The problem with travelling in autumn is that you never know what to pack. Optimists may feel that September will still offer plenty of sunbathing opportunities and cram their hand luggage with beach towels and garish swimming trunks, as I’m sure Stuart Wadsworth did when he set off for a spot of cycling around the islands of Croatia. The lucky lycra clad so and so.
As for me, I set off for Poland and Hungary in mid-October hoping for one of the region’s legendary ‘Golden Autumns’ and the chance to sip a sunny beer on Krakow‘s beautiful Rynek, and knock back a palinka or two in one of Budapest’s summer gardens in nothing but a skinny pair of jeans and a T-shirt. However arriving from Barcelona the reaction of the Spaniards stepping off the plane and into a cold night in Katowice said it all… several joders and shivering statements of incredulity showed that I had been considerably over-optimistic.
Still there was plenty to keep me mind off the mercury levels and my lack of suitable attire, not least the Unsound Festival, a fast growing name in the world of underground electronic and experimental music. The chance to rave it up to the likes of Catz N’ Dogz in a theatre in Nowa Huta (a surreal Stalinist city on the edges of Krakow) was not to be missed… even if the dipping temperatures meant that a newly-purchased 2 PLN pair of gloves and a pocket bottle of zoladkowa were essential for the tram journey over.
The omission of enough warm clothes for my sojourns was sadly not my only packing error. Travelling to Budapest without your bathing suit is an amateur error indeed, but at least now I’m in possession of a Szechenyi Baths regulation pair of swimming trunks (not speedos thankfully!) – I’m sure I’ll treasure them for ever. Whatever the weather it’s hard not to enjoy yourself in this grand capital, and a good soak at the best of Budapest’s baths was the perfect remedy/conclusion to what was a rather alcoholic 12 days in East Europe (is there any other kind?). The miserliness of the Hungarian meteorological conditions also gave me the chance to experience what happens to the city’s legendary summer gardens/kerts when winter takes over. But more on that at a later date!
A second Urban Travel Blogger who chose their autumn destination more wisely than I is Sasha Arms, who eschewed Bordeaux to go wine tasting in Languedoc-Roussillon. This Southern region of France is very much an up-and-coming player on the enotourism circuit and Sasha’s adventures are certainly a great read for wannabe winos.
Other great new material on UTB comes in the form of Pola Henderson‘s expert guide to Chicago, which breathes fresh life into the Windy City. It’s Pola’s first contribution to our travel magazine – so welcome aboard Pola! You can also keep tabs with her at Jetting Around.
Naturally there’ll be plenty more travel stories to sink your teeth into in the coming weeks as Chris Osburn will be reporting from Edinburgh and Richard Tulloch will make us all jealous with tales from Sydney, as spring turns to summer down under…