• Old School Travel!

    Budapest, Hungary to Krakow, Poland…train travel is commonplace in Europe and I wanted the full experience, so I took one of Europe’s famous overnight trains!

    We all have heard the stories of train bandits, pickpockets, and train drama, so I chose a private “couchette” or cabin in the sleeping car. I purchased the ticket for around $100 from a travel agency in Budapest and it was very easy! I had dreams of the Orient Express, but I tried to keep my fantasies in check…

    Train #360 left Budapest’s Keleti station at 8:05 pm and the journey takes over ten hours, arriving in Krakow at 6:50 am. The train split midway through the night and the back part goes to Berlin. I am not sure how they do it, but they do! I fell sound asleep by the train’s rocking, so not even sure when this all occurred.

    It was like going back in time, as I rolled my luggage through the grand station, a uniformed conductor greeted me and escorted me to my freshly appointed cabin. White crisp sheets, pillows, and a duvet with complimentary snacks were awaiting…I am smitten with the whole experience! As the train pulls out of the station, I hang out of my window channeling some old black and white movie…except no one is chasing after the train like the classic scenes we all have seen many time before! I felt very safe in my cabin and comfortable, after a few videos on my IPad, I settled in for a night’s sleep…

    The morning is greeted with coffee or tea served once again by the friendly conductor. My neighbors are also tourists and you can see the look of satisfaction on all our faces, as we have just experienced this novel mode of travel!

    This worldwide journey has been a trip of firsts…this first will not soon be forgotten!






  • Here comes the Bride!

    Budapest, Hungary…sights seen, goulash tasted, nightlife sampled!

    I was just enjoying some time strolling in the sun when I stumbled across a beautiful pastel colored church. It looked as if it were constructed from confectioner’s sugar…I sat outside and suddenly a wedding party arrived!

    It was Saturday early evening and a crowd formed for the impending nuptials…my curiosity took hold and I stayed to watch the festivities!

    The fashion was over the top! Slits up to here, glitter and bling, and skin for days…this pretty little church was suddenly bedazzled! Obviously, style here is a bit different…more obvious and flamboyant! Women evoked the vibe of a stripper or a drag queen…and all the various unique hair colors just topped it all off! What was going on?But as revealing as the outfits were, no exposed shoulders in church; demure shawls and boleros were out in force, even the bride wore a shawl over her strapless dress.

    Regardless of what I would consider a series of fashion don’ts, it became clear this was a special moment in a fairytale setting…balloons were ready to be set free to celebrate the marriage in addition to throwing rice.

    Being part of this couple’s special day, even if only as a gawker, is another once in a lifetime moment that a journey like this can only bring! I am lucky enough to be able to bank a fortune of priceless moments like this so far this trip…






  • Playing Nice!

    Budapest, Hungary…I covered this town today! I hit the ground running with ambition…

    Since Budapest is so spread out, I took it on recommendation, to employ the services of the dreaded open top tour bus! There are many different companies to choose from and they are set up conveniently all over the city…they include tours by bus and boat and are red, bright green, pink, blue, you name it…

    This really gave me the opportunity to see EVERYTHING from both sides of the Danube as well as actually from the Danube! It was comprehensive and a great way to capture the sights and history of the Hungarian capital. There is so much to see; the castles, churches, monuments, and bridges!

    I must say what struck me today: what is wrong with tourists? Why do people loose their manners and mind when traveling? Pushing, shoving, space invading…I really laughed many times today watching a little Japanese woman push aside a large German man, or a loud French woman knock a girl over for a seat, or the Swedish teen stepping allover this Italian woman who dropped her hat! What’s the problem? I think people are so fixated they forget we are all in this together! I am a New Yorker, so I get aggression, but this is vacation! I rarely do group tour activities but today gave me a better glimpse into people’s behavior!

    Slow down, take in the beauty…Chill and relish the culture…Relax, the sights are not going anywhere!

    I am loving Budapest, now I just wish everybody tried to love one another a bit more…






  • Night Vision!

    Budapest, Hungary…the historic sights along the Danube are illuminated at night allowing me to do a double take at this wonderful city. The sound of live bands at cafes become the soundtrack for the amazing view and people waltz in the open air dance halls that some parks become after dark. I really am enchanted with Hungary and the traditional goulash, stroganoff, and strudel on every menu just adds to the appeal!

    I am sitting at an orange and yellow canopied cafe along the banks of Budapest’s prized river and soaking up the sights. My dinner of Sirloin Stroganoff with amazing dumpling like noodles brings me back to my childhood…delicious! It hits the spot like some kind of comfort food.

    A stroll allows me to thrill at the view and it’s all I need to end this first day in Hungary!





  • Hungary for More!

    Budapest, Hungary…the morning should have been simple, but it was rocky…I bought a first class train ticket, but couldn’t find the first class car and was relegated to airless second class! Then upon arriving, I thought I should buy my onward train tickets to Krakow. The ticket office was packed with smelly back-packers and the wait was over an hour and half! What am I doing? Mini meltdown…Forget it…I stormed out!

    The taxi driver annoyed me too… oh, was Budapest gonna be a bust or did I just hit a wall from traveling 6 weeks? I think I was craving a switch from the series of small little towns with village squares and elaborate churches…

    Well, I peeled myself off that wall when I got to my glorious hotel, Zenit Budapest Palace! It’s fantastic and things are looking up! The day totally turned around…I love the vibe of Budapest…it’s not just castles and churches(they have them too!)… It’s youthful, has an energy to it, a bustle in it’s step…bigger than the other towns on this tour so far! It’s got fashion and style along with cafes in spades! People everywhere, chilling in parks or soaking in makeshift pools! I am totally responding to this change…

    It’s a large city spread out on both sides of the Danube…so my focus for now is just getting my bearings of what looks like a great place!