Tag Archives: Europe

Christmas Markets of Eastern Europe

Snowy Church in Budapest, Hungary

Snowy Road in Budapest Starting in mid-November of every year, Christmas Markets start popping up all over Europe. In December of 2010, I took a mini train journey through Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Czech Republic. The cheery Christmas Markets were definitely one of the highlights of my trip.  Pretzels for Sale in Vienna, Austria – Not sure about ‘Krapfen’  Each city, especially the major capitals is usually home to many different markets ranging in size.  Different markets are usually popular for different reasons – food, crafts, entertainment, decorations. Most major squares will house at least a few Christmas booths … Read More

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Lessons learned from arriving in Budapest after dark

Snowy Streets of Budapest After Sunset

My first glimpse of Budapest…. In winter of 2010, I flew into Budapest for a week of work. I had gotten there a few days early so that I would have time to see the city and visit the Christmas Markets. To save money, I was staying in a small hostel prior to checking into my work hotel. My flight landed after dark (which isn’t that late when you think of winter in Eastern Europe) and I had to make my way from the airport to my hostel. Because I knew there was a flat rate shuttle service available at … Read More

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Caving in Budapest

Climbers ascending through the caves under Budapest

Budapest is well known for its natural thermal springs and no trip to the city is complete without a visit to one of the famous spas. But, what many people don’t know (including myself prior to this trip) is that all of this thermal water moving under the city leaves behind a network of tunnels and caves. Because of this, Hungary is also home to some of Europe’s most extensive caving systems. As I said, before my visit I hadn’t heard anything about this caving, but a flyer in my hostel (complete with clip art bats) and an enthusiastic review … Read More

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24 hours in Madrid

As I mentioned in my previous post, due to the high cost of airfare to Morocco, we ended up getting round trip flights to Madrid and then using the discount carrier, Ryanair to get to Morocco. This meant we had a 24 hour layover in Madrid. Amazing. Streets of Madrid Madrid is a beautiful city and we had great weather. Unfortunately, RS and I had had a bit of a rough flight without much sleep and perhaps a bit too much fun and needed to take a long nap after arriving at 8am. AM headed off to see the a … Read More

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Cruise down the Bosphorus

Bosphorous River in Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish flag over the Bosphorus The Bosphorus River runs through the city of Istanbul separating the Asian side from the European side of the city. Ferries run from the main dock near the old city all the way down to Anadolu Kavagi.  Since the weather was nice, we decided to spend the day on the Ferry and see some of the sights along the river. Anadolu Kavagi The ferry left from the dock at around 10:30 and we tried to get there early to get good seats. Unfortunately, it seemed like everyone else had the same idea. We were able … Read More

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Historic Istanbul

Haga Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey

 View from the Topkapi Palace  The next day, after eating the massive hotel buffet breakfast,  we set out for a full day of sight seeing. The first stop is Topkapi Palace which is the former home of the Ottoman Sultans during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. One thing that surprised me about Istanbul was the steep admission costs of all the sites. The Palace alone was about $20 just to enter. Topkapi Palace Corrider The palace is very large and ornate, but I wouldn’t say it was worth the admission fee especially since if you want to … Read More

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