Ciao ciao peeps! Sorry I’ve been M.I.A the last month, it pains me to even write that. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and have some good pictures for ya so hopefully that makes up for it!! If not sry I can’t help u. Since my last post I’ve been to Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Lisbon(ish), Munich, and Mallorca! It’s been non-stop but amazing and I have loved every place more than the last.
SO, starting in Budapest, I’ll take you through a little of my Semana Santa trip. I reunited with my college roommate in Budapest (s/o Sara) so it was already set up to be a fantastic time. Some of the better activities included a free walking tour with an extremely friendly, informative woman named Eszther aka Esther (in Hungarian “s” is spelled “sz” but still pronounced as “s”). Speaking of the Hungarian language, let’s just spend a second on that. Like WHAT were people thinking when that was invented, hello??? Zero sense, it all makes zero sense. It does not help that Hungarians aren’t the biggest English speakers so, that was a slight setback. But, the usual hand gestures and pointing did the trick so it wasn’t too bad. Anyway, walking tour was great and an awesome way to get a feel of Budapest, I will always recommend doing one when you first get to a new city. Free ones are not hard to find and they are so helpful with getting an idea of where you are. Other fun things in Budapest included the baths, which was a super interesting experience that took some time to get used to but after awhile we were all chilling on the bath steps like pros. Food things involved meat and potatoes (what? I never eat those), in the form of goulash, and some donut/crepe hybrid filled with jam. AND gelato in the form of a rose which was both cool (aesthetically and temperature-wise…awful joke I apologize) and delicious.
Continuing on to Vienna, more friends joined us and we developed a love of the Wombat hostel company (seriously recommend staying there if possible). In Vienna we went to the Albertina museum at the recommendation of a friend and saw some great works of art including famous etchings done by my boys Dürer and Michelangelo. Vienna was definitely the coldest and most rainy city on the trip, so we spent our time hoping to and from indoor places, museums, cafes, churches, etc. Our hostel was located right next to the Naschmarkt, an awesome open air market that Vienna has had since the 16th c and is 1.5 km long(!) We went there for lunch one day and got a Mediterranean spread of falafel, hummus, tzatziki, pita, tomatoes and olives. All amazing. We spent our last day visiting Schönbrunn Palace, the beautiful former summer residence of the Hapsburg dynasty. It is similar to Versailles, albeit on a much smaller scale, and the sun came out for the last day so the whole area and gardens were beautiful! After all this, I said goodbye to my roommate (:'( ) and her friends (they were continuing on to Milan) and two of my friends and I took a train to Prague.
We arrived late on Thursday night and after the cheapest beer of our lives (90 cents for a half pint!), we called it a night and got an early start the next morning. Friday was fairly rainy and chilly, so we did the sites that were close to our hostel, namely the Prague Castle and St. Vitus Cathedral that were a 5 minute walk away. Really cool area and the perfect activity to do while avoiding the rain.
That day we ate lunch at a pub and got (shockingly) sausages, soup and beer. And pretzels. The afternoon was spent with more wandering around the city and hitting up Wenceslas Square to see what the shopping was like. Friday night we ate dinner at a tiny restaurant in the cellar of a building, there were about 5 tables in the restaurant. Great food (pita margharitas and goat cheese spread), and more beer (a theme). Saturday began with a more extensive tour of the Old Town side of the Charles Bridge. The weather was beautiful so just being outside and walking around was our favorite way to spend time. We walked by the Kafka museum (it cost money to get in and none of us were a huge fan of Kafka so…), then stopped in a cute area under the bridge where an easter market was going on. There we enjoyed mint and ginger lemonade (thirst-quenching x10) and people watched. Being in Prague for Easter was such a cool time to see the city, with markets and decorations and festive sights around every corner. I can only imagine being there for Christmas which must be spectacular. That afternoon we took a “historic” tram through the city as a way to see more without getting lost and/or walking for four hours (we were tired ok). In addition to free walking tours, opportunities like this tram are great ways to see the city. The tickets were inexpensive and it was so easy!
That Sunday we attended Easter mass at a Polish church in Old Town, a really interesting way to start the morning. I hardly ever go to church, mostly just on Christmas and Easter, but thinking of my family across the ocean and then remembering all the Easters I’ve spent with them was a very nostalgic, melancholy feeling, even though I was thrilled to be in Prague and with two amazing friends celebrating the same holiday. Overall, very cool, really glad I went. After, we decided to have a proper Easter brunch (brunch being one of the few things I miss about the U.S.), and with the price of food in Prague being inCREDibly cheap, it was perfect. The restaurant, Café Lounge, had amazing lunch options and an extensive coffee menu, all of which hit the spot after standing for an hour in church.
Sunday night was calm and on Monday, we really just did more walking around and eating. We had breakfast at Café Savoy, a partner restaurant of Café Lounge, and somehow breakfast might have surpassed brunch. We ate like royalty and weren’t totally horrified when we saw the bill! Wow, to feel like that all the time, I can’t imagine. More exploring in Old Town and beyond, more walking through the Easter markets, and all of a sudden it was lunch time. We happened upon the coolest restaurant. It was a fresh market where you could buy high quality produce, meat, fish, bread and specialty products, but also a restaurant, where they cooked all the food from their own store. There was a cold bar with a selection of 15+ salads and spreads. My selection was hummus, a zuchinni salad with parmesan, hazelnuts and mint, a salad of shrimp, tomato and avocado, and a mixture of roasted tomatoes, olives and burrata. Overall, absolutely incredible. A great last meal in a city where basically every meal was outstanding.
Our trek back from Prague included a 9 hour layover in Lisbon, from about 11 pm on Monday night to 8 am on Tuesday morning. My friend and I checked our luggage, took the metro, and in 30 minutes found oursevles in the city center of Lisbon, at about 1 am, not knowing anything. Luckily one of the popular neighborhoods was a 10 minute walk away so we wandered around the streets there, people watching and enjoying a glass of wine. Lisbon was surprisingly active for 2 to 4 am on a Monday night and is a city I would definitely love to go back to and check out during the day, considering I saw very little sites while there.
Overall, my Semana Santa trip was 12 days long, included 4 cities, 4 countries, and was one of the best trips of my life. Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and even Lisbon, all now hold memories for me and I am already dying to return, mentally planning what I would do the same and what new places I will visit. If any of you want further recommendations on the cities or want more details, comment below and I’d be happy to share!
Look forward to posts on Munich and Mallorca, decided it was too much to include all here. Sorry for ditching you for so long but I promise I’m back in action WOO. Adios now enjoy your Tuesdays.