right because the part I looked forward to most each day was laying down, putting my swollen feet up and feeling those tiny little feet of my baby kicking inside of me. Telling me he had a great day too being lulled to sleep as I explored the cobble stoned streets of famous cities like Vienna and Prague. And that he’s anxiously waiting to one day walk down those streets next to me, holding my hand.


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