Half Day Trip in Budapest


From Vienna, we took a bus to Budapest. Since Student Agency doesn’t have routes to Budapest, we took Orangeways, another cheap alternative. Orangeways was definitely not as good as Student Agency. The bus was much older and didn’t have any amenities. It only took around 3 hours, so it wasn’t bad at all and we just took a nap. We took the noon bus since the earlier one was all booked up. We definitely booked it too last minute. Our bus ended up only having less than 10 people, so we were able to have two seats each. Another tip is that the Orangeways bus stop is extremely difficult to find! We almost missed our bus even though we were half an hour early. You need to walk behind this building at Olympiaplatz to see the bus there… Anyways, by the time we got to Budapest, it was almost 4 pm. We quickly went to our accommodation to drop off our backpacks. We basically didn’t even have half a day to tour around this city! This time, we stayed at an apartment! Super cool and I wish we had stayed here for a few more nights. I had found it on Booking.com and it’s called All-4U Apartments. Basically, this company has a few apartments, and they rent them out for travelers, even if it’s just for one night. Our apartment could sleep 4 or even 5 really, and was only 49 euros in total! Pretty good deal for how clean and comfortable the place was! It was also located extremely close to the metro that had two lines running.


They even had a bedroom! The other two beds were outside in the living room. It included a kitchen as well. If only we stayed longer, then we could cook our own food. Super spacious and clean! I highly recommend these apartments!


The bathroom was huge! And it even included a washing machine! I swear this place was better than my Barcelona flat…


We quickly mapped out where to hit in the time we had left and headed out. We took a metro to the  We took the metro to the Hungarian Parliament Building, but sadly wasted so much time here. They were having construction, and you basically couldn’t walk to the front of the building. It was dark and a lot of other tourists seemed to be finding a way to the front too. They should’ve put some sort of signs so tourists could figure out what was going on! It was so frustrating and we were cold and tired. Finally, we looked on our maps, and decided to go across the Danube River to see the Parliament from the other side. We took a metro again, thanks to our all day pass. The building is beautiful at night when the light reflects onto the water. A must see at night!


From there, we walked and walked and walked along the Danube… We then took a right turn and began our walk up towards the Castle District or Castle Hill. We were determined to find the Castle! There are trams all along the way, but we hadn’t done any research, so we walked instead. It’s actually not that bad and you end up seeing a lot of interesting churches along the way. Anyways, we finally saw this humongous looking castle. Funny enough, we had found Matthias Church, and not the castle. Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church and actually the second largest church of medieval Buda! I swear it felt like a castle more. It was spectacular with the faint yellow lights shining on it. When you get to the top, you have amazing viewpoints of the other side (Pest) and the Chain Bridge. Truly amazing. The details on the roof are also beautiful!


While walking further to see the Buda Castle, we get a beautiful veiw of the Chain Bridge at night. Budapest is voted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and I can’t agree more. I think it’s most beautiful at night when the lights hit the water and reflects. It’s also got so many medieval looking buildings and castles which makes the city look like those in fairytales. The Danube River, pictured here, flows through a bunch of countries and is the second longest river on the continent! What’s cool is that because of the unification of Buda and Pest, Budapest is the only city that has both the west and east side of the Danube River.


Then we finally reached the Buda Castle. It dates back to 1265!  This was where the Hungarian Kings of Budapest stayed. We actually though Matthias Church looked more impressive than the castle! Nevertheless, it was beautiful at night and also had many spots for picture worthy scenes. If you don’t want to walk back down, then you can take the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular which ends at the Adam Clark Square where the Chain Bridge is. Remember that the Castle is high up on a hill! Since the funicular was closed, we hiked back down, which wasn’t too bad since they had paved a pathway for people to walk down.


We reached the opening of the Szechenyi Chain Bridge on the Buda side, and were determined to walk back to Pest. This famous suspension bridge links you between the east and west and is the oldest permanent bridge on the Danube. The walk actually isn’t that long and took maybe 10 minutes.


We got pretty hungry by now and we decided to check out the Christmas Market! The best part of traveling in Europe during December is the opportunity to visit the different Christmas markets! The biggest market is at Vorosmarty ter or better known as Vorosmarty Square. It’s the public square in the Budapest city center, which is filled with shops and cafes. It transformed into a lively market, with tons of food and crafts. Again, there were those sweet hollow pastries! Trdelnik is the name in Czech, but in Hungary, they’re called Kurtoskalacs. So good and a must try! I think it was also cheaper here!


After a round of the Christmas market, we headed for dinner. I had searched up a restaurant on Tripadvisor. It was a little out of the way, but we eventually found our way. Kiskakukk Etterem was a fancy little place that served traditional Hungarian food. The area around the restaurant was rather quiet and Budapest gets dark really quickly! Even though there are lots of lights, the city is pretty dim overall for some reason.


The inside is pretty fancy looking, and the waiters are all in formal wear. There wasn’t language barriers at all, although our server seemed sort of shy for some reason. It seems like a place to bring your date on, now that I think about it!


Tenderloin stuffed with bolete mushroom cream served with goose liver in Cabernet sauce,grilled vegetables and Mediterranean potatoes

Here was what I got for my entree! I ended up spoiling myself, and I think this was one of the priciest on the menu, but hold on. It was only CAD$20… Like where do we get tenderloin with goose liver on top for $20? The cost of food is definitely much cheaper in Budapest. While we’re at, I should mention that in Budapest, they use Hungarian Florints, so my entree was 4390 ft, which is around 14 euros. But anyways, back to food. It was so good! The tenderloing was stuffed with a mushroom cream sauce and it also came with a Cabernet red wine sauce – a perfect pairing for the tenderloin. The best part was the goose liver on top. It was crispy on the outside and the inside just melted in your mouth. So good! Even the vegetables were grilled and seasoned well. I had no complaints! Paired it with the House White Wine, although I should’ve really paired it with a red… The wine was also only around CAD$2… Cheaper than ordering a bottle of water in Canada.


After dinner, we continued our adventure. We would normally be home by now, but we had to make the most of it. We made sure the metro would still run, and off we went to Heroes Square or “Hosok Tere”. It’s near the City Park, and is surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts and Palace of Art. In the center of the square is the Millennium Memorial or Monoument, which has statues of the leaders that founded Hungary. Budapest actually sort of reminded me of North America, just because it had so much open space, like here. The other cities I had visited in Europe were mostly bunched up streets and buildings, so it was nice to have so much space again!


We then made our way to the City Park, where we found the Varosligeti Mujegpalya or the City Park Ice Rink. Behind it lies the Vajdahunyad Castle. The ice rink opened in 1870 and is the largest outdoor ice rink in Europe. In summer, it’s actually a pond, so it was pretty cool to see an outdoor ice rink!


Then we made our way to the Vajdahunyad Castle, which was just behind the rink. It’s actually relatively new, being built between 1896 and 1908. It was built for the Millenial Exhibition and is now the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture. At night, it looked eerie and almost like those kingdoms you see in movies with dragons…

And the next morning, we were up at 5 am, took a taxi to the airport, and off we went back to Barcelona. Little did I know that I would be back in just a few weeks… 🙂


Prague Christmas Market – Potatoes, Trdelnik, and Old Prague Ham


After saying farewell to my friends, the next morning before the sun even rose, I was out heading to the airport. K, U, D, and I were off on one of the longer trips I’d been during exchange. We were to attack 3 cities (and 3 countries) in around 6 days. Actually, we ended up going to 4 cities and countries really, since we made a transfer stop in Milan. We had around 3 hours of transfer time, which now that I think about it, was terrible. Obviously we didn’t leave, since it takes around an hour to get in the city. We literally napped at the airport on these terrible chairs, and it was not a comfortable experience for sure. Cost over comfort. Sad life of a student. Anyways, by around noon, we were able to take our next flight and from Milan, we entered Prague in the Czech Republic. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Prague, but it seemed like a city most exchange students visited. Now that I’m back, I can say that Eastern Europe is quite different from the rest of Europe. I find it very medieval with lots of history and the culture is generally quite different. Oh, and one huge change was the weather. It was freezing during December, and although Vancouver can get to the same temperatures, I guess I was just used to the warm, sunny weather in Spain. By the time we found our way to the hostel and dropped our bags off, it was already pretty dark. We got lost on our way too, so we spent more time than we should’ve. Christmas markets were everywhere in Europe now, and the one in Prague is known to be pretty good! We went to the one in the Old Town Square which is the main market. Just around 5 minutes away, is also Wenceslas Square, which we also checked out.


The Old Town Square was filled with people and a giant Christmas tree stood in the middle. Other than food, crafts, and souvenirs to buy, there was also a performance stage and children were singing carols! It was really cute and the square itself had such Gothic styled buildings that the scenery just looked so much more spectacular.


You MUST get this when you’re in Eastern Europe. It’s called Trdelnik (no idea how you pronounce it) and it’s a traditional Hungarian cake and sweet pastry. We also found  this in the streets and Christmas markets in Prague and my friends had recommended that I try this. For us, we refer to it as the “Chimney Cake”. We smelt the cinnamon smell and immediately went over to purchase one to share between us. It’s pretty interesting how it’s made. Essentially, it’s rolled dough that’s wrapped around and grilled on an open fire while it’s turning. Then, they roll the dough on sugar that’s often mixed with cinnamon or other flavours. They slide the dough off the stick, and it’ll have a hollow hole! It’s extremely fluffy and soft! So addicting with the sugar on the outside. I love how you can just rip pieces off since it’s rolled around continuously. A must try!!!


At the market, there were tons of food I wanted to try, but I had to be careful in selecting since I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish all the food. We ended up sharing some potatoes at this stall that had pans of different seasoned potatoes. This one was Bacon and Potatoes. I liked this one a lot, but I wouldn’t say it was amazing. Plus, I’m sure I could make this at home quite easily. It wasn’t very special, although it seems like a traditional type of food they ate here.


We also got a portion of Potatoes with Sauerkraut and Sausages. This wasn’t as good as the Bacon and Potatoes. The main reason was the sauerkraut. I’m okay with sauerkraut, but I like it when it’s with soup. I can eat it as a side too, but not too much, so I found this overwhelming. Sauerkraut seems to be eaten a lot in Eastern Europe. The other problem was that these potatoes weren’t exactly warm. I’m not sure if it’s because we were in the cold and it cooled down, or just simply because the pans weren’t being heated underneath. Also, be extremely careful with the people selling these potatoes! They sell by weight, and their per pound pricing is pretty cheap, but it adds up. Remember that potatoes are extremely heavy! These people were just scooping as much as they could onto your plate, and unless you say less, they won’t budge. You had to be really persistent on how much you wanted. We ended up still paying quite a lot for just potatoes… Apparently a lot of tourists get scammed by this so be very careful and be clear what you want. Not worth your money in my opinion.


It was getting pretty cold so we hid inside the Kingswood Apple Cider House for a while. It was this wooden lodge in the market and they sold Apple Cider of a few varieties. You could get it with alcohol or without and some other variations. We chose the most typical one that had some alcohol in it. You could barely taste any alcohol, and the sweetness of apple was very apparent. A really good way to warm up!


Then K got hungry again and he decided to try the Old Prague Ham! It was being sold at various stalls and was turning on a rotisserie. This ham is known to be traditional delicacy and basically the grandmother of today’s hams. It’s fully cooked and also smoked. The ham is also boneless although there is often some fat attached to it. It was very tender and I didn’t find it too salty actually! Again, you need to be very careful with stating how much you want to the vendors. Unless you speak their language, they can pretty much assume you’re a tourist and it seems that many vendors have been ripping tourists off by cutting a huge slab of meat, hence a ridiculous price. I think K was pretty careful in telling them how much, so he got a good portion to just try. I’m not saying every vendor will do this, but I did a quick search and many tourists have fallen under this “Prague Ham Scam”. I guess it works for the potatoes and any other food that’s sold by weight. Just watch out so your trip doesn’t get ruined.

All in all, the market was very nice and festive. I just wish the weather wasn’t as cold. We weren’t able to stay out in the cold for long and had to go into souvenir shops and such to warm up. Also, I wasn’t aware that Prague was known for pickpocketing (like how Barcelona is), but my friend did almost get her wallet stolen. The man was reaching in her bag while she was looking at souvenirs at the market, and luckily a woman screamed to my friend to watch out! Such good people out there, but you still need to be careful!

Piroshky Piroshky

Beef & Cheese Piroshky

Off we continue with our Seattle foodie adventure. So after lunch at Thoa’s, we decided to head back to the Pike Place Market to explore. Still full of people, but most of the lineups at the food shops had definitely died down. On our way to Thoa’s, we had actually walked by a bakery. We actually didn’t spot the place originally, but the aroma was so strong that it attracted us to walk closer. And then we knew it was of course a bakery! A bakery named Piroshky Piroshky that had a massive line up too… Since we were starving, we obviously didn’t wait, but luckily, the line had shrunk by the time we got back after lunch! Okay, we were still pretty full to be honest, but hey, this place must have some good stuff with that long line up from before! So we lined up behind the others, excited to try a “piroshky”. So what exactly is a piroshky? I honestly had no idea, and was still pretty clueless after eating it.

We were quite full from lunch, so we decided to just share one piroshky, since they were quite large. So many choices! But a Beef & Cheese Piroshky seemed pretty safe. It was a bun filled with beef, cheese and some spices. The dough was soft and warm, and the filling inside was not overflowing or too little. Just the perfect amount. It actually sort of reminded me of a curry beef bun you can get in Asian bakeries, so I didn’t think it was THAT amazing. Maybe I had just expected much more seeing those line ups. They’re decent, but I didn’t find them too special. Perhaps next time, I would try some of their other unique fillings.

For those of you who want to know more about piroshkys, I went home and googled them up. So they are basically Russian baked goods – usually in the form of a baked stuffed bun. They are usually filled with meat and vegetables, (usually onions), so the meat and cheese piroshky was actually quite close to the traditional piroshkys! Other variations include savory fillings, such as fish, and also sweet fillings, such as apples. These were all offered at the shop as well!

Piroshky Piroshky on Urbanspoon


Iced Tea Infused with Rose Petals

Carpaccio de Chevreuil

Charred venison carpaccio, sesame soba noodle salad, pickled radishes, white soy & red wine reduction, garlic chips

L’omble de l’Artique nicois

Crispy Arctic char, sea asparagus, pea shoots, bacalao, lemon & grana padano concasse, tapanades

Moules Frites Vin Blanc

Mussels, white wine, butter, braised celery & leeks, coarse black pepper

Salted Chocolate Caramel Bar

Lemon Curd, Toasted Meringue, and Shortbread

Alright! Finally have my last post from Dine Out Vancouver 2012 in! I was so excited when I got reservations for Chambar since I’ve been hearing really good things about it! I guess it lived up to the reviews, but then again, I think I went in with too high of an expectation, so I only came out “satisfied”. But nonetheless, very good food! The Ice Tea was actually a special drink that wasn’t on the menu. I wanted an ice tea but they didn’t actually have it on the menu, so the bartender basically mixed up something for me and it was actually really good since it was rose infused! Something I hadn’t had before and pretty cool and of course good! Next, for appies, we got the carpaccio which was very fresh, and the soba noodle with the carpaccio was an interesting complement! It was of course presented very nicely too! The arctic char had a very nice texture and the fish was cooked very well. The sauces, like the olive sauce were kind of weird though. Wasn’t something I preferred. The mussels were pretty good, although they were overloaded with cilantro, and I have to say I dislike cilantro a lot, so it kind of ruined the dish for me. The mussels were really small, but extremely sweet, so that was good. Fries were just okay, nothing too special. Lastly, for desserts we had the caramel bar and lemon meringue. The caramel bar was kind of salty (well it was supposed to be), but I guess it’s just that I don’t extremely like salted chocolate. When you try to break it on the plate, it’s extremely hard and difficult to cut, but when you put it in your mouth, it just melts apart! And the good thing is it doesn’t stick to your teeth! The lemon meringue dessert was probably my favourite dish of the night. It almost tasted like a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. So delicious and you don’t see it on many menus around. Overall, I was quite satisfied with Chambar! For $38 for a 3 course meal, it was definitely worth it. It is quite pricey normally without dine out though, so perhaps I will only go back for a special occasion!

Chambar on Urbanspoon

La Cuisson


La Cuisson is a coffee shop located in Richmond. It offers a variety of cold and hot drinks and is famous for their freshly roasted coffee. As you step in the restaurant, the aroma of coffee will surround you and the small coffee shop has an antique feeling to it. Wooden tables and decor gives the shop a unique feeling. They also offer a variety of snacks, like sandwiches and waffles, as well as desserts, including an assortment of daily homemade cakes.

La Cuisson Coffee Shop on Urbanspoon

Fleuri (Sutton)

I am finally back on tumblr! Sorry for disappearing for a few weeks. Exams suck, that’s all I can say.

On the bright side, here are some pictures of chocolaty desserts for all you chocoholics out there. These are from the Sutton Place Hotel Chocoholic Buffet at Burrad in Vancouver. It is an all you can eat chocolate buffet and includes a variety of luscious cakes, pastries and pies, exquisite sorbets and ice creams. It’s $28 for adults and is offered every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 6:00pm – 8:30pm or 8:30pm – 10:00pm. Definitely a must try for you chocoholics! So delicious and chocolaty!

Fleuri on Urbanspoon