The Tunnels, Book Review

~K~

So a little while ago, we decided to try out this cool thing that Briana found called Blogging For Books. It’s pretty simple, they send you a book for free and then you just have to write a review about it and post it on their site and as a post on your blog.

The first book I chose was “The Tunnels” by Greg Mitchell. I was in no way required to give a good review, simply an honest review. So here we go.

The Tunnels brings to face the harrowing conditions and turmoil that Berlin faced through the height of the cold war. The stories of the individuals, brought to light by the investigative work of Greg Mitchell, highlights the heroics of the ordinary people who braved ever heightening tensions to bring friends, family, and loved ones out of the control of Soviet controlled East Berlin.

The narrative paints a picture of struggle and conflict simmering to a boil. Through the real life accounts of prison, torture, death, and murder – Mitchell keeps the focus squarely on those who orchestrated the tunnel projects under the Berlin Wall and the political developments that brought about the predicament.

The book also serves as an eerily relevant critique of immigration, as a political tool to control and deny people the basic rights of life. In a time when discussion of a new wall being erected sounds out on the news stations, this book serves as a chilling, thrilling, and informative read that stands to not only commemorate those who worked, fought, and died for others, but also as a warning to look at our current day situation.

Bcharre

Lebanon Travel Videos

~B~

I tried making a Lebanon travel video but it didn’t feel right so I made the Bcharre and Beirut videos separate. I did not add music to these videos because 1) they are short and 2) it’s always a struggle so I just avoided spending the time on it this time. The videos can also only be monetized (not that we make more than a penny like every few months) if they don’t have copyrighted music so there’s that too. I used the original sound (mostly) for the Bcharre video and no sound for the Beirut video. I would have used sound but I didn’t decide that was a good idea until I began making the Bcharre video (I made the Beirut one first). The Beirut video is also very shaky, practically hurts my head, but we didn’t have much stable footage (you should see how much I don’t include at all each time- we need to use tripods more) and I can’t stabilize video which has been sped up. Kyle recently told me I could pre-render and add stabilization, but I am not completely thrilled with the stabilization tools anyway. Even if I tell them only stabilize- don’t stabilize and crop- they still often do crop! Well, whatever. I’ll work on it. Here are the videos for now.

Additionally, you may remember that the last specific-area video I did was in SE Asia (Bali, Kl, plus bits of others combined) so sequentially Sri Lanka should be next, but Kyle claimed it long ago. I’m sure he’ll do it eventually. The next videos will be Cyprus, Belgrade, and Budapest.

neolithic settlement at choirokoitia cyprus

Choirokoitia Neolithic Site, Cyprus

~K~

Cyprus is home to several prehistoric sites across the island, with Choirokoitia being one of the largest, and best preserved sites. It also just so happened to be pretty easily accessible. It lies just off the highway about halfway between Limassol and Larnaka and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hill top at Choirokoitia

We made our way out to the site during the time that Briana’s dad was visiting us. Just like our other adventures out to Tomb of the Kings and Kurion, this would also turn into a hike. 

Being the middle of summer, it was really hot out probably somewhere in the mid to upper 90s so we made sure to bring a fair amount of water and we put on a little sunscreen. The site, like much of the island, is very dry, on the verge of being desert.

Cyprus Thistle

Upon arrival, we saw that the site was very well maintained with a visitor entrance, bathrooms, plaques, and some stone pavement. Entrance to the park cost 2.50 Euro per person, so it was not too bad a price.

Entrance
Entry Path

The site lies at one end of a longer hiking trail that will take you to several neolithic sites including the Kalavasos-Tenta (another site you can see off of the highway) and the Byzantine church of the Panagia tou Kambou. However, considering the heat of the day and the fact that the hiking trail was several miles in length, we elected to just see the Choirokoitia site.

This worked out perfectly anyways as we still were able to explore the site itself for around two hours at a leisurely pace. The entire site makes its way around a hill, with several smaller sections to view. Near the entrance, manicured paths take you to various plaques that describe how the aboriginals of Choirokoitia lived on the land as well as about the wildlife, climate, and habitat of the region.

Fig at Choirokoitia
Building at Choirokoitia

There are also several brick and plaster buildings that have been preserved and restored that you can view. These buildings show how family units would have lived, with each building serving as a room, arranged in a circular pattern forming a larger familial structure.

Restored Village
Interior of Restored Village

Moving on from here, the path turns more to a worn dirt trail and makes its way around the bend, overlooking what used to be a river. It could still be river, but it was hard to see if there was any water considering the drought. Regardless, in ancient times, the settlement existed due to it’s location next to the Maroni River.

Hillside

Along this section we found the remains of ancient walls and early settlements. It is believed however, that this particular site was later abandoned in favor of a location further up the hill by a few hundred feet.

Archaeological Trail
Wall at Choirokoitia

When we arrived the larger location we were struck by the enormity of the site. Numerous stone alleyways, rooms, and buildings stood embedded into the hillside. For preservation purposes, we were not allowed to go into the ruins themselves (which were covered by a tarp to protect from the harsh sun), but elevated walkways and ramps provided for ample viewing of the archaeological dig.

Upper Village Choirokoitia

The structure itself feels small due to the fact that the people of Choirokoitia were between 4’11” and 5’3”. The 300 to 600 inhabitants only lived to 35 years on average.

For reasons unknown, the people of Choirokoitia abruptly abandoned the village around 6000 BCE. The region was not inhabited again for another 1500 years. Recent evidence in Limassol has pointed though, to the theory that the people simply moved further west – mostly likely in response to climate pressures. 

Looking at the Restored village

At the top of the village there is a viewing platform that provides for a great view of the surrounding hills and valley.

All in all the site of Choirokoitia is a great place to see. It’s a little off the beaten tourist path that you’ll encounter near Pafos, but it’s no less amazing. If you want to visit, it is open daily from 8.00 – 17.00.

Neolithic Cave at Choirokoitia

Hungarian National Museum

~K~

Half way through our stay in Budapest, we decided that we were going to visit the Hungarian National Museum. The cost of Budapest tested our budget, so we tried to go on the national holiday, during which time the museums were free. We had first gone to the House Of Terror and expected to follow up with the National Museum, but we had severely underestimated how tired we would be from all the walking and just how much time we could spend at the House of Terror.

With time flying by, we decided that we needed to see the museum. We regretted not seeing the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, so with a little insistence and determination we got up and began the walk to the museum.

It was a pretty brisk day as we made our way. We set off just after lunch, covered up in our winter gear. The walk from our AirBNB took about thirty minutes, but the time passed quickly as we made our way down the busy roads.

HungarianMuseum_2

Entering the grounds, we were greeted by a large columned facade sitting atop a wide staircase. The building was reminiscent of a Greek or Roman temple. The museum was first created in 1802 and initially set up as the National Széchényi Library. In 1807 it became the museum and the Hungarian Parliament donated to the institution multiple times. In 1846, the museum relocated to its current location.

Briana on Steps of Hungarian Museum

Entering the building, we came into a large marble room. Here we purchased the tickets to the museum for 1,600 HUF (~$5.50) each. Because of the cold weather, we had obviously had our jackets on and were directed down to the basement to store our coats and backpack. The coat storage was pretty straight forward, and gave us a great place to begin our exploration of the museum.

The museum has a huge collection of gravestones dating all the way back to Roman times through to the Modern era. We went around the large basement room, checking out the headstones and stone carvings. In the center of the room was a very large tile mosaic.

Headstone
Kyle Near Tombstones
Large Mosaic

After the basement, we proceeded up to the main floor. Here we were able to learn about the paleolithic and early history of Hungary and the surrounding region. There was a heavy emphasis on the iron age and early migration of the Magyar people. I found it pretty interesting, and the museum presented the information very well. 

Bones at Hungarian Museum

Once we finished this hall, we visited the other hall on this floor. It was very interesting and started to get into the medieval history. So here we got to see more exquisite artifacts such as swords, royal jewelry, armor and other such things. We also got to see the influence of east Asian migrations. While it never occurred to me initially, it actually makes a lot of sense considering Hungary’s location on the continent that it would receive a fair amount of migration.

Ancient artifacts

The exhibition halls are very large and takes a pretty good while to get through. Once finishing the main floor, we proceeded up a grand staircase to the second floor. The ceiling of the staircase was painted with intricate murals.

Hungarian Museum Grand Stair

The second floor was even more interesting than the first floor, and it really had some interesting items. There were several rooms and halls on the floor to check out. We didn’t pay to see the special, temporary exhibition, but we did see the other halls.

Museum Hall
Portrait of a Noblewoman

These halls covered the more modern events of Hungary, particularly the Communist uprising and subsequent fall. The Terror Museum covered this far more in depth, but it was nice to have multiple perspectives and sources on such an important event in Hungarian history.

With tired feet, we made our way out and down the front steps of the museum. By this time, the sun had set and rain had begun to fall. We pulled out only remaining umbrella and set out to further explore the city.

To visit the museum, you can find it located at:

Budapest, Múzeum krt. 14-16, 1088 Hungary

It’s hours are: Tuesday through Sunday 10am – 6pm.

Kyle and Briana outside of Hungarian National Museum

Hike in the South Bay

Santa Teresa County Park Hike

~B~

Yesterday we went on a short hike in Santa Teresa County Park. Santa Teresa is only about fifteen minutes away from our place making it an ideal spot to hike. In the winter it’s nice and green, and this year it is especially so with all the rain we’ve been getting. Kyle gets home from work pretty early and with the sun beginning to set later, we are able to go on short weekday hikes if we want. It helps a little with curbing our wanderlust and gives us some exercise and fresh air.

Here is short video just for fun.

The main reason I took/made a video this time was for some fun experimentation. I knew this would be a good place because we had already been there and it’s both a nice backdrop and not very crowded (I assumed this would especially be true during the week).

If you want to see more hikes in our area, check out our South Bay Hikes post (though it hasn’t been updated in over a year!- we’ll get on that soon) or see our North and Central America page for even more hiking posts from the bay area.

Nikola Tesla Museum, Belgrade Serbia

~K~

It won’t take you very long to realize that Serbia takes great pride in it’s citizens. They’ve produced many great names, but there is one in particular that seems to stand a little above the rest – Nikola Tesla.

Bust of Nikola Tesla

One of the great engineers, physicists, and futurists in human history, Tesla has become beloved by the Serbian people. They love him so much they even stuck his face on the 100 Dinar bill (he was also featured on the 5 and 5,000,000 Yugoslavian Dinar bill). The airport in Belgrade is the Nikola Tesla Airport. Today, he is a little less known in America due to Thomas Edison stealing the limelight, but he’s no less important or relevant than he’s ever been. His name has been attached the electric car company “Tesla” in his honor.

In the heart of Belgrade, you can find the Nikola Tesla Museum. The museum was founded on December 5, 1952 with effort from Tesla’s nephew Sava Kosanovic. The museum resides in a residential villa that was built in 1927 according to the designs of distinguished Serbian architect Dragisa Brasovan.

Museum Entrance

The museum is divided into two key exhibits: a memorial exhibit and an interactive one. Upon entering the museum, you will find yourself in the main hall of the house where you can purchase your tickets for 500 Dinar (~$2.50).

When we entered, we had about twenty minutes until the guided tour would begin. While we waited for the tour to begin, we took our time exploring the memorial exhibit. The majority of this section was comprised of his personal belongings as well as his urn.

Urn Of Nikola Tesla

There was not a tremendous amount of information here, though there were a few interesting plaques. Most of it was simply his possessions and a few journal writings and the such.

Personal Items Collection

Tesla Museum Plaque
Tesla Museum Plaque

The real interesting part was the interactive tour. The tours run in both English and Serbian. It begins with an informative video presentation about Tesla’s life. It’s really pretty interesting, starting with his early life and working through his professional life. It briefly covers the most important Tesla’s 300+ patents, and spent a great deal of time detailing his work on wireless power and his Colorado Springs project.

Model of Colorado Springs Facility

He spent much of his time in the United States, working for Thomas Edison. Later, he worked on a wireless transmission tower, but when found out by his financier JP Morgan that he intended to provide free energy, his efforts were shut down. Many of his efforts did come to fruition though, such as the development of AC electrical generators and the building of the Niagara Falls power.

After the video, a tour guide went into further detail about some of the details mentioned in the video. As well, they demonstrated some of his inventions such as wireless transmission of energy.

Motor
Wireless Energy
Lightning Plate

The most interesting – and entertaining – was the demonstrations with the Tesla coil. It could shoot over 1,000,000 volts of electricity, but it was turned down to create cool little lightning bolts to shock people with.

Tesla Coil

The tour ended after about 45 minutes. The museum while a little on the small side, packs a nice punch and makes for a great short activity.

Invention Exhibit
Briana In Tesla Museum
Kyle In Tesla Museum

You can find it at Krunska 51, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia.
Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00

Nikola Tesla Museum Belgrade Serbia, Tesla Coil Lightning

Budapest Desserts

Desserts We Tried in Budapest!

~B~

When I first saw Kevin and Amanda’s popular post: Everything I Ate in Budapest!, I showed it to Kyle and we used the article, along with several others, to get some ideas about different foods we wanted to try in Budapest. Because we found it useful and have made similar type posts in the past, I decided to try something like it with the desserts we tried in Budapest!

If you know me, you know I love my sweets, and Budapest did not disappoint. There are many markets, bakeries, cafes and so on where you can find various types of sweets. I included coffee in this post because the few cups we tried out were pretty dessert-esque. We were in Budapest for nearly a month and a half so we had time to try a few spots. Like most other places, we also didn’t have an oven (for baking) which made it necessary to find items to satisfy our (mostly my) sweet tooth. With as many sweets as we did eat, there were plenty of great places (or, at least, places with great reputations) that we didn’t make it to during our time in Hungary. Feel free to make a comment if there was another place you loved in Budapest!

Budapest Desserts

Onto the sweets!

Chimney Cakes (Kürtőskalács) from a stand
Chimney Cake
Chimney Cake at Christmas Market
Once you take in the scent of this sweet dough roasting, you will find it necessary to try some! I first saw chimney cakes at a mall in Kuala Lumpur (so much international food there!) back in January of last year. We considered getting one, but we had already eaten and they cost a little too much for us at the time. Unfortunately, when we returned to KL in May, we found the place was no longer there. Budapest was already high on our list, though, and I figured we would get it there- and we did. Depending on where you go, you can find different flavors like cinnamon, walnut, and coconut.

Where to find it: We saw many stalls roasting and selling them at the Christmas markets, as well as a few others throughout the city. If you do a lot of exploring you’ll probably come across one. We ate at a random stand near a train station.

Cost: Prices vary widely, but I think the more permanent stalls tend to run cheaper. We found some for 350forint ($1.21) but we saw them going for around $10 other places. They will especially run high at the Christmas markets, but Christmas markets and chimney cakes are a pretty great combination! You will also find that some of the variation in price is due to size. Different stands may have different sized chimney cakes.

If you want to learn more about chimney cakes and better specifics on prices and where to find them, check out The Best Winter Treat in Budapest on the We Love Budapest site. We used this site quite a bit during our time there. Additionally, we didn’t go here, but this place looks delicious and highly rated and I have seen other bloggers mention it.

Ice Cream-Filled Chimney Cakes at Street Cakes
streetcakesKyle with Street Cakes
Now, take that chimney cake, choose your preferred flavor, cover the inside with nutella, and add ice cream and toppings. During one of our first days in Budapest we were out walking down Andrassy street and saw a few people eating these treats. At this point we hadn’t had chimney cakes at all. I knew I had to try one!

The shop is small and might be easy to miss if you don’t notice anyone eating ice cream outside. I wondered why the place wasn’t better known yet- it’s probably because it’s new. You can also add all kinds of toppings like fruit and chocolate bar pieces, cookies, candies, etc. but we just stuck to the basics because we weren’t sure how much it would cost. If you’re curious about the pumpkin decoration- we got these in late October. I assume they might add cute decorative toppings for other holidays as well.

How it works: First you choose a flavor for the chimney cake, then decide if you want Nutella, jam, or whipped cream spread on the inside, choose your ice cream, pick your toppings, and add sauce (chocolate, caramel, etc.) if you want. When we visited, the only ice cream flavor options they presented to us were chocolate, vanilla, or swirl soft-serve but I think I’ve seen pictures with a pink strawberry-looking ice cream online. They have savoury options and drinks as well. P.S. I loved the cinnamon flavor for the chimney cake.

Where to find it: Budapest, Andrássy út 61, 1062 Hungary.

Cost: It will vary depending on your choices, but it cost us $6.94 (~$3.47 each) for chimney cake + ice cream + Nutella in one.

Website: Here is the Street Cakes Facebook page.

Also to consider if you’re interested: Later on in Budapest we were walking around and found this other place that looked amazing- chimney cakes filled with all kinds of other things- I think pudding, whipped cream, etc. (hey! we couldn’t try everything) so if you are on the lookout you may find other places which offer interesting twists on the chimney cakes.

Cake at Ruszwurm Cukrászda
Chocolate Cake Ruzsworm
Caramel Cake BudapestCakes in BudapestAt RuzswormInside the old pastry shop
Located in the Castle District close to many attractions, this pastry shop is known for being one of the oldest in Budapest (from 1827). Therefore it’s extremely popular and likely the most famous pastry shop in Budapest. If any blogger/traveler, etc. has one dessert recommendation, aside from chimney cakes, it’s typically this shop. You can sit inside or outside. We sat outside because it was all that was available at the time and, for November, it was a really nice day! You can also get drinks here- from alcohol to coffee. Though I thought we ought to just share a piece, Kyle didn’t have to twist my arm to convince me we should each get our own slice. The chocolate piece was very rich, almost like fudge, and the caramel cake had a nice flavor and creaminess to it. Let’s just say they’ve been around nearly 200 years for a reason.

Where to find it: 1014 Budapest, Hungary Szentháromság u. 7.

Cost: A slice is somewhere around $1.50-$3. It cost us 1245 forint (~$4.42) for the two pieces you see above. I believe drinks cost more but we didn’t get them. Small water cups came with our cake.

Website: The Ruszwurm Cukraszda website includes more information about the origins of the shop.

Tip: If you’re looking to get the cake that any person/blog/website always shows for Ruszwurm Cukraszda, it’s called “Cream Cake” (perhaps the “Traditional Cream Cake” or something along those lines). I originally thought I would get this slice but the menu has no pictures so it’s difficult to discern the appearance of a given piece simply from its menu description. The servers also tend to be busy due to the place being so popular.

So now you know about that cake but if you are looking for another particular slice, or want to be prepared, just scroll through the pics on TripAdvisor– many visitors label their cakes. Additionally, though I didn’t realize it, at first, you actually can go inside and look at some of the cakes on display (though you might have to navigate a small crowd for a peek). I was actually a bit more in the mood for chocolate anyway when we visited so it was fine. In the end we both had absolutely delicious desserts so I really don’t think you could go wrong with anything here, but it’s information to keep in mind.

Ice Cream at Gelarto Rosa
GelartoRosaMe with Rose Ice CreamGelarto Rosa ShopFunnyA Rose
Rose-shaped ice cream. Pretty + sweet = pretty sweet, right? Interestingly enough, this was not the first time we found rose ice cream. We first tried such a treat in Seoul at a place called Milky Bee. We both love ice cream and it’s such a fun idea. I don’t always expect things which look so pretty to taste amazing but this ice cream was GOOD. If I’m going to be honest, the rose ice cream was a tad bit better in Budapest than Korea. If nothing else, they certainly had the advantage of more decent flavor options. You can choose either two or three flavors. I think I chose pistachio, sour cherry, and lavender white chocolate and Kyle chose mango and strawberry. They serve other desserts and drinks as well.

Where to find it: Budapest, Szent István tér 3, 1051 Hungary (near St. Stephen’s Basilica).

Cost: ~$2.35/piece. It cost us $4.69 for two ice creams- one with two flavors and the other with three.

Website: Gelarto Rosa

Gelato at Fragola
Fragola Nut Ice Cream
Fragola againKyle's ice cream at the top
FragolaGelato
One night we were craving ice cream so I did some research to find the best option factoring in cost and distance from our location. It was Fragola. I tried strawberry cheesecake ice cream and it was the last bit of it for the night so the woman really filled my cone. Kyle ordered a nut ice cream. Both were good. We visited a different location while out another night something and I got lemon and Kyle got something with chocolate in it. The ingredients are Italian and they don’t use any artificial flavors which is nice (I believe both of those statements are true about Gelarto Rosa as well). Flavors include white chocolate, gorgonzola, caramel, chestnut mascarpone, and more.

Where to find it: There are several locations throughout the city. You can find the various addresses on their Facebook page. Also see the Fragola website.

Cost: 280-300 Forint, or ~$1. It cost us 560forint (~$2) for two ice creams. The second time it was a little more because we opted for waffle cones over cake cones.

Shake at Sweetheart Milkshakes
Sweetheart WafflesSalted Caramel Ice Cream
This was a pretty cute little place. We decided to share the Salted Caramel Pretzel Shake but they have waffles and regular food as well. It was a little more salty than I preferred but it was still good and Kyle was fine with the saltiness level.

Where to find it: Budapest, Wesselényi u. 18, 1077 Hungary

Cost: The item we got cost ~$3.49. Most of the other items were more expensive which is why we elected to just share the one item.

Website: Sweetheart’s Facebook page.

Crepe (Gundel Pancake) at Frici Papa
Crepe at Frici Papa BudapestFrici Papa Restaurant
I came across Frici Papa when I was scouring small blogs for interesting/different things to do and try in Budapest. Kyle had mentioned that one of the dishes he most wanted to try in Budapest (there were a few) was the chicken paprikash. A particular blogger (sorry, no longer remember where I found it) raved over this dish there and it was reasonably priced so we decided we would give it a shot one day. The restaurant actually has pretty good prices. I was a little bit more in the mood for sweets at the time so I chose to get a crepe. Yum! It was very different from other crepes I’ve tried. Re-examining the menu I noticed it was actually called a “Gundel Pancake” which is a type of Hungarian crepe. You can find the menu here. My crepe was so good. The inside was filled with a sweet cheese and the outside was covered in yoghurt and chocolate (or so it seemed). It was pretty filling too.

Where to find it: Budapest, Király u. 55, 1077 Hungary

Cost: Our whole meal cost 1500 forint ($5.34). My crepe specifically was 539 forint ($1.86).

Website: http://www.fricipapa.hu/eng/

Honey Gingerbread Cream Dessert from Panineria
Gingerbread dessertPanineria
It was our last night in Budapest and we were hungry. We thought about our options and decided on Panineria which we had passed quite a few times, but hadn’t yet tried. We ordered sandwiches (we’ll talk about them in another post) but I was thinking I might want a dessert after since we had none left at home. Though I couldn’t find the menu online, I believe it was “mézes puszedli pohar kremIt” which translates as “macaroon cream cup honey”.  It was basically cream with little gingerbread (that’s what it tasted like to me) pieces with honey and, as good as it looks and sounds, it tasted even better.

Where to find it: Oktogon tér 4., Budapest, Hungary

Cost: The total cost for two large sandwiches and the dessert was $8.95. I don’t recall the specific cost of the dessert but I believe it was somewhere around $1-$2.

Website: They don’t have a website but they are right next to a place called Made in Pasta and I think they might be run by the same people.

Donut from The Donut Library
Oreo donutdonut library budapestDonut LibraryThe Donut Library
We went here late one evening after trying to go to the Pinball Museum (unfortunately it was closed at the time). Because it was evening, there weren’t many donuts left so we just chose one to split. For the same reason (I assume), the donut was a little on the dry side. We chose an oreo donut which was good, but I’ve had better. Maybe try them in the morning. They are supposed to have really cool flavors. Either way, the place was cute and cozy.

Where to find it: There are three addresses: Pozsonyi út 22. XIII. kerület; Karinthy Frigyes út 18. XI. kerület; Károly krt 7. VII. kerület

Cost: Our donut cost 360 forint ($1.24) but some donuts cost more.

Websitehttp://www.thedonutlibrary.com/

Waffle from Habros Goffri Waffle
Habos Waffles
Habros Gofri WaffleHabos Gofri Sign
We came across this place one rainy night on our way somewhere. I thought it looked good and after I checked out the prices I thought it looked even better. We just got one because Kyle wasn’t much in the mood for sweets but it took a little to decide- there were so many spread options like cherry chocolate pudding, peanut butter, and apricot jam. I chose the chestnut cream spread because it seemed fitting for the night and weather. It was good. Overall: good taste, lots of flavor options, and a price you can’t beat.

Where to find itFerenciek tere 4. Budapest, Hungary (near Ferenciek square)

Cost: 200Forint ($0.69) waffle one topping

Website: https://www.facebook.com/HabosGofri/

Strudel from a stand in front of Oktogon Bistro
StrudelOktogon Bistro
We were walking home one day and this lady was selling all these, strudels (I think) in front of a restaurant. She looked hopeful that someone would buy them and I knew we didn’t have any candy bars at home at the time so I decided to give them a look. I hadn’t tried something exactly like it so I opted to give it a shot. I am not sure exactly what kind of fruit filling I chose but it was decent. The only downside was that there were some really hard pieces (like pits) inside as well. I assume that would not be true of all of them.

Where to find it: Though I’m not positive if it was associated with the restaurant, there are several locations, including Budapest, Teréz krt. 23, 1067 Hungary

Cost: Less than a dollar.

Website: http://www.gastlandbisztrok.hu/

Tiramisu Coffee at Lira Pont 
Tiramisu CoffeeEnjoying coffee at Lira Pont
Lira Pont was literally just across the street from us. We passed it constantly on our way across Hunyadi Park to get to the market and our host’s girlfriend recommended it to us while she was over one time. One late morning we decided we were in the mood for some nice coffee and walked over after getting through some work. It’s a cute, pleasant place and our choice (tiramisu coffee) was definitely a good one. It had a great flavor. Lira Pont also offers sandwiches and many other drink choices. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, but on that particular November day we thought inside was best.

Where to find it: Hunyadi ter 5, Budapest, Hungary, 1067

Cost: Varies. It cost 750 forint ($2.58) for the drink we shared.

Website: Lira Pont Facebook page

Cat-puccino at the Budapest Cat Cafe 
At the Budapest Cat CafeCoffee at Cat CafeCat-puccino
Everywhere we go, I check to see if the city has a cat cafe. If they do, we try it. There are actually two cat cafes in Budapest but we decided one would be fine. I couldn’t resist getting the cat-puccino (how cute!) but Kyle got something different. They were both good but Kyle’s drink (sorry, don’t remember the name) was really good.

Where to find it: Damjanich utca 38, Budapest 1071, Hungary (The Jewish Quarter) 

Cost: It cost us 1600forint (~$5.79) for both drinks and the privilege to spend time at the cafe.

Website: http://catcafebudapest.hu/

Cake from Hunyadi Square Market
Market Cake
Delicious cakeCake from the Market
I’m sure you could find similar desserts at any of the markets, but Hunyadi was the closest market to us. I had to get what slightly resembled the cream cake I wanted at Ruszwurm, but the slice of cake I had another time (see below) was even better.

Where to find it: Budapest, Hunyadi tér 4, 1067 Hungary (or any other market)

Cost: The options will range from less than a dollar to a couple dollars. Mine were both at the lower end of that range.

Desserts from Grocery Store Bakeries
Pastry from the Store
Great Pastry from the StoreCake
Cake from the storeJam-filled Donut
We tried many grocery store bakery desserts because we could just pick one or two up anytime we went to the store. Kyle’s favorite pastry which he seemed to get most times is the first one you see above. Each grocery store has a slightly different selection and we shopped at like ten different grocery stores but most of the treats came from a Roni ABC. We always picked them up with other groceries so I can’t say the exact prices but like most other things, they were pretty affordable.

Candy Bars from Grocery Stores 
Candy bar puzzle
Cream FudgeChristmas Bar
We could have made an entire post reviewing candy bars but we didn’t try anything weird or outrageous and we also didn’t take the time to review them so they will just go here. We found many of the same candy bars we liked so much in Serbia and then some others. The seasonal options were a special treat. There were many great flavors available including bars filled with raspberry and strawberry, caramel, etc. Yum! You can find different candy bars at any grocery or convenience store.

Honorable Mentions

Mulled Wine
Mulled WineMulled wine CF
Does this count? Because it is sweet and amazing. It is perfect for walking around the Christmas markets.

Burger King
Burger King
After deciding the New York Cafe was too posh for us we searched for several ice cream places only to find them closed (it was late at night). So we went to Burger King.

Muffin from Unknown
Muffin
I don’t remember where I got this muffin. It was not the best muffin.

We also saw into both the New York Cafe (known as the “most beautiful cafe in the world”), and the Alexandra Book Cafe and both were stunning. When we passed by we never felt that we were dressed well enough and, especially for the New York Cafe, the prices were on the high side but if you can manage I would recommend either of them just for the experience of dining in such an extravagant place.

Cake sign

If you want to see similar posts, check out Yogyakarta Sweets,  Sweets and Bakeries in Hanoi, or our Korean Ice Cream Reviews.

Seoul In 60 Seconds

~K~

With my new job keeping us squarely in California for the moment, I have been getting a little more experience in doing some video editing.  I know we haven’t put up as many posts lately, we’ve just been busy is all, but I have taken the time to make a cool video presentation about one of our favorite cities: Seoul, South Korea.

I hope you enjoy, and if you all like this, I’ll make more of these for some of our other locations we’ve visited.

 

budapest pinball museum hand shot

Budapest Pinball Museum

~K~

“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball. From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all. But I ain’t seen nothing like him, in any amusement hall. That deaf, dumb, blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!”

Okay, not really. I rarely ever got the chance to play real pinball machines, but I always did enjoy the few opportunities I got. More often, I played the pinball games that used to come for free on old Windows computers.

Pinball board

So when I found out that Budapest was home to Europe’s largest pinball museum, I decided that it was a must do activity. Briana wasn’t convinced at first, but it only took a little goading before she was ready to go as well.

Pinball Machine

We decided to put it off until towards the end of our stay. We decided that we wanted to do this later on because it was an indoor activity and it would not be affected by cold weather or rain. This way, we could do our outdoor activities while the weather was more amiable.

As the last few weeks approached, we finally elected to make our way to play the machines. We built it into a trip that stopped by a local mall before arriving to the museum. The mall was pretty large, but the food was lacking in vegetarian options for Briana, so we ended up leaving a little disappointed but ready for the games.

The pinball museum wasn’t too much further, in fact just about a kilometer down the road from the mall. Upon arriving though, we discovered along with some kids that the museum was closed. The sign on the door stated that it was closed for a local convention that was currently under way and would not be reopened for another few days.

Museum Street Entrance

Disgruntled, we proceeded on to grab a donut, walk along the waterfront of the Danube and look at the city lights. We would not give up though. We were determined to make it, and would not be put off from visiting.

We made another attempt about a week later. Initially, we were going to attempt a day or so earlier to that, but I was hit with a nasty case of Noravirus (to the best of my knowledge), so we had to put it off until I was physically capable of moving. After partially recovering, we made our way to visit the museum, which was open this time.

Museum Entrance

We came to the front door, and descended down the steps to the basement of the building where the museum was located. Immediately, the sound of bells, whistles, and electronic buzzers filled the air as we made our way to the front desk. We purchased our tickets to the museum for HUF 2500 (~$8) each. The tickets have gone up since we visited however – as of January 1st, 2017. This seems to be the case across Budapest, regardless it is still pretty cheap as far as similar game halls go.

Pinball Panorama

The tickets allow you free reign of the numerous pinball machines and games that range from the early 1900s to now. The machines are free to play and you can just play all you want. We made our way through each room playing a good majority of the machines. It was really awesome, because there was so much variety. The difficulty level changed dramatically across them, so if you lost quickly on one, you didn’t feel like you wasted your money, because it was free and you could just go to an easier one.

Kyle Pinball 1
Briana Pinball 1
Briana Pinball 5

But there weren’t just pinball machines, although that was the primary game available. There were also other arcade games, the names of which I couldn’t tell you, but were just as fun to play. There were even a few older games such as the original Mortal Kombat.

Briana Playing Shooting Game
Bowling Game

While there were plenty of kids there, and it was geared towards kids – anyone of any age would have fun there. We spent several hours playing before we decided it was time to go. We could have spent longer if we’d wished, but we were starting to get a little tired – I was still a little weak from my previous sickness. All in all, a very successful and fun outing.

Game Room
Us At The Museum

If you’re in Budapest for any lengthy duration and you want an activity away from the sightseeing, you should absolutely check out the pinball museum. It’s a great evening activity, as it’s open late:

Wed to Fri: 16:00 – 0:00

Sat: 14:00 – 0:00

Sun 10:00 – 22:00

You can visit at

Radnóti Miklós utca 18.

1137, Budapest, Hungary

3000 HUF, 2500 HUF for ages under 26 or over 62