I love castles. They’re some of my favorite sights in Europe, mostly because buildings like that just don’t exist in the US. Castles are such a huge reminder of the age and history of European culture. Plus castles just look cool. Budapest’s Castle Hill was really pretty, but I was excited that there was a second castle in Budapest, on the Pest side of the city.
While Andy and I were in Rome last year, the pizza making and food tour we took was one of our favorite activities. It was such an interesting way to learn about the city and the culture. So when we started planning our recent trip to Budapest and I came across a food tour there, we jumped on it. I knew very little about Budapest or Hungarian cuisine, so we signed up for their culinary walk for our second day in the city to get an introduction to our week.
“Look, there’s a funicular!”
I can always count on Andy to get excited about funiculars, and Budapest was no exception. So on our first full day in the city, we left our apartment late in the morning to go find the funicular that goes to the top of Castle Hill. We were staying on the Pest side of the city, and Castle Hill is across the Danube River on the Buda side, so we found the Chain Bridge, the oldest bridge to connect the two sides, and started wandering around in the heat.
When Andy and I were planning our recent trip to Budapest, I found a train route that would save us about 100 euros each. Unfortunately it involved two switches at night on the return journey. The schedule looked roughly like this: Budapest to Munich 3:10pm to 10:25pm, Munich to Karlsruhe 11:50pm to 3:30am, and Karlsruhe to Freiburg 4:45am to 5:55am. I knew I wouldn’t like it but, at the time, the drastic difference in the ticket price convinced me to buy it. It’ll be an adventure, I thought. (In hindsight, what the hell what I thinking? I didn’t even like the night train from Paris to Nice, and we were in a sleeper car on that one.)
Recently on Twitter, someone called me shallow for “boasting” about having been to all seven continents before my 30th birthday. That it wasn’t about how many, but what you get out of a place. I definitely know and agree that travel is about the experiences, so I was upset that someone was accusing me of being shallow because my Twitter profile states that I’ve been to all seven continents. She was judging me based on that, and assuming that all I cared about were the numbers.
Earlier this year, I spent my second long period of time traveling through parts of Southeast Asia. I didn’t track my spending the first time as well as I did this time, especially when it came to food and miscellaneous spending, so it was interesting to compare the two trips from a travel spending perspective. Both times I spent nearly two months in the region, but the first time around I solo for about half the time. This time Andy was with me, so all expenses listed are for two people.
Rome is one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists. And I understand why – it’s a wonderful city! It’s packed with history, it’s gorgeous, the food is amazing, and there’s just so much to do there. But Rome’s popularity comes at a price. It’s hard to see the sights without also seeing tons of other tourists. Sometimes the crowds can get overwhelming, especially for someone like me who doesn’t like crowds. Here’s a look at some of the top places in Rome to see other tourists.
I mentioned about a month ago when I shared a Pad Thai recipe how traveling sometimes introduces me to new foods. Another meal Andy and I really enjoyed while we were in Ao Nang, Thailand was red Thai curry. We actually started making this one ourselves while we were living in Berlin, but once we went to Thailand it became one of our favorites. We’ve made this one so many times now, I don’t know what recipe I originally worked from, so I’ll just tell you how we make it now.
Andy likes to say that traveling is just doing laundry in other places. Which made me laugh the first couple of times I heard him say it. But then it really started to make sense. It’s the idea that it’s still your life. All the basic things you have to do when you’re home, you have to do while you’re traveling. Eat, sleep, shower. And if you’re traveling for more than a week or so, you probably need to do laundry. It’s not the glamorous side of travel, but I’ve found that doing laundry in other places can lead to some entertaining stories.
Freiburg is located less than an hour from the Swiss border, so there are several cities in Switzerland that are close enough for a day trip. One of those cities is Thun, located in the Bernese Oberland region. In the 19th century, Thun was the main center for foreign visitors to the Bernese Alps. Due to this booming tourism, there were tons of guesthouses, restaurants and souvenir shops contributing to the local economy. The Swiss army also had (and still has) a big presence in Thun, furthering development.