All posts filed under: Europe

Sighișoara Citadel

Here are some pictures from our second stop in Transilvania, the city of Sighișoara. The citadel is about two and a half hours by train from Brașov. This is the birth place of Vlad the Impaler.    The citadel was built on top of a hill in the 12th century by Saxon craftsmen and merchants and it is still inhabited today. Our hotel was inside the citadel but we walked around the city below and bought provisions for a picnic. I made David try Romanian salami (Salam de Sibiu) and cașcaval,  a Romania yellow hard cheese. I was excited to eat these again because growing up they were somewhat of a luxury.    We stayed in a hotel resembling an old inn with an old fresco, low ceilings and a brick cellar that hosts large parties. The man at the reception gave us a tour and told us stories of ghosts which haunt the hotel staff when they wander in the basement at night. Advertisements

Transylvanian Adventure

When most people hear about Transylvania they think vampires and count Dracula. Not to disappoint, there is a restaurant in Brașov called Dracula but it caters mainly to tourists. Brașov is on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains and a great gateway to ski resorts and hiking trails nearby. The city has been around since medieval times and it boasts architectural landmarks in many different styles. We spent a few days in the city and around. From Brașov we did a day trip to the nearby ski resort town of Sinaia. It’s only forty minutes away from Brașov by train. Sinaia is not a part of Transylvania but Wallachia. Getting on the train was easy but figuring out where to get off was tricky. The train conductors do not announce train stations and station names are not clearly marked. Naturally we missed our stop and got off at the next stop in Comarnic. Once there we were contemplating going to visit some salt mines we found out were in the area. We asked a couple of locals but …

Bucharest In Bloom

After twenty years away from my native country, I decided it was a good time to go back and see how much things have changed. I was excited to speak Romanian, eat my favourite Romanian dishes and be surrounded by all things Romanian. Bucharest is where I was born and grew up and the place I was most curious to revisit. Our hotel was near Piața Unirii and the old city not far from the gigantic People’s House built by Ceaușescu during the communist regime. Unfortunately the building was closed for visitors because of Orthodox Easter. The building is said to be just as grandiose on the inside as it is on the outside. Immediately after our arrival we hit Lipscani street and the old city. I don’t remember this part of the city but I knew about it from conversations with my mom. In truth I don’t remember much of the city and I felt like I was almost seeing it for the first time. Turns out I had changed a lot as well. The architecture in …

Budapest & Around

We spend three days in Budapest right around Easter. This city rivals some of the greatest cities in Europe. There is so much to do and see that we wished we had a few extra days to cover it all. We purchased a 72 hour metro pass and navigated the network with ease. I loved the old trains and metro stations on the M1 decorated with white tile, heavy metal columns and old wooden booths. Soon after our arrival we visited the House of Terror,  a museum dedicated to victims of the holocaust and the communist regime. We were tired and jet lagged from our trip and the dark testimonials completely wiped us out. We found our way to Vorosmarty Square and stumbled upon an Easter Market with food and souvenir stalls and tried Hungarian chimney doughnuts. For my first dinner in Budapest, I had Hungarian goulash, a hearty soup with meat and vegetables. Delicious! On our second day we took the train to Szentendre, 40 minutes outside of Budapest. Such a charming little town! The houses are …

Vamos a Sevilla y…

David is a navigator extraordinaire but for some reason in Seville we couldn’t get our bearings. We got lost from the train station on the way to our hotel. The streets seem to go for a block and then change name so it took us a while to find our way. All that aside Seville is a great place to visit and a great pied de terre for day trips to nearby towns. On top of that the weather in November is great. The Moorish influence is felt here just as much as in Granada. I was determined to visit the Alcazar, a palace in the middle of the city which was rumored to impress. Impressed I was by the tile decor and beautiful lush gardens surrounding the palace. Even in November there were trees full of oranges. Only 1 hour and 45 minutes from Seville is the coastal town of Cadiz. We made the trip there only for the day. We spend the day walking along the coast and soaking in the sun. Ronda was another one …

Hola Madrid!

The Spanish have found the recipe to good living: delicious food, good company, great art, beautiful parks and all these can be found in the city of Madrid. Lucky for us we like to incorporate all of those things in our travels :-). For a dose of history we started with a visit of the Royal Palace. The royal family does not live here anymore but the palace is still used for royal ceremonies. Photography is not allowed inside but it’s worth the visit. Each room is unique and lavishly decorated. Right next to the palace is Catedral de la Almudena. We were impressed by the stunning frescoes and grandiose architecture. We ate a lot on this trip but it was all in the name of research:). La Latina neighbourhood is a great place for tapas. First time ordering tapas was a little intimidating since the place had no menus or seats. We ordered by pointing at the tapas laid on the counter and managed to find ourselves a spot standing at the bar. Now …