I don’t usually do food posts, this is my first. I just eat and don’t have the patience to click every thing on my plate. So you might have to imagine certain things because I don’t have pictures for them 😛 Nevertheless, here are some good spots for coffee, gelato, drinks and food in general:
California Coffee Company: I saw it everywhere in Budapest. It was like Cafe Coffee Day of India. But only better. Coffee was real nice even though it was super crowded and in one of the busiest square of the city. The smoothies were delicious and the views didn’t disappoint me. This coffee shop is dog friendly so that’s a big plus.
Type: Budget and Medium
Goa Mama Coffee: This is the cutest cafe in Budapest and I stopped here only because of the name (Goa is a place in India). Goa Mama has very pretty exteriors and interiors along with great iced coffee, shakes and home made cakes! It’s really worth visiting.
Ruin Pubs: I have to admit I only went to two ruin pubs in Budapest. Once with a Free Walking Tour in the day and once alone at night. I wish I had company to enjoy because it really did feel unfair sitting alone and sipping my negroni. But I love the concept of shady ruined dumped furniture and equipment being used to create these cool places. Szimpla and Instant are my recommendations for ruin pubs.
Type: Medium and Splurge
Vaci Utca: This is a shopping street laden with cafes, restaurants and stores. There are a ton of options to eat and contrary to what I thought they aren’t as expensive as it would be in other parts of Europe. Just pick one!
Type: Medium and Splurge
Gelarto Rosa: A famous Hungarian gelato parlour that gives rose shaped gelato. Not only is the packaging dainty and pretty but its delicious too. There are gelato types for vegans and lactose intolerant as well.
Type: Super budget
My Little Melbourne Brew Bar: There are two bars by this name adjacent to each other, one is the espresso bar and the other is the brew bar. I had a filter coffee at the espresso bar- a very cool hipster cafe. The service wasn’t very friendly then but I loved the coffee. Couldn’t believe how cheap everything in Budapest was compared to other cities of Europe.
Frohlich Bakery: The Jewish quarter in the city has so many food joints that it seemed like a city within a city. What I specially liked was the fact that it was so traditional. Try the Apple and Poppy seed cake at the Frohlich- a modest bakery with a very happy looking owner. The cake is very heavy but worth it. Also Free Wi-Fi!!
Pizza Eataliano: Good Italian food only 5 steps away from the Andrassay tram stop. It has a beautiful terrace to relax after a long day. Loved their selection of Italian wines though I only enjoyed a quick pizza here.
Callas Cafe: Callas is a very Parisian feel cafe in Budapest. Slightly expensive as its on the main street next to the Opera but its worth a visit. Try their gelato and coffee or if in the mood to splurge anything you don’t understand which could be very Hungarian.
Bamba Marha Burger Bar: At the corner of the Andrassay Avenue is this cool place serving delicious burgers. The place is full at night and it definitely seems like a very popular spot for locals. I tried their Elvis burger and loved it! The only problem here is that there are only a few options for drinks except for some canned juices.
TOP TIP: If you are not from around Hungary, please check what you are paying. I mean the currency is a bit confusing and a couple of times I ended up paying more Forints than what I had to. I was lucky that both times I was returned the correct amount back. (Bless those people)
Since my last post was on the Szabo Ervin Library, I thought I’d continue the geekdom and write on the bookstores I visited in Budapest. However, I must apologise in advance because I don’t have amazing pictures of these stores as obviously I was busy skimming through interesting titles. But I still think you will get the drift of it and maybe bookmark this post for future travels 🙂
Atlantis Book Island: My first bookstore find after visiting the Castle Hill was the Atlantis Book Island. I was surprised by the number of English titles here. The store has a lot of variety in fiction and non fiction from Central Europe. As a reader, it opened a new world for me.
Best part was the owner knew English so I could ask him for recommendations. Even though he was slightly shy, I managed finding few titles of my interest. I only wish he didn’t stand on my head while I was browsing 😉 The double storied bookstore also has a cute stationary corner with gorgeous bookmarks (all made in Hungary) and wrapping paper.
Massolit Book & Cafe: A quaint bookshop in the heart of the Jewish quarter, Massolit is my absolute favorite! You can sit here and read all day inside or in the garden, use the free Wifi and order a tea and homemade cake! The owner has an amazing collection of historic books and even helped me pick 3 titles. The store wasn’t as crowded and has a good selection of travel related books. There is a rack with second hand books in Hungarian.
Bestsellers: Right next to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral is this gem! The huge selection of books in English pulled me there twice! Even the choice of Hungarian literature is massive. I settled for a Romanian author and a bag from Penguin Books. Befriending the lady at the counter was fun because she told me there was always something going on at the shop whether it was book signings, author interviews or poetry sessions 🙂 The only downside of this shop is that since it is close to all the major landmarks it is usually full.
Alexandra: Formerly the Paris Department Store, Alexandra was a huge bookstore at the Andrassy Avenue. I visited in September 2016 and although the English section wasn’t very impressive, it has a lot of classics. The piano playing in the baroque cafe above was a reason I could go back and sit in the store. Alexandra was the biggest bookstore chain in Hungary sadly I was informed by a dear reader that this chain of stores is now closed in Hungary.
Did you enjoy this post?? Do you visit bookstores when you travel to new countries??
Did I say how much I loved Budapest?? Okay I probably did but here’s another post to prove my point 😉
On my second day I went to Fisherman’s Bastion at the Buda side of the city. Situated on Castle Hill, it is a unique monument whose name comes from the fishermen who defended the walls in the Middle Ages. The entire area on Castle Hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Buda Castle sits on the other side and houses the National Gallery of Hungary along with a Library and Museum of History. Completed in the 13th century, the castle is one of the most imposing structures of Budapest. Also at the Fisherman’s Bastion is the Mathhias Church made in a gothic style with 7 bells!
Reaching the Castle Hill is very easy as there is the option of walking, taking a bus (No 16) or a funicular. I chose the first one as it was only a 5-10 minute walk. Along the way I could see amazing views of the city. It was surreal!!
Best part of visiting the Castle Hill is really the location. One can spend as much time as one wants and see the vast vistas of the city! The entire area is like a small town with an old part and a Palace. There is also a five star hotel and a Starbucks which shows how commercial it is now becoming.
Many expensive shops in the area sell “Hungarian” goods but I didn’t know the authenticity of them so chose to ignore. Walking back to Pest I noticed how quiet the Buda side of the city is compared to the hustle and bustle of the Pest side.
It was an intriguing experience to see both sides of the city. More so because I had no idea about the history of Hungary and just got curious to know more. After my visit, I stopped at a bookshop to read more on Budapest. I’ll be posting about them later but for now I hope you enjoyed the hike to the Buda Castle?? Tell me if you are enjoying the Budapest series 🙂
A touch of splendor and air of grandeur- that is how I can explain my time in the most beautiful cafe of the world! Say hello to the New York Cafe in Budapest!
It is a complete baroque treat thanks to the work of the Boscolo group of Hotels- an Italian chain. With its Venetian chandeliers and gold paintings, marble tiles and silk cushions, hand painted walls and velvet upholstery, it oozed charm and class and reminded me of a time long gone by.
I had breakfast there on my first morning in the city and was so impressed. Taking a seat on the ground floor by the window, I was smitten with its interiors. No photograph can explain the beauty of it.
Coming to the food, I would say I had little expectations from it which is why I chose slightly less riskier options. However, I was impressed in that department too. It was fresh and tasty. I ordered fresh juice, coffee, toast and Hungarian sausages with horse raddish and salad. Later I also had a pastry which wasn’t photographed. Did I say I was having breakfast?? Well …No… it was definitely lunch for me 😉
Sitting and marvelling at the interiors was a great experience. I was mostly ogling at the ceiling and met two girls from China doing the same. I clicked at least 25 pictures for them and returned to my table as my coffee was getting cold.
But fun day 🙂 Had I been in a more touristy place such as Vienna or Venice I would have definitely spent a bomb but thanks to the comparatively cheaper prices in Eastern Europe it wasn’t even half of what I expected! Next time I definitely want to go there late at night because the place is open till 3 a.m. Cocktail time!
Few talk of Budapest as they talk of Rome, Paris or London. Even I wouldn’t have been aware had I not visited it, but it feels nice to know of a not-so-famous city that turned out to be so good!
On my Ryanair flight from Milan Bergamo to Budapest, I had no idea what to expect. For starters I was in a bit of a panic as neither the ATM or the credit card I had worked at the airport. I had no local currency (Forints in this case) and was carrying only some change of euros. This was also a useful lesson for me to be more prepared during travel. Luckily, a young lady helped me in reaching the city centre without taking any money for the ride. She herself was taking a flight to Africa but her parents who had come to drop her gave me a ride in their car and also got me a tram ticket. I am now connected with her through Facebook and hope to visit her someday in her home in Africa and/or Romania 🙂 Bless her and her folks!
Once I reached the city and settled in my room, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw around me. Not only is Budapest a gem of a city filled with wonderful things to do but is also home to stunning Neoclassical and Gothic architecture. Having been through a lot of destruction during the World War II, I was amazed how the city has fought back to keep itself on the high. It definitely shows the resilience and power of its people.
For those who don’t know, Budapest is divided into parts – one is the Buda side and the other is the Pest side. The former is laid back, residential and quieter while the latter more happening with all the pubs and places to see/eat. As a famous city of Eastern Europe, Budapest is a financial centre and is ranked as one of the 7th most liveable city of the continent. Budapest deserves attention, a lot of attention and you will see the “why” in the posts to follow. For all the 5 nights I was there, I felt this every single day. that more people should visit Budapest!
What did I do there all those days? I walked and walked around the city, ventured into different bookstores and cafes, pranced upon a historic library and food festival and drank lots of beer and wine 😀 Sometimes when I felt tired and lazy after all the walking I sat in a cafe and read a book that I had bought from the nearby store. Sunsets on the Danube were just surreal and the magic of Budapest comes alive in the night. I clicked several pictures from my phone camera and was wondering what the effects would have been if I had had a DSLR. So if you are there this year don’t miss the opportunity to get some great shots with a good camera. I got 2 of mine printed for my room 🙂
I will be writing more about Budapest in the coming posts. For those who are traveling in the summer it will be easy to refer to the posts, while for others- why don’t you take a trip to Budapest?? 🙂
Today is just one of those days when I am terribly terribly missing Italy. Troppo 😦
You might think and say, “when do you not”?? Well…okay.. you could be almost right there but today is not that daily “I wish I were in Italy sipping a glass of vino in my favorite piazza” feeling that is lost in the humdrum of life and its drama. So yes this one is different.
I just want to be there right now, to listen to the sounds of the Italian language, to gorge on the delicious food (not just pizza and pasta), to enjoy the warmth of its people, to savour the varieties of wine…. Its such an ache, a longing to be amongst the familiar yet unknown territories.
Most of you who have been to Italy or probably lived there can probably understand the pain even better. It is so surreal how faraway lands can tempt us so much. No?? Hoping the universe (ME) conspires something for me to be there soon ❤ For everyone who is dreaming for their special place, I feel ya!!
Thank you for reading.
Un grande abbraccio!
These are only a few reasons to venture to Mantova which happens to be only 2.5 hours away from Milan. For art lovers, this town is paradise because of places such as Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Te. The latter is counted as one of the most beautiful villas in Italy and is worth a visit for sure. Read more on it here.
Mantova is also famous for great food (as is everywhere in Italy) with lots on the sweet front such as the sbrisolona– a crumbly cake famous of the city. If you want to be a little off the tourist trail, Mantova is the place for you! The city is known Mantua in English but if you search on Trentialia.com it is Mantova. (The Italian name)
No matter what social media brings to us whether its picture sharing through Instagram, 140 character thoughts through Tweets or pinning favorite photos through Pinterest, there is nothing that can replace the joy of blogging. For that I am particularly grateful because I have made a lovely circle of friends here, some of whom I have met in real life and some that I hope to meet in future. I am lucky to have friends who continuously encourage me to share and post which keeps my motivation level a tad higher than I expected. Though one thing that I don’t appreciate is idea copying. So let’s keep blogging clean and special and alive by sharing a little of our respective worlds but by respecting each other’s creativity.
Today I am continuing my favorite series from the blog with a list of charming Italian words that I love.
–Comunque: Anyway, though.
–Antichissimo: Very ancient
–Pranzetto: a small little lunch
–Oppure: Or, Otherwise, else..
–Incantare: To charm
–Piuttosto: Rather, instead
–Soggiornare: To stay
–Casetta: Small house or a lodge.
Do tell me your favorites in the comments 🙂
Traveling a new country brings along its share of ups and downs which is why it is imperial to understand certain things beforehand that makes travel easier and enjoyable.
Italy as a country is full of wonderful people who will go out of the way to help you. I have so many instances small or big where I was helped by a random stranger and I am so grateful for that. But just to add a bit of extra help from my end, here are some tips that I’d love to share with you to ease for your Italian travels:
Know your Accommodation: It is essential to choose the best accommodation for yourself wherever you are in the country but also one that fits your budget. There are so many options of stay in Italy from a monastery, Airbnb, hostel to a agriturismo. Of course you can go for the safest hotel option but let’s make it more interesting with a home in an Italian countryside that gives you a local experience 🙂 Sounds good no?? Go for it! Make sure you choose a different one this time and don’t forget to keep copies of your passports with you for added safety.
Know the Culture: In Italy cover yourself when you visit a church, carry a scarf at all times just in case. Respecting the culture is important everywhere and the Italians take their dressing quite seriously so generally dress well when in Italy. I know this isn’t for everyone but I love it personally. I love looking good in a crowd of already well dressed Italians. It makes me feel more confident and it is fun to be looked at in a nice way than be stared at 😉
Know Where You Are: Italy is a unified country since 1861 and earlier it was only just different regions and kingdoms which is why you see how much pride Italians take in their regional products. So remember where you are! Don’t order a food/wine in the wrong region. For instance, Chianti is in Tuscany and if you are in Sicily, don’t ask for a Chianti Classico, instead ask for their local wines and try new things. Similarly for food, try the local Umbrian delicacies when you are in Perugia and don’t ask for Roman treats such as Cacio a pepe 🙂
Know the Language: This is not a mandatory tip but it pays to know small words of the country’s language you are traveling in. If you are in Italy a Grazie (Thank You), Salve (Formal Hello), Per Favore (Please) are basic words to know. Though Ciao is used for hello and bye both, it is informal greeting so don’t go saying it to everyone 😉
Know your Comfort: As a solo traveler, you sometimes feel shy and don’t want to move out of your comfort zone to chat with locals or make new friends. But I’d say take the first step. Go to the local bar for an authentic experience and have an aperitvo in the evening or visit the trattoria (family run eatery) to see the culture and food style. You never know you might meet someone to chat with. When I am in Italy, I love to observe the locals and catch a few extra words for my Italian vocabulary. I also love talking to the barista if the bar isn’t very crowded. Italians are a friendly bunch always making you comfortable.
Buon Anno a tutti! Happy New Year everyone! 🙂
I hope you had a fun filled New Year’s Eve with family and friends. Wishing that 2017 turn out to be the best for everyone in all possible ways ❤
I am starting 2017 with a HUGE ambition, a list (small) of places I’d love to visit in Italy this year.
I have only added a few of them here because I know I could go on and on. Also, these places are from different regions of the country so it is not possible to visit them all together. Just a wishlist 😉 Hope you enjoy reading through them:
–Rome, Lazio: I can’t get enough of this city, there is always so much to do or see here. I want to spend a week in Rome and just do nothing but wander the streets or stay in Trastevere or Monti. Also, I’d love to this Tea Room near the Spanish Steps. Have you been here?
–Numana, Le Marche: Having heard so much about Italy’s eastern coastline and seen most of it in Puglia, I’d now like to venture to the lesser known Le Marche and its and unexplored beaches. The entire region is also filled with little hamlets that are so alluring.
–Torino, Piedmont: Oh Torino! How could I not visit this elegant city. The perfect cups of bicerin implore me to book a ticket right away. I can’t wait to see this city in 2017! Long due!
Piazza Castello, Torino #torino BUON ULTIMO GIORNO DEL 2016…SALITE A BORDO PER VIVERE UN NUOVO ANNO 2017 RICCO DI AVVENTURE E CULTURA. #turindowntown #turin #torinoèlamiacittà #igersturin #igerstorino #ig_torino #ig_piemonte #ig_turin #ig_turin_ #lestradeditorino #torinodigitale #torinopics #turincity #instagram #instangood #igersita #igersitalia #ig_italia #volgoitalia #volgotorino #volgoitaly #loves_torino #ig_italia_borghiecitta #ig_italia #piazzacastello #seemyturin #ciauturin #vivatorino #vivotorino #placeofturin Photo by @lelepap
–Verona, Veneto: Another timeless city that has been on my list since 2 years. There is a 1st Century amphitheater and tons of medieval architecture to get you interested. Hope to be there this year.
–Positano, Campania: Not a solo destination for me personally but I’d love to visit it. If not this year then maybe the next year. And yes, not alone. I can wait for Positano but definitely not alone.
–Padova, Veneto: Another place that has been doomed since my past two trips is Padova. After reading several posts about the city’s Scrovegni Chapel, I have a longing to be there. Hope 2017 is the year to sit in its historic cafes.
–Naples, Campania: The outbreak of #FerranteFever has had an inkling on me to see the streets from the viewpoint of Elena Ferrante. Other than that who doesn’t want to eat the famous Pizza Margherita from where it was born?
–Genoa, Liguria: Last but not the least I would love to visit Genoa a city with a lot of history and one that is missed by travelers. It is after all the land of focaccia and pesto.
Piazza Raffaele de Ferrari, fountain and Palazzo della Nuova Borsa Valori, Genoa | Italy 🇮🇹 #italytravel#italia#genova#genoa#italy#italygram#ig_italy#about_italy#decoration#architecture#architektura#archdaily#architecturestudent#oldcity#oldtown#italiangirl#polishgirl#adventure#adventuretime#traveler#travelgram#travel#travelingram#instatravel#instaitalia
So tell me where you are planning to visit this year in Italy or beyond??
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
In my previous post I mentioned that it is the month to be grateful. One such place that highlights my gratitude is the 25Hours Hotel in Vienna.
Located in the 7th District of the elegant city, 25Hours Hotel is a circus themed hotel in the heart of Vienna. It is definitely a hotel with a strange name and an ugly building from outside. But stepping inside changes your impression because it has the most quirky interiors making it a very offbeat travel experience. Being a circus themed hotel doesn’t make it kiddish and disappointing; instead it is fun, vibrant and pleasing to the eye.
The hotel has eccentrically designed rooms with circus based illustrations, fancy upholstery and peculiar objects. My bathroom toiletries read “Stop wasting the water when using me” 🙂 The dustbin was a steel bucket!
The hotel has a lot of space and hence a lot of rooms but they are average sized. However for a single traveler like myself there was enough space. I loved the writing/reading desk in the room along with a window and balcony (depending on the type of room you book) to see Vienna go by.
My room was exceptional with an interesting illustration, a fully stocked mini bar and a lovely view! I especially enjoyed it at night.
I was very impressed of the location of the hotel as there was a tram stop right below the hotel. The famous MuseumsQuartier as well as the longest shopping street in the city was only a 10 minute walk. And and and.. only 2 metro stations away was Vienna’s iconic structure- the St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
What more could one ask for??
The 25 Hours Hotel, which is also in the cities of Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt, is perfect for a short stay especially for those looking to be in Vienna’s centre. I was impressed with its rooftop bar and a buzzing restaurant which makes it the place to be with some company.
Their service both inside the restaurant and at the reception was exceptional whether for local queries or food. I had to catch an early morning flight and the hotel was kind enough to arrange me a driver at 5 a.m. Since I was skipping breakfast, they packed a fresh ham and cheese sandwich with fruits for me, which saved me from the horrible flight food later on. That was a very nice touch. Thanks to Mr. Roland Eggenhofer who was most kind to be connected with me during the stay. He even left me a goodies bag and a warm welcome note. Thank you for a great stay! I hope to be back again.