1+1=3

A few weeks ago myself and Dave found out that our little family was going to expand. We are expecting a mini Byrne! We couldn’t be happier. It has meant an alcohol free Christmas (for one of us) and much checking to see what I can and can’t eat (taramasalata is a tricky one). I’ve had an aversion to all things potato, one of my favourite and most eaten side dishes.  Even chippy chips are off limits – boo! 

We have done some thinking and realised that our little 2 bedroom house in moseley that has us so well for the past few years just isn’t quite big enough for a growing family. As such we are venturing out and in the process of buying/selling. Hopefully we’ll be settled in somewhere by the time I get my nesting instincts. 

I’ve been a little lax on blog posts recently, turns out not a lot happens when you aren’t drinking! I’ll try post a little more in future! 

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Berlin

Berlin

Ich bin ein Berliner. I certainly feel like a doughnut having eaten out for 3 meals a day for the last 3 weeks, often with 3 course dinners! Must diet before Christmas! We had successfully navigated our way through the rail replacement bus service and arrived in Berlin. Perhaps the most anticipated hotel of the holiday, if any of you spoke to Dave prior to our departure you may have heard about the aquarium. The hotel has the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world. I’m not sure how many aquariums are cylindrical so I’ll reserve judgement on that but it is sizeable and we had a wonderful view of it from the room. If you looked at a certain angle it even looked like our room was underwater!


For dinner, we were fed up of the same old meat and veg so we opted for a Chinese restaurant, highly rated on trip advisor of course. As has become the theme of the honeymoon we had gyoza to start (pot stickers) – Dave reckoned that these were the best of the holiday. He then had a beef dish which had to come with a warning that it was a hot dish, I enjoyed a chicken and peanut dish. 


No hotel breakfast in Berlin for the first couple of days (long story) so the next morning we took a quick walk around the block, I had a more traditional pain au chocolat. Dave had some weird cheese and spinach pancake – obviously. Off we popped to the Pergamon museum for a taste of Syrian architecture. Sadly they were renovating it and it didn’t seem quite worth the entry fee. We did get to see some interesting Islamic art and sculpture but I’d suggest if you’ve been to the V&A and the British museum in London then you needn’t bother. 


Next stop was a short walk around the tiergarten which brought us to the reichstag which we had a tour of the following day, the Brandenburg gate, the Jewish memorial and the soviet memorial. A quick lunch at an australian restaurant at the Sony centre and we were ready to go again.


The afternoon was to take a slightly more morbid turn, it seems most of the things we visited in Berlin were a little morbid. We visited the medical history museum which had a temporary exhibition for criminal pathology. It also unused many dry and wet samples from cadavers displaying melanoma, subdural haematomas, birth defects, tumours and much more. It was very interesting! Due to the nature of the museum no photos were permitted.

In the evening we opted for a modest pizza as neither of us were feeling particularly well – we seem to have come down with colds. Too much of a good thing! 

We awoke the to warm climate Berlin had to offer – a delightful zero degrees. After a quick waffle and coffee we headed towards the reichstag. I would highly recommend this for anyone visiting Berlin. A free audio tour of the dome providing views across the city (you do need to register online before your visit). It talked us through the history of the reichstag and how it evolved into what it is today through 2 world wars and the separation of east and west Germany. The centre of the dome itself is covered in mirrors which provide natural light to the plenary hall beneath the dome. Not to mention it proves a fascinating view from within the dome.


A return to morbidity. The topography of terror museum, which was free to enter FYI, gave an insight into the horrors of the crimes of murder and the despicable mass executions carried out by the Nazi regime. With horrifying photos of the moments before, during, and after death it did not make for an easy morning. It was extremely interesting despite this. It also presents the longest section of the Berlin wall which is still in place. 


After a quick lunch we headed to the checkpoint Charlie museum. A painful reminder of the split between east and west. The museum documents much about the wall, escape attempts and the consequences of those who were caught (spoiler alert – they were mostly killed). Sadly we’d done quite a lot of reading already that day so we had Museum fatigue. We spoiled ourselves with a crepe each and returned to the hotel for some respite before heading out for dinner.

Following a recommendation from the guys in charge of the Taste of Prague tour we scooted over to a different part of town for a street food festival at MarktHalle neun. There was so much interesting food and drink, if only it was in moseley! Uruguay, Egypt, oysters, waffles, tapas and much more. Dave enjoyed a sandwich called the Green Bay cheese and I had a meat and cheese plate. Dave also had an oyster, because at €2.50 why wouldn’t you?!

The following day we visited the DDR museum which offers a view of what life was like in East Germany. Apparently nudity was a big thing (which we were already aware of this due to the requirement to be nude in the spa at the hotel – we remained perfectly British in our swimwear). It showed a mock up of a flat and I was able to print out recipes – one of which is Edam on bread with tea! 


As we’ve become quite accustom to walking huge distances we then traversed the, larger than expected, tiergarten to see the victory column, take a peek at the Kaiser-Wilhelm church and as we were in the vicinity the city aquarium. The victory column used to sit in front of the reichstag building but was moved to the centre of tiergarten.

The aquarium was quite impressive, I don’t think it was as large as the one in Vienna’s zoo though. We got to see some baby sea horses, an octopus, some pretty active horseshoe crabs and many larger versions of fish I had when I was younger – danios, gourami, clown loaches, pleas, tetras, red tailed sharks – the lot!


On the walk back we took in sights of the Brandenburg gate again and past the Berliner Dom- the city’s cathedral. We didn’t make the obligatory church visit this time however.


The final dinner of the megamoon was had at a place around the corner called kantine deluxe. You are given a tablet computer to order your food and collect it from a desk like restaurant Argos. Fun! Schnitzel for me, a club sandwich with a surprise egg for Dave.


The end of the honeymoon is upon us. All that remains is our final hotel breakfast (I genuinely can’t wait for some normal cereal at home with old faithful semiskimmed milk!) and a flight from Berlin-tegel to Birmingham.

Prague

Prague

The penultimate city of the megamoon. I had high expectations for Prague – it would appear most people have been and enjoyed it very muchly. On arrival we made our way to our hotel – we’d opted for a slightly more lavish hotel room – we had a separate living room, 2 televisions and a balcony all to ourselves. 

In keeping with the theme of the rest of the honeymoon (except Bratislava) we sought out some local cuisine. I enjoyed a plate of svíčková – slices of beef in a puréed stew with bread dumplings served with cream and cranberries. Dave had dumplings stuffed with meat (I think pork) served with cabbage. All washed down with beer – light for the gent, dark for the lady. We took a quick walk around, the astronomical clock looks pretty spooky in the dark!


The main event of our time in Prague was the Taste of Prague tour, as recommended by my sister who went on her own honeymoon last year. We joined forces with 2 separate groups of American women to be shown around the cities best food places by Jan. Five locations in 4 hours. To start we were welcomed onto the tour by drinking some slivovitz (pragues version of the plum spirit Dave so bravely tried initially in Zagreb). Now onto some food – first up were some open faced sandwiches from sisters, apparently very popular in Prague. Two creations were on offer – a beetroot purée with goats cheese, and a celeriac one. Funnily enough, neither me nor Dave had put 2 and 2 together and figured that celeriac was the root of celery until we were told. It’s so obvious now! In the same arcade was located a butchers called nase maso – they proffered up various meat based snacks – beef tartare, hot dog, meatloaf, and pork belly. A change of scene next and onto a pub called lokal for some old style Czech food washed down with Kozel dark and pilsner urquelle. We had some ham, pork schnitzel, and svíčková. A move on next to maso a kobliha which can be translated to meat and donuts, so we had meat and donuts. A pork belly scotch egg followed by a custard donut – delicious! All washed down by a local American IPA – Dave was enamoured. The final location was to be eska – modern Czech cuisine and they served up some of the most interesting food of the tour. A little amuse bouche of lovage cream on a paprika crisp, followed by an ash cooked potato in a cream sauce with egg and carp with egg yolk shaved on top! Yet more food was served here – a mushroom and wheat dish and then a dessert of hot apple, star anise and rum. Very nice! Served with red wine, a fermented fruit drink and coffee to finish.


Dinner was going to have hard job living up to the earlier eats. So we didn’t really try to out-do it. A random, slightly touristy, restaurant. Dave opting for svíčková now he’d had a taste for it, I tried fried cheese which is allegedly a local dish. It sounds a bit more authentic in Czech – smaženy syr.

On our second day in Prague we visited the Jewish museum – a series of synagogues and the old Jewish cemetery. The Spanish synogague was the most elaborate of those we visited. I’m certain the museums would have much better had they not been swarming with tourists (I realise we are part of the problem). One of the synagogues had names of all the Czech victims of the holocaust – pretty haunting and reminiscent of the 9/11 monument in NYC.


After a quick lunch we sought out the Museum of communism. A very interesting invitation into life under the communist regime and the Velvet Revolution. The interrogation room was certainly not welcoming! 


After quite a heavy day, we enjoyed a doughnut cone (trdelnik) with ice cream, I later had a nicer, warm one with cream. We had a walk around the square and a walk to the Charles bridge and then onto dinner. Italian this time – following the fall of communism, many of the restaurants in Prague were Italian and allegedly are pretty good. We certainly found a good one. We shared yet more carpaccio, Dave a calzone and myself spaghetti carbonara followed by tiramasu and espresso. All washed down with a bottle of bohemian Demi-sec. Not too shabby for the equivalent of about £30!


As it was a Sunday night, and Sunday night means football, we somewhat reluctantly went to a sports bar. As it turns out Dave had a great time, watching the giants win against the eagles in the presence of fellow fans! I also had a great time but the ravens were not on tv so I had to keep up online – fortunately they also won against the steelers (caw caw!).


The following day, our last in Prague, we went to the castle complex which includes st vitus cathedral and the royal palace. Sadly having been ravaged by fire over the years it wasn’t quite as grand as it perhaps once was.  The cathedral was very ornate with superb stained glass windows which the sunlight hit beautifully when we were there. The golden lane felt very much like a tourist trap but was included in our ticket so we mooched around nonetheless.


Fortunately as the weather was better we got a better experience on the Charles bridge, some magnificent views of the city and a better look at the astronomical clock.


Our final night in Prague was spent enjoying beef at the aptly named beef bar. Empanadas to start – beef and chorizo, and manchego and spinach. I had steak and chips and Dave a pastrami sandwich – not as good as Katz’s deli in NYC but an enjoyable sandwich nonethe less. Dave particularly enjoyed the small spoon that came with the salsa picante. Obviously as I am a Byrne and we were having steak/beef the dinner was accompanied by an Argentinian Malbec.


Thus concludes our time in Prague. I think the highlight was the food tour – really great food and a fantastic tour guide! The next country hop involves a rail replacement bus service – wish us luck!

Vienna

Vienna

-Insert Ultravox song lyric here-

Now that you have hopefully sung the intro to this blog post out loud we shall begin. After the swift train journey from  Bratislava we arrived in grand Vienna. Fortunately we were able to check into the hotel early which allowed us to walk into the old centre and enjoy Viennese coffee and cake – sachertorte. Accidentally going into one of the more historic cafes we very much enjoyed the slowed down pace.


A walk around the old part of the city demonstrated quite clearly that architecture and grandeur was important to the habsburgs who were ruling over Austria for over 6 centuries. 


As we arrived on all saints day, which is a public holiday in Vienna, we were a little short on places for dinner. As a result we had burgers, Dave as usual went for something a bit more unusual. A pork burger topped with an octopus tentacle. 


For our first full day in Vienna we braved the rain showers and marched over to Schonbrünn Palace and its gardens (and zoo!). An audio tour led us around the main house where sadly no photos were allowed so you’ll just have to do a quick google search to see what we saw. It talked us through the history of the family which includes Napoleon (by marriage) and Marie Antoinette. We enjoyed another coffee (and another sachertorte) at the gloriette- the coffee shop on the hill with remarkable views of the main house. Unfortunately it was raining and they were doing restorative work to the building so we also had to look through netting and scaffolding.

Despite the rain, the zoo was probably the highlight. I’m not a big fan of zoos in general as I always feel sad at the small space made available to the animals. However, selfishly, I enjoy seeing these exotic animals up close without travelling to all corners of the world. The zoo boasted a bat cave (which was equally amazing and terrifying – it took me 3 goes just to walk through the first curtain as bats kept flying near my face), a rainforest, an aquarium centre much bigger than that in Birmingham and polar bears – though they were definitely hiding. The bats pictured are not the ones in the cave – the cave was almost pitch black.


Dinner was enjoyed at a local restaurant called Steman which served up local Viennese cuisine. Dave enjoyed a goulash with an egg and I had pasta with ham and cheese. A light Austrian wine complimented the dinner.


The following day was less tiresome. Dave went for yet another run while I tried to have a lie in – so perhaps it was only less tiresome for me. Off we went to St Stephens cathedral. It is the resting place of the intestines of the Habsburgs. Their hearts and bodies reside elsewhere in Vienna. We took a tour of the catacombs beneath the cathedral, allowing us to see the bones of the Viennese – including plague victims who were basically just put in a whole in the ground. The tourwas morbidly  fascinating. Again, no photos were permitted in the catacombs as it’s a cemetery.


For lunch Dave finally had a curry wurst – allegedly he is going to try and have another 12 wurst before the end of  honeymoon. Lunch was followed by some ice cream – delicious! The best flavour was the hazelnut for sure.


The evening took us to Naschmarkt – a local market – though it would appear it is solely for tourists. We did get some free falafel samples though and I bought some baklava. After enjoying some sturm – a sort of pre-wine – we had more gyoza and Vietnamese for dinner.

Bratislava

Bratislava

Our mid-point city of Bratislava was carefully planned as somewhat of a rest stop. As it turns out we managed to walk around 13 miles on the whole day we spent there. It’s a small city but much more established than Ljubljana. Much to our delight the hotel had a small pool and fitness centre – so of course Dave did some exercise and I mooched around the pool for a bit. After turning into a prune we headed into the city in search of drinks. We found a small craft beer pub called 100 piv; Dave was sold as the second he sat down they started playing one armed scissor by at the drive in. Winner. We took a short walk around and spied the very high (comparitive to the city) UFO observation tower which we would later go up.


Dinner was the much anticipated sushi, an unusual niche cuisine for a hotel restaurant. Miso to start, a tuna and salmon sushi mix with a butterfish nigiri extra for me and an eel hand roll extra for Dave. Plus gyoza, because Dave seems to be making it a thing. The meal was rounded off with a chocolate fondant with strawberry sorbet. Accompanying the meal was quite a lovely Slovakian Riesling.

A new day, a new hotel breakfast to explore. Sadly no champagne this time. It set us up nicely for a walk to the castle. It appears relatively new as it underwent significant repair in only the 1950s. Sadly the museums weren’t open as it was Monday so we pootled back to the city, had a coffee, and walked across the Danube to a small park.


Lunch was, shall we say, interesting. Another craft beer bar serving more Slovakian intrigues. There was only a daily menu available at lunch. As such as were served chicken and rice with a cheese and coconut milk sauce. It wasn’t horrible, it was just interesting. 


Having refuelled we set off for the main attraction – the UFO observation deck. Allegedly part of a group of “tall towers” though it is the shortest at 95m. It allows 360 degree views around the city and – if you look in a certain direction – Austria. Fortunately we timed this visit so we could see the sunset which allowed for the perfect honeymoon moment. And also cocktails!


Obviously the thing to do next was to reflect on the experience over some craft beer – onward to yet another pub. A weizen for the lady, and IPA for the gentleman. As we had some, not so local, cuisine yesterday we chose the aptly named Slovak Pub for dinner. To start I had garlic soup in a bread bowl (I’m sure I’ll smell for days!) and Dave had cabbage and potato dumplings. For main I had beef goulash and Dave a lumberjack schnitzel (which involved egg). The pub brewed its own beers so obviously we had to indulge.


Our time in Bratislava concluded quickly. The highlight being the sunset over the Danube. Next stop Vienna. Fun fact – they are the closest 2 capital cities in the world (if your discount the Vatican and Rome).

Budapest

Budapest

The journey to Budapest was the longest, time-wise, in our whole honeymoon. It was fraught with excitement (might be exaggerating here) as at least twice we changed direction and lost/gained other carriages. After 6 hours on a train, and around an hour before that at Zagreb station we arrived, the architecture of some of these railway stations are amazing – it makes me a little sad for grand central – it just doesn’t have the same grandiosity. We then had to walk for around 40 minutes to our hotel. We were greeted with the news that as we were celebrating our marriage, we would have a free bottle of fizzy from the bar! Fortunately this was Hungarian sparkling wine and not sparkling water! We toasted ourselves and Dave was given the responsibility of choosing a restaurant for dinner. He had learned from prior mistakes and chose a nearby and very nice restaurant – Magyar Qtr. dinner was excquisite – possibly the nicest we’ve had so far. Upmarket Hungarian food appears to be the theme – conveniently. The wine was also excellent, expertly chosen by myself as the name was the most Hungarian – I did have to confirm with the waiter that it was red! I had beef tartare followed by lamb goulash with strapachka (a sort of gnocchi style dumpling dish with a cheesy sauce) – it was amazing! I had a creme brûlée for dessert which I allowed Dave to crack the top of. Dave chose a goulash soup to start, pork and polenta for main and had an espresso and local sour cherry spirit called ágyas cigánymeggy.

Champagne breakfast returned with avengeance in Budapest, though I think I may have woken Dave up a little early with my excitement to get to the spa on time – in my mind – by 9. The spa was quite a walk away though we saw some of the city en route – down embassy lane (that was basically what it as called). The road opened up onto heroes square and the millennium monument which was epic.


Alas the baths were now within view. We had a private cabin each which was delightful, quite the sophisticated method of your wristband allowing you access to the cabin. As it was quite a chilly October morning, the warm water was amazing. We explored various rooms and pools within the spa including the hottest sauna known to man, a not-so-lazy river (quite a short sharp circular route really!), a steam room and various temperatures of pool. The building itself was quite spectacular and I don’t think the pictures really do it justice (though please check out the 3 legged man in the panorama picture).


Once we’d dried off and rehydrated we went in search of food. Off to the central market. Much like the bullring markets, except a lot nice and a lot more cured meat. Upstairs was a chaotic, tourist-filled, canteen style local food. I had sausage and potatoes and Dave enjoyed stuffed cabbage (he really did enjoy it!).


It seemed like it was time for our obligatory church visit. St Stephens basilica. It houses the hand and forearm of St Stephen himself. It was pretty decrepit! The church was pretty incredible and again, sadly, the pictures don’t quite do it justice. 


The last tourist moment of the day was to be Margaret Island, named for a princess who was sent to the convent on the island in 1251 by her father, the king, to ensure peace. Apparently after she joined the convent there were no further attacks by the Mongols so perhaps it worked. The island was clearly in “off-season” mode and works were going on and the swimming complex was closed, but you can see why it is a nice place to while away some time. In fact, Dave thought he heard a digger/motor running at one point but it turned out it was the mating call of a fallow deer! We briefly saw a UNESCO heritage water tower, ruins of 2 churches – a Dominican nunnery and a Franciscan church, and a dancing fountain.

Dinner was a less formal affair – street food. A small area in the Jewish district called Karavan offfered up various styles of street food. We both opted for a type of fried doughnut – mine with sour cream and cheese, dave’s with mince. Really quite interesting. We obviously chased dinner with craft beer – fortunately snagging a newly released untappd badge specifically for Hungarian beer – winner.

For our second full day in Budapest we visited Buda, having spent all of the day previously in Pest. After clocking a remarkable 18 miles of walking we hoped for less walking – in a way we did walk less – but we also climbed gellert hill. More of that later.

The day started with a tour of the Hungarian parliament. The building was based on the architecture of the UK parliament, though lacking the clock tower you can certainly see the resemblance. As it was a Saturday, parliament was not sitting so we could see the chambers. The building also houses the national Crown Jewels which were guarded by armed guard who are required to salute every 5 minutes.


We then ventured over the Danube to Buda, firstly to take a look at parliament from a distance, then on towards the castle.


Lunch was at a little cafe where I had cheese soup in work and dave’s goulash soup came in a cauldron. Opposite the restaurant was Jamie’s Italian- weird! We took a walk past Matthyas church and the castle grounds, including a short walk in the labyrinth underneath the castle which apparently once kept Dracula prisoner! 


Gellert Hill had been towering over Budapest for the duration of our visit (obviously as it doesn’t move – it’s a hill!). Apparently there’s a funicular but we couldn’t find it and we quite enjoyed the walk. It is home to the citadel – a fortress built by the Habsburgs in the 1850s and disliked by the locals. The Austrians left in the late 19th century leaving the citadel relatively unused. It became a focal point of WW2 in Budapest and held by the Nazis until liberation by the soviet forces. The marks of war are still evident by the blast marks in its walls. The liberation monument is quite something to behold – originally started as a monument to honour an admirals son who was lost at war, the soviets finished it to celebrate their part in the liberation of Budapest. Later in the 20th century the inscription was our those involved in the wars. The hill gave a fantastic viewpoint over the city and the river.


At the foot of the hill sits a church in a cave, not hugely historic as it was built in the early 1900s and housed Pauline monks. It’s heated naturally by the geothermal properties of the land. 

Dinner took us back to Karavan for some more street food – this time a pretty sizeable pizza.  As we have a train to catch in the morning we thought it wise to take it easy. 


Budapest has certainly impressed. I think my highlight was  the baths – it was quite different to anything else on the honeymoon so far and really nice to relax! Onwards to Bratislava!

Zagreb

Zagreb

The second step of the mega-moon brought us to Croatia’s capital. The train journey here was uneventful – nice beer, a cabin to ourselves and a game of the backpacking card game – which I won! There was a lot more hustle and bustle than small and quaint Ljubljana. The architecture appears very grand and they love a statue of a man on a horse.


We found and checked into our hotel with relative ease, it was tucked off the Main Street signposted by two lanterns (and not far from an Austrian flag for some reason). From the back of the hotel you can see a pretty water feature and views of the funicular railway – though we later found it’s not a difficult walk up some steps – what a waste of 4 kuna that would have been! The hotel, knowing it was our honeymoon, put some lovely rose petals on our bed which led to a discussion about what to do with them after going “awww, look! Pretty!”, they remained on the desk for the duration of our stay.


Dave found a cheap restaurant serving local cuisine that was highly rated on trip advisor, not doubting his skills in finding suitable eateries off we went into the Zagrebian wilderness – across streets where no tourist is supposed to go in the dark. A couple times Dave decided we should turn back but not wanting to give up on the walking we’d already done I insisted we continue into the abyss. Eventually we arrived at the small Vagabund – massive menu however. We enjoyed a Zagreb style scallop each – me having turkey and Dave having pork. I had my first proper Radler – Europe’s answer to the shandy, grapefruit flavour this time! Its actually quite nice! 


I then took over locating places as Dave demoted himself. I sourced out a good craft beer bar situated not too far from our hotel. A Croatian gose for me, a Serbian IPA for the gentleman. 


Breakfast, as it turns out, was not quite as exquisite as in Ljubljana – no champagne. Still, breakfast is breaskfast and we stocked up to energise us for the day. First stop was the Museum of broken relationships. An intriguing Museum, full of items which symbolise in some way, shape or form, the break up of a relationship – be it familial or romantic. From wind up bunny rabbit toys, to an “ex axe” and our favourite – a toaster (pictured). 


Next pit stop was the cathedral – an imposing building which is currently undergoing renovations. These renovations have been ongoing since the 90s to repair the damage done following an earthquake in the 1880s. It would appear that the shockwave was sufficient to stop all the clocks in the city and they present the church’s old clock on a nearby wall with the time it stopped. En route we viewed a sundial (which was actually displaying the correct time – who knew?!) and passed by St Marks church which sported quite the elaborate roof.


As it was still quite early we took a walk around many of the city’s squares and gardens, passing through the botanical gardens where we saw turtles, dragonflies and fish. Much walking led to much hunger. We stopped at a rather garish “Stella VIP” bar. I had a remarkably cheap (and massive) mixed grill and Dave chose a cuttlefish risotto which turned his mouth black. It wasn’t exactly the “light bite” we’d intended on going for.

Dave popped off for another run, up another great hill and I had a chance to chill out and work out what else was good to do in Zagreb. This is how I discovered a random WW2 tunnel which enabled Croatian big wigs to escape and hide out during the war. Free to enter and not really advertised in anyway it was a nice departure from some of the pushy tourist attractions.


Despite still being full from lunch, it was time to go for some pre-dinner drinks. We returned to the craft room for some more interesting Croatian beer and then went to a weird lord of the rings themed bar. Dinner was the much anticipated Vinodol – upmarket Croatian cuisine. Dave was left flummoxed by a new wine dance – you know the wine dance – you choose the wine, they pour a little bit, you drink the wine, and no matter how it tastes you say “yes, it’s lovely”. This time however, the waiter took the cork out, smelled it, offered Dave a smell and when he said “erm… I’m sure it’s fine” we had the cork left on the table for us to admire, the wine dance then returned to the steps we were more familiar with. Otherwise dinner was great, I forgot to take photos of the food though – sorry! We started by sharing Istrian pasta with truffles. Dave went for the rib steak and I tried veal (I then spent the evening ensuring that crating was no longer a thing – the EU has made veal slightly less terrible). For dessert (I’m not sure how I managed dessert) I had a molten chocolate cake and Dave settled on a local spirit made from plums called šljivovica which I’m assured “wasn’t as bad as aquavit”. The photo captures dave’s initial reaction after smelling it.

The following morning we took a bit of a hike out to Mirogoj Cemetery, a cemetery which inters members of all religious groups – we saw Catholic, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and non-religious graves. The most striking we saw was a monument and resting place for 3,300 Croatian soldiers from world war 1. The cemetery was enormous, we certainly didn’t see everything and I’m almost certain the population there would rival that of modern day Zagreb.


Dave was seemingly obsessing about my gyozas that I had in Ljubljana and wanted some of his own, thus we traversed the city to a small restaurant called Gyoza – a safe bet! On hearing we were from Birmingham the chef told us that Morrisey likes Birmingham prompting Dave to then start quoting Smiths lyrics back at him whilst I sat unaware. The gyoza were pretty good and alongside my yakitori and Dave’s beef curry I felt I’d actually had a lunch-sized lunch for once. 


We had a relaxing afternoon of reading and chilling out – not wanting to overdo museums just for the sake of filling in time. In the evening we took another great hike over towards a newer part of the city which boasted another craft beer bar called the Hop In. A few interesting craft beers later and we walked over to a Bosnian restaurant called Sofra – Dave was determined to ensure as many former Yugoslav states as possible are accounted for during the honeymoon. An iffy start to the meal where we were got given a Croatian menu which we couldn’t work out at all, fortunately our sad faces and pleas of “English?” were answered and we got a menu we could read. It’s nice speaking English! To start the meal we shared some donuts with cream cheese – unusual but nice. I had meetballs [sic] and mashed potato with cream and Dave had Bosnian moussaka of some sort. 


Thus ends stage 2 of the honeymoon. I think my highlight of Zagreb was the cemetery; it was so vast and really made you think. Onwards to Budapest!