15 Fun Things To Do In Vienna With Small Children

I love Vienna. It has been voted to the most liveable city of the world for a reason. I’ve visited plenty of times, however, never with my children until a few weeks ago. Naturally, this time it was a completely different experience, just as we did expect it to be. Not so much of Aperol-Spritzing and Museum Quartier visiting. You can’t just drag your young children along whilst visiting galleries, markets and trendy restaurants. If you plan ahead though, everyone can get something of what they wanted. City tripping with a toddler and a baby sounds challenging but it it’s not impossible!

Start with booking the right accommodation. We stayed in serviced apartments this time, because we knew that we won’t be able to eat out in the evenings. That is one thing we needed to give up. Keeping their usual bedtime routine meant, that they were able to cope a lot better, it’s something they are both (all of us, in fact) heavily rely on. We also needed space, which an average hotel room just doesn’t provides. (The hotelier inside me is gasping in horror now.) So we booked Anyna Apartments, which was OK (price-wise and staff -wise good, but with some small security and other issues) and close to transport links, near a big park with playgrounds and supermarkets.

When the weather is nice, then of course there’s plenty to do. But when it’s raining or it’s too cold outside it can be a bit tricky to entertain small children. So, my list contains a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. However, avoid traveling in winter, as lots of outdoor attractions are closed. Also better to avoid places like Nashmarkt. Whilst it’s one of Vienna’s famous attractions and it’s great fun as a grown up, it’s most definitely no fun as as a parent of small children. It’s very busy, there are a lot of hot food stations, smokers and things to grab from the stalls. (Yes, the experience is talking.)

1. Prater

One if the oldest amusement parks in the world offers a lot of fun small rides for the minis. If they can’t ride on their own, because they are too young, parents can accompany them. There’s no entry fee to the Prater, you just need to pay for the rides (cash only). Plenty of options for food, from small kiosk-type street food to a proper restaurant. Open from March till October. The mini rides are relatively cheap: cost between EUR 2-4 each.

2. Playgrounds 

Vienna has lots of playgrounds, they are all very clean and well maintained, most of them has small swings, slides and sand pits for the littlest.

3. Zoom Children’s Museum

Zoom is quite big, suitable for children of all age. For the minis (8 months to 6 years) particularly, it has a play and adventure area called The Ocean, with a glittering water grotto, a mirror tunnel and a coral reel with tickly anemones. They can explore a ship deck and play role games, untie knots, turn the ship’s wheel or communicate with the lighthouse. Entry fee: EUR 3 for a child (free admission for one adult per child); extra adults pay EUR 5.

4. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

Sitting on the top deck of the bus when the weather is sunny and pointing to all the exciting things to see is great fun for small children. (They are also prepared for the bad weather with a cover.) There are 6 routes and 50 stops. From EUR 22.50 per person.

5. Cake Time!

No Vienna experience is complete without a cafe house visit. And that means: it’s time for a cake! The traditional cafe houses are not exactly children friendly and booking is always required. Also, at some places  smoking is still allowed (Austrians love their cigarettes.) and normally a separate room is dedicated to that, but obviously you can smell the smoke all over the cafe. However, places like Aida and Oberlaa are more relaxed and welcoming towards children. (No smoking is allowed at all, either.)

6. Schoenbrunn Zoo

Schoenbrunn Zoo is considered one of the best zoos in the world. The animal compounds have a decent sized living area and designed to imitate their natural habitat as much as possible. More than 700 kinds of animal live in the zoo. It’s a fun place for small and big children. There’s also a huge nature trail and an educational forest trail, which I really liked. Unfortunately, not too many options for buying food and drink once inside the zoo in April when we visited, more in summertime. The little train wasn’t operating either, which was a shame as my little boy is a huge fan of trains. Entry fee is EUR 18.50 for adults, free for children under 6.

7. Schoenbrunn Maze And Labyrinthikon Playground

Bobcat really liked both the maze and the playground. And watching the fantastic water fountain. We enjoyed a lovely walk in the palace park. The playground is really cool and it has unusual elements as well as classic toys: climbing poles with sounds, jumping station, puzzles and water gargoyles. He especially liked the water features and marvelled the huge eagle-shaped climbing frame, but he was too small to climb that. But there was plenty of other things for smaller children, so we spent a few hours there. Open from April till November. Entry fee: EUR 5.50 for adults and EUR 3.20 for children.

8. Family Fun

It’s a huge amusement park for children, with a section called Kiddyworld, where even the smallest kids can enjoy themselves too. There’s trampolines, ball pools, a magic climbing tree, and some more. I’d say it’s probably from 1 year up, depending on the child’s capabilities. The toddlers will love it. Entry fees: under 1’s go free, 1-3 year olds EUR 3.90, 3-16 year olds EUR 8.90, adults EUR 3.50

9. Riding An Old Tram 

Simply ūüôā Very old, vintage trams are still in every day use in Vienna. Some of them are more than 50-60 years old with wooden benches. They are one of the coolest things to see, so don’t miss our on a Ring-ride, especially if you have a transport and vehicle maniac 3 years old, like us. Just buy a ticket and complete a whole Ring loop, it’s really good fun.

10. Bogi Park

It’s a huge indoor playground for children aged between 1 and 12. Again, I’m sure even some active babies can enjoy it, and recently they started to do Baby Mondays. For very small children, they have  bouncy castles, slides, ball pools, small climbing installations. Entry fees: under 1’s go free, 1-3 year olds EUR 3.50, 3-16 year olds EUR 8.90, adults EUR 4

11. Donau Insel

The Danube Island is very popular amongst the locals, there’s so much to see and do for the whole family! There’s a family beach, which is protected by a number of small islands surrounding the beach and the water no more than one meter deep. Absolutely fantastic in summertime. There’s also a free water playground with a separate splashing area for under 3’s and a trampoline center. Free entry.

12. Horse carriege ride (fiaker)

One of the tourists favourites, an absolute must do. The children loved it, it’s a leisurely ride (really slow, very safe with being small children on board) around the historic inner city area. You can find them parking all around the old town, just hop on one. It’s normally a half an hour and prices vary, around EUR 50.

13. Cobenzl City Farm

Meet and get to know the farm animals at a working farm producing organic goods. You’ve got pony rides, a nature trail and yummy cakes to buy. Entry fee: EUR 18 for kids and EUR 28 for adults.

14. Danube Boat Tour

The shortest tour takes around 1.5 hours, it’s a lovely, cultured thing to sit on the top deck in the sunshine. Waiving to the other boats and to people strolling at the river bank, it’s a relaxing cruise on the river. It’s operating from April till October (with the heating on when needed). There’s also a restaurant or bar on all the cruise ships. Prices vary.

15. Inner City Parks

When everything fails, just let them run around in a lovely, well manicured, safe park. There are plenty of them: the Stadtpark, the Volksgarten, the Burggarten, the Sigmund Freud Park and more.

One Messy Mama

 

 

 

Real Mum Reviews

Why Holiday Prices Are Higher During School Holidays?

I’m now trying to reflect on Kate’s Post I’ve read the other day from a hoteliers’ point of view.

School holidays can be a nightmare to manage. In families, where both parents work, one of them HAS to take days off, unless you have other baby sitting solutions arranged. So now that you’ve got the kids for a whole week, realise that almost all your regular soft plays and drop in classes are closed for half term. (Why?!)

I completely understand and now I’m even in the same shoes as Kate and other fellow parents: booking a holiday in half term or in summer can get very expensive. Not only that, but it’s hard to find decent family friendly places, which are not rammed or booked out.

I realise, that the doubled or even tripled rates seem like that the whole travel industry tries to take advantage of school holidays. However, you can’t enforce “fairer” prices by calling for government action. It would be an economical disaster for the whole industry.

I’ve worked for a number of hotels throughout my career (before having children). Started as a receptionist, then switched to sales and operation. Lately, responsible for the revenue. My role was basically to set the rates according to the budget. I’ve dealt with the contracts for travel agencies and online booking sites and set the daily, seasonal and packaged rates for the rooms.

Most hotels and travel providers work with seasonal rates. They depend depending on the actual seasons, and some other highlighted periods of the year, like winter months in the Alps, the Chelsea Flower Show in London, the Carnival in Rio, or the Australian Open in Melbourne. Another factor in hotel pricing is the top ranking sending countries or nations. People tend to travel during long weekends, national holidays or indeed, school holidays.

Now, like every company, travel businesses too, depend on the demand and it will have a direct effect on the price. When not so much people want to travel, prices will drop. When not enough rooms are booked, price will drop. Other times, when the demand is high, the prices will rise too. The fluctuating prices allow the hotel or airline to meet with their budgeted revenue requirements and produce profit. When you urgently need a shirt – you go and buy it on full price. When not, then you wait until it’s (at a predictable time, like after Christmas) is on sale.¬†

Hotels can never charge you more for a room as their rack rate for that particular room. But then you buy often buy your holiday in a package (directly from the hotel or booking with a travel agency) so you never actually see the price breakdown. When it seams, that the price has been doubled or more, that is actually correct. It did so. Low season means prices barely make a break even, and high season means selling on rack rates. The difference can be even 4x or 5x of the low season’s rate.

A hotel operating successfully can pay better wages, can hire more and better trained staff, provide valuable training for their staff. Hotels also employ mostly local people, so they play a key role in creating jobs for the local communities. If you want to see really bad examples of a holiday destination managed badly and local communities suffering because of it, take a good look at the Isle Of Wight. It used to be a famous holiday island. Now almost all the hotels are for sale, because they went or near bankrupt. A fantastically beautiful island with lots of potential. Heartbreaking. Why? Because in summertime everyone flies to classic holiday destinations. So the island misses out on that crowd. Prices are also high in summer, because they naturally try to make their whole year’s profit. Because no one goes there in autumn or winter. Some people might do, like we did it as a couple, and enjoyed the walks on the beautiful, empty beaches. But now we can’t, because we can only travel during the school holiday, and that’s for the years to come!

As I said I’m equally effected by the soaring holiday rates at half term and in August. However, having some time spent on the other side as a hotelier, I can tell you: the problem doesn’t lie with the travel industry, as I tried to explain this above.

I can see the solution in schools given more flexibility to allow family holidays during term time, provided that there is no general issue with a children’s attendance. Brighton and Hove is leading the way: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-36806773¬†but I think there’s more can be done!

One Messy Mama

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Family Day Out At The Bockett’s Farm

So I’ve been hearing about this farm for ages from my mummy friends. It’s a short drive for a South Londoner, even with a toddler having a grumpy morning.  One lovely July day (when it was 30 C all of a sudden) we finally drove down there and visited it. We initially only intended to spend there no more than two hours, but it’s like a countryside Disneyland: there’s enough to do for a whole day.

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Hiding in the beautiful Surrey hills, Bockett’s is a working farm: plenty of animals, regularly introduced baby animals, a kitchen garden, and a barn to educate the kids about how a farm works and how they keep animals. They can also pet and feed them. For the fun part, there’s loads of exciting things to do and even small toddlers can enjoy themselves. There’s two different playgrounds, bouncy pillows, pig race, tractor ride and indoor play areas for bad (or too warm) weather.

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We started indoor as we arrived, as the entrance is through the play barn. Good luck dragging your small children outside again when they spot the mini John Deer race course and the giant slide. After we spent about an hour inside and successfully blocked a tantrum by promising even more playground fun outside, we managed to get out.

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Outside, Bobcat’s favourite was the giant bouncy pillow and the old tractors on the site: he loved sitting on them pretending to drive. Of course he had a go on every slide and climbing frame too. He loved feeding the animals and he’s favourite were the mini goats. He found them really funny ūüôā Mine was the pig race and the giant slide. Great fun even for a grown-up (or for your inner child).

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In the Old Barn Tea Room you can stop for a quick meal and buy locally made onion chutney, but make it really quick, as there’s so much to do! ūüėÄ

I would say it’s relatively cheap for what you’re getting and no charge for parking. We can’t wait to be back, another Bockett’s fan here!
One Messy Mama

Family Ibiza Holiday With Children – That’s What We Call Luxury!

Ibiza is forever in my heart since I lived there for a few years. Forget about the notorious party island fame, you can take children and they will love there!

APCCDT Harbour, Dalt Vila, Eivissa, Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain

The sandy beaches are very safe for children: they are clean, the water is shallow and warm, and most of them has at least one small beach bar (chiringuito) serving fresh food. Small towns like Santa Eulalia, San Rafael or Santa Gertrudis are especially perfect for families being a bit away from the hustle and bustle, but they still provide you with everything: great restaurants, folklore, markets, beaches. Spain is famous for being family and children friendly: you will see a lot of small children eating out till quite late, running on the promenade or visiting the night market at Las Dalias with the parents.

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By booking a villa with¬†The Villa Shop¬†you get the best of everything. You can find a villa of 2-3 bedrooms to 6-7 bedrooms and the villa portfolio stretches across the island. It’s a small island, so luckily nothing is too far from the sea.

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Their experts will help you to find the best fit for you in terms of budget (with price match guarantee), location and anything you might find important. It’s a tailored customer service which will enable you to enjoy your holiday and not to worry about thing. The Concierge360 service is there for you to if you need a baby sitter, a car to rent (you will need a car on the island) someone to cook (either every meal or just an occasional), a driver for a night out or if you want to go for a boat trip. Just to mention a few. The concierge service is available 24/7.image

The company also keeps a few villas in the portfolio on the island of Formentera. The tiny island is one of the most beautiful gems of the world. In my humble view, you can compare its¬†sparkling clean water and white sandy beaches to the Maldives. It’s just a lot more private, a lot less well-known and it isn’t rammed with tourists. If you are staying on Ibiza island, it is still worth to take a boat trip and visit Formentera, you won’t regret it.

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There’s a lot to do on the island with children. Check out¬†Aquarium Cap Blanc¬†which is great entertainment for the whole family, equally perfect for small and big people. More water fun available at AguaMar Water Park¬†For bigger children (8 years old onwards) ¬†Arcobosc Ibiza¬†could be a great adventure located in a¬†natural park in the region of Es Canar. The famous¬†Las Dalias Market¬†is open every day in summertime and they also do night markets (from 7pm). The original hippy market of the island offers lots of fun for children and adults too. If you are after more modern and quirky things to buy, visit¬†Sluiz Ibiza, it’s a great concept shopping experience for the children too and they also run a restaurant which is worth a try. There’s a lot of cute and chain stores too in Ibiza town. Food wise, in Ibiza, you can’t go wrong. Let it be a chiringuito on the beach, a famous beach bar, a Spanish restaurant in Dalt Vila (old town of Ibiza) you’ll find great food, prepared with love and passion everywhere. Everyone’s favourite is La Paloma¬†near¬†Santa Gertrudis, is famous for its organic, healthy and new wave kitchen, in a picturesque setting. Or try¬†Pura Vida¬†near Santa Eulaila.

 

 

Ski Chalets Le Chardon – The Family-Friendly Luxury

Have you ever tried to go on a ski holiday with small kids or babies? If you have then you’ll know that you usually need to take everything with you. It can take a lot of time to research and plan childcare, family-friendly restaurants and the best ski schools for you and your family.

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Le Chardon Val d’Isere¬†have everything you need for a perfect, stress-free family ski holiday. The 5 traditionally designed ski in / ski out luxury ski chalets located in Val d’Isere in the French Alps are easily accessible from Chambery, Geneva or Lyon airports. All major European cities also have trains going to Bourg St. Maurice, which is just 19 miles from beautiful Val d‚ÄôIsere.

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The smallest chalet has 5 en-suite rooms and the largest has 10 rooms, so you can plan your holiday for small or big families. Each luxury ski chalet  is individually and tastefully designed and equipped with everything you need for a relaxing holiday.

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They offer a 5* concierge service who can arrange highly qualified nannies for babies and toddlers so for a change, mummy can ski too and just pop back to the chalet for feedings. All the chalets have sledges, high chairs, cots, DVDs and games. Private or group ski lessons and ski hire for the older children and family can be arranged with the option of boot fittings done in your own chalet. When you’re not on the slopes, there’s plenty of family fun activities such as husky rides, ice karting, ice skating or a visit to the Aquasportif Centre in the village is always a popular choice. All chalets are equipped with a sauna or outdoor hot tub and you can also book in a massage with Le Chardon’s very own wellness therapists.
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I think the best feature is the 5* dining with every meal prepared by your own chalet chef. Using the finest local produce, your chef will create a bespoke menu especially for you and your family. Each chalet also operates an open bar policy including fine wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks. So, you don’t have to worry about finding child friendly restaurants that will suit your children’s daily meal schedules. You don’t have to drive to get to a restaurant or waste your precious time with cooking. You don’t have to worry about the menu and whether picky toddlers will eat it or not. They can go to bed at the usual time and have breakfast in their pyjamas!

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Their concierge service will provide everything you may need from airport transfers including champagne picnics to ski hire. If you wanted a private flight to Geneva Airport and back – that’s not a problem either.
The French Alps are also beautiful after the snow has melted and a popular destination for active families. The area provides wonderful mountain walking routes, mountain biking possibilities, hiking, trekking, via ferratas, rafting or even glacier skiing.
If you’d like to find out more about Le Chardon Mountain Lodges for your next luxury ski holiday then check their availability and prices. Most chalets are booked on a chalet basis, however shared chalets options are occasionally available.

And to celebrate Easter, Le Chardon are running a competition until 21 March ’16 to win a fabulous Fortnum and Mason Champagne and Truffles gift. To be in with a chance of winning, head to http://www.lechardonvaldisere.com/fortnum-mason-easter-giveaway/to enter.

 

#CheckYourChaps Male Cancer Awareness Month

In collaboration with male cancer charity Orchid, I’d like to help their #CheckYourChaps campaign to raise awareness. As a wife and a daughter, I believe women should provide encouragement and support to the men in their lives¬†to check themselves for the signs of testicular cancer.

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The charity have just completed surveying the British public, revealing that on average only 32% of men are regularly checking themselves. Young men are even less likely to check themselves (only 1 in 4 do!) which is worrying as testicular cancer most commonly affects those aged between 15 and 45.

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Each year, around 2,200 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer and 60 young men will die of the disease. But that doesn’t need to be the case. If it is caught early, the cure rate is over 98%, so the best way to fight testicular cancer is simply to check regularly.

How to #CheckYourChaps:
1. Check the entire surface of each testicle separately, and carefully. After a shower is best, when everything is relaxed

2. Roll each testicle between the thumb and forefinger to check that the surface is free of lumps or bumps. Do not squeeze!

3. Get to know your balls; their size, texture, anatomy, magnificence. Identify the epididymis or sperm collecting tube, often mistaken for an abnormal lump that runs behind each testicle

4. Having your partner check too is always a good thing as they may be more likely to notice any problems and help give you the support to get you to do something about it

Here’s a YouTube Clip of ITV Lorraine‚Äôs live check last year, this could be also very helpful to perform a proper check:¬†Live Check On Lorraine’s

If you feel any abnormality on the testicle, you should go to your doctor and get it checked at the earliest opportunity.

How you can support Orchid during Male Cancer Awareness Month:

image You can show your support for Orchid by buying the ‚ÄėThe Meaning of Husbands‚Äô book, a new addition to the popular ‚ÄėThe Meaning of Everything‚Äô series. ¬£1 from each sale goes straight to Orchid and the entertaining quotes and many valuable life lessons have been inspired by husbands (and wives) all over the world.¬†Get your copy from:¬†The meaning of a husband
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Product Review: My Nametags Hello Kitty Stickers

I received the product directly from¬†My Nametags¬†as I often review products which¬†are designed to¬†make a mummy’s life easier. This definitely does.

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The colour stickers are made¬†to label¬†children’s clothing and any other items (bags, cups, toys, sports equipment etc.) you need to. You can tag their things they take to nursery, classes¬†or school. You can even stick it on their toys, cutlery, bottles, sippy cup at home to avoid confusion or siblings’ quarrel. No need to iron and they¬†are dishwasher, microwave and steriliser proof. Quick and easy.

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I myself used them on clothing items, because I want to label Bobcat’s spare clothes and coats when he starts nursery in April. According to the directions: “You can just apply a sticker to the clothing washing label, and it will stay on in the wash again and again.” So to see if it works, I applied the sticker to the care label of Bobcat’s favourite (er… my favourite) jumper and washed it three times so far. The result is: yes, it works very well. They stay on well through the washing machine and tumble dryer without fading, cracking or peeling. I¬†somewhat expected this result as I noticed just how sticky the tag is. Once it’s on, you can’t move it, so make sure you’re careful enough when applying it. You can see on my photo, that I wasn’t really careful, so the sticker got a tiny little bit wrinkled, but not too bad.

I also like the idea of designing your own tag with your preferred colour. They are all very cute. You can see that mine is very boyish and that’s what I wanted.

Order them here: My Nametags Hello Kitty

Linky – Our Monthly Favourite 5 Things (Join in the game with Suburban-Mum)

This fun little game is the invention of Suburban Mum, my fellow local blogger. It’s a great way to summarise your last month and look back all the exciting things you did, saw or visited. We can even call it monthly memory board.

Here’s our top five for January 2016:

  1. We found out we’re having a girl! I had my 20. week scan last week and it seems like we’re having a little girl, so Bobcat will be a big brother soon. At least the sonographer was quite sure about it. ūüėČ
  2. We visited my parents in Hungary so Bobcat met with his grandparents. It was very-very-very cold in early January (as it should be) and he had some snow fun too! Not to mention the grandparents.image We also sneaked away for a 2 days pampering getaway to a spa hotel. Read my review about the experience here: Bambara Hotel Hungary – The Perfect Family Hotel Thoroughly enjoyed it, totally recommend this place if you visit Hungary. Very family and kids friendly and Bobcat just loved the kiddie pool. Here’s a photo of my wrapped up son enjoying some outdoor time on his swing in -8 degrees.
  3. Since we enjoyed some not too cold days here in the UK, we went for a day outs the nearby Claremont Gardens and we also visited Bodiam Castle in East Sussex. We really make a use of our yearly membership with National Trust, well worth the money.  imageIn spite of the dramatic clouds we really enjoyed the walk around the castle and even popped down to the seaside to charge up on some salty, clean sea air. Both my husband an me need this from time to time, even a half an hour walk on the beach does miracles.
  4. Daddy and me had a few Bobcat-less hours when we went to see the London Art Fair in Islington. He knows I love modern art so makes sure we go to the most important London art fairs, just to marvel all that beauty. Here’s a photo of one of my favourite piece:¬†image
  5. I was invited to Tiffany Rose’s sample sale in their Chessington workshop. Ah, when you’re pregnant, you have nothing nice to wear and your favourite maternity dress maker invites you for their sample sale! I don’t think I need to add anything ūüėĬ†image Read my review about the experience here:¬†Tiffany Rose Review¬†(There’s still a chance to enter and win one of their dresses on my blog!)

Well, that’s my top 5 for January. Don’t forget to read Suburban Mum’s top 5 of the months! Click here:

Bambara Spa Hotel Hungary – the perfect family hotel

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Hungary is famous of its thermal water and bath culture. Not only the capital, Budapest: there are lots of great hidden gems of spa and wellness hotels in the country up to the highest European standards. The one we visited during our winter stay was the Magical Bambara Hotel**** Premium

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It is about an hour and a half drive from Budapest, mostly on motorway. It was a shame, that it was too cold for an outdoor walk during our stay (-12C, ouch) because the hotel is¬†in the middle of the forest bounded by nature conservation area built on a 4 acre¬†woody sylvan area. From summer to fall it’s a great place to go hiking, mountain biking and walking. Near the village¬†FelsŇĎt√°rk√°ny You’ll find a cute forest railway built in 1915, should be great fun for train for train enthusiasts and children (operates in summer only). Plenty of outdoor activities in the nearby National Park. Eger, the nearest biggish town and the wine cellars nearby also worth a visit.

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The hotel itself, both in summer and winter time, provides enough fun for a few nights stay with children. Their approach is so children and family friendly, that the hotel is filled with families mainly. If you’re annoyed by children at the slightest, or you’re planning to have a quiet getaway, this is not a place for you. For us, however, it worked brilliantly. The indoor spa area has a children pool and even the bigger pool is safe and fun with supervision. The staff even provides swimming nappies and floating arm and waist bands for free. There is no indoor swimming pool, just the fun pools, but they are great. No gym either. All sorts of relaxing treatments for grown ups: sauna, steam, salt and aromatic cabins, massage, you name it. All spotlessly clean and well maintained.

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Plenty of activities and programs for the kiddos: strategically located soft play corner near the restaurant, meeting with the hotel’s very own meerkats, family pool paradise, jungle house and Matrix Club for the teenage children. The room sizes are generous too: big enough to accommodate a travel cot.

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There is an option to choose between a’ la carte and boarding. We opted for boarding, some pluses and minuses here with the variety and quality (whilst ostrich ragout (!),¬†¬†fresh salads and beautiful desserts are available, the kitchen is mainly still Hungarian style and… Well, a bit bland. Boring. (I know, what I’m talking about, I’m Hungarian.) I guess, the food needs to be less spicy for the children. On the other hand, worth to try the local red wine selection: Egri Bulls Blood. Great free tasting programs every day: African tea serving, Hungarian cheese tasting, African fuming and live music in the evenings.

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We would definitely return at some point, really enjoyed our stay. Hopefully soon enough.

 

 

Roaring Camp and The Redwood Grove Loop Trail (US)

If you’re looking for a day out for a curious toddler and a husband with mild train obsession – this is the place to be near San Fransisco and Santa Cruz.

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We purchased our tickets online which is strongly recommended to avoid queueing. However, it will not save you the fight for seating, this bit was a little annoying with a small toddler. There’s no time slot booked with your ticket, so you can get on any train you catch. I suggest to be early and visit in the morning or late afternoon and take one of the last trains.

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There’s two train routes to choose from: the Redwood Forest Steam Train Route and the Santa Cruz Beach Train Route. We opted for the steam train ride which is about an hour and 20 minutes but it only feels like a half an hour because you’re just enjoying the scenery of trees and the ride itself. The cars were open air with bench seating along the perimeter. The train does stop halfway and you can get out for a little walk in the magnificent redwood forest. Wonderful park-like grounds with some historical-looking buildings giving you an old-town feeling (I loved the room showing silent movies) and a lots of green field area for the little ones to run around. All employees wear historical costumes from the mid 1800’s. If you can, take your own food and have a picnic. The picnic area is great and the food you can buy at the cafe is quite bad. The best you can eat is hamburger and corn dog (yuck!). There’s a BBQ area where you can also buy food, but we didn’t eat there.

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To make the most of your day trip you can combine your Roaring Camp experience with a side trip to the Henry Cowell Redwood State Park, which is just next door. You can easily walk the Redwood Grove Loop Trail after your train ride, as it’s only 0,8 miles. It’s a wonderful walk and apart from the gorgeous old trees you can see some deers too!
Capturing Moments