Our amazing holiday in Croatia was at an end and it was time for us to drive back from Stari Grad to Dublin. We decided to drive back in as direct a manner as possible, leaving us to enjoy the scenery from the car and concentrating on staying the night in lovely places to break up the drive.
So the journey started with J, myself and Kalista heading off to Zagreb where we were fortunate enough to have our own personal tour guides in J’s brother and his girlfriend. The drive was longer than expected with tolls taking hours to get through and we couldn’t listen to any music as it made the cat howl! Zagreb was beautiful and it seems like a really fun and young city. After our walking tour we went for dinner and then back to A&M’s to see their very, very stylish apartment. That night we stayed in the Hotel Esplanade, which I rate very highly, it is very good value for money and we had a great breakfast in the room the next morning.
From Zagreb we drove through Slovenia and Austria to spend the next night in Bavaria, Germany. We didn’t stop off as we had a lot of miles to cover and the rain and tolls delayed us massively (life lesson learnt: do not drive through central Europe on the last weekend of August!). We stayed in the hotel attached to the Ayinger Brewery complex. The hotel was beautiful and very traditional and bar one very scary waitress – “You will make order NOW!” – the staff were really great. I loved the room as it was very girly and pretty, and there were beers instead of water on the nightstand for J, and we had a great meal in the incredibly cosy restaurant. Breakfast the next day was great with as much cheese, breads, hams and salami that I could eat, I do love a german breakfast!
We set off on the road again in good weather and stopped off at Macdonalds for lunch to enjoy a ‘German’ Macdonalds that is generally far superior to that of the UK or Ireland. You can also get proper sprite which gets J very excited -“none of this Sprite Z crap!” We then drove on to just outside Cologne to the Schlosshotel Lerbach which I was very excited about and it is part of the Relais Chateaux so I was expecting a lot. Unfortunately it was a real let down, but we didn’t let that stop us having fun and we used the pool and had sandwiches and chips in the room. The breakfast the next morning did redeem it slightly, but I would not recommend staying in this hotel!
We drove all the next day to get to Lilliers, with a stop off at Waterloo and Maastricht (for a quick tour of seminal Europe founding locations). J had booked us into the beautiful Chateau de Philliomel, a rustic french residence that I loved as it felt like you were staying with friends as it was so informal. The house was stunning and I loved having breakfast the next morning the in old drawing room. I would highly recommend it to anyone needing a place to stay near Calais as it is exceptionally good value for money and very affordable. The man who ran the Chateau was really helpful in suggesting places that we could eat and providing us with maps and the french bread, fresh coffee and just squeezed orange juice were divine in the morning before we headed to the Eurotunnel about 45 mins away. That night we ate at Le Château de Beaulieu also a part of the Relais Chateaux group and it was the most amazing meal I have ever eaten. My next blog will be devoted to that alone!