Monday, November 10, 2014

Budapest, Hungary

Ready to come along on our next stop?
After Prague, we hopped on over to Budapest, Hungary. 
Budapest is extremely different than Prague. Much more metropolitan than Prague. Much more of a hustle and bustle city with an old world charm amongst modern life.
But still a beautiful city.
New city, new hotel, new bar:
Same spirit ;)
And a new one:
(If you have tried Everclear, then you have tired Palinka) 
Pretty, but blah!
Loved having this feature right outside our hotel!

This is what a coffee house looks like in Budapest:
Wish the "coffee houses" in the US had these:

It was decided to add some sophistication to our repertoire and attend an opera.
I am not going to lie, I was out voted.
And I am not going to deny falling asleep.
 We weren't quite prepared for a "fancy" evening out. 
I am pretty surewe were the only ones wearing jeans. 
Way to represent the Americans :)

Let's move on to food:
And again, street food rules!
 New country, but we found our "Trinkle-dinks" (Trdlnek)!
And these were trickle-dinks on steroids!

Now, for the coolest and by the far the most unique bar ever.
Our tour guide told us it was a hot spot. And she was totally right.
A line for days to get in. I haven't stood in a line to get in a bar in a very long time!
She also described it as a "ruins" bar.
Apparently, "ruins" translates into "hang anything and everything everywhere and anywhere."
Crap everywhere!

Pretty scenes:

An absolute must visit:
Szechenyi Bath
(thermal bath house)
These natural spring waters are amazingly warmed by Mother Nature.

And what's a little vacation without some spear throwing?
Not bad, Mr. Hall.
Sharp enough Marc?
 Or maybe not? lol

Farewell Budapest! Thanks for the fun!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Minestrone Soup

Although the weather does not agree, it's been in the high 70's in Santa Barbara, the calendar says it's fall.  I love fall. But since I can't get the fall weather, 
I can still have the fall foods. Luckily the evenings do feel fall-ish.
What comes to mind? SOUP!
There is nothing like pjs and soup.
 I would say this has been kid tested and mother approved!
 Make this ASAP!

Recipe taken directly from Mama Miss. For more yummy soup recipes come visit my Pinterest board!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Navigating with David & Marc

Between David & Marc, I am pretty sure they used about 10 maps each this entire trip. But like the same map. Every day they would grab a new, but yet the same, map. 
This is the look Jenny and I are so familiar with now:

Marc doesn't look too convincing of David's thought. lol

Gotta love these guys. 
After all they did get us to where we needed to go. Eventually. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Welcome to Prague

Darling Hubby and I took a little whirlwind trip to Europe. Ten days of just being adults...well okay, more like 10 days without kids yet acting like "young"and carefree kids. We shared this adventure with our friends, Marc and Jenny. This is key people...It is very important to have traveling companions you get along with and have the same interests!! Marc and Jenny are awesome to travel alongside. Holland and Sweden was everyone's first tryout. I am already looking forward to European excursion #3! Hold on tight and get ready for pictures galore. 

First stop, Prague.

I don't have any flight pics to share. Why? Because I hate to fly and I was out for the count. By the Grace of GOD, I woke up in Frankfurt, Germany and managed to stumble walk off the plane and get my mimosa fix. Thank you United/Lufthansa lounge.

Welcome to The Hotel Augustine

By nature, I am not a breakfast eater. I never have been, I never will be. I don't practice what I preach to my kids. But when in Europe, I always eat breakfast. The spread is always beautiful and fresh, I can't resist. Fresh fruit, juices, grains, meats and cheeses (a total norm and staple for morning time), lox, eggs to order...I could go on and on. 

And check out this fresh honeycomb! Such a gorgeous display and totally edible. The best honey I have ever had in my life. Swear! And see the metal funnel-like apparatus? As the honey melts it drips into this funnel and into the bowl below. Presentation is everything!

The best part of this trip? Our 25 mile bike ride through the countryside of Prague. We hired a tour guide from Biko Adventures and biked our way to Karlstejn castle. Considering our last bike ride in Europe (Holland) was 40 miles, unguided, this seemed like a piece of cake! The ride usually takes 4-5 hours of riding. But seeing how we were all so super fit (okay, active) it only took us about 3 hours. We took the train back to town. Jenny suggested maybe we ride back. And I wish I had a picture of our guide's facial expression. I don't think he has ever been posed that idea. 

The morning started out SUPER COLD. I was not prepared. My hands were FREEZING! Our gentleman of a tour guide (darn it I can't remember his name) gave his gloves to Jenny & me. So we each had one. Kind of Michael Jackson-ish. Thank goodness the sun broke through. Just in time for our first "water" break. Yes, that is wine amongst the beers. :)

Welcome to Karlstejn Castle. And we got really lucky because there happened to be a beer and wine festival that day. Lots of activities going on and traditional display. 
I was super happy to get off that bike seat and take in the sights on foot.

A festival with beer, wine, and eats? Count us in! I don't consider myself a huge meat eater. But when in Prague...go with the flow. DELISH! And the potato pancakes are to die for too. It was cute seeing the artisans crafts for purchase as well. There is something heartwarming about handcrafted items. They make great gifts too!

Now, what can I say Prague is known for? BEER. And for those who know me well, know I am not a big beer drinker. I like a cold one every now and then, mainly when it is super hot outside. But when in Prague...Beer and hard apple cider were my friends. I still toasted with my wines and sparkling delights, but an occasional beer truly was tasty!

Prague at nights is gorgeous. If you get the chance to visit, you must take a boat ride at night. The city lights amongst the castles and ancient buildings are truly beautiful. There is definitely an old world charm in all the architecture. You just don't see this talented style in the United States. 

And Prague by day isn't too shabby either:
Great panoramic views:
The famous Astrological Clock:
Some of the best sightseeing on Earth:

Now for the food. I will let some pics do the talking:
Yes, this is a huge pile of bacon.
Street food is just plain 'ol awesome.

This was by far the most impressive way the wait staff presents the items on the menu. You choose your cut of meat or select the exact fish you'd like to devour.

And of course, no vacation goes by without a few glorious runs!

One of the most amazing/intersting places I have ever seen was Sedlec Ossuary in the suburbs of Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. One cannot begin to imagine what 40, 000 human bones, diplayed in art form, look like until you see this small church. It is totally creepy and amazing. The entrance is majestic, grand, and Holy. Weird combination of words for describing a bone church.
Check out this chandelier:
 Everything was thought out and executed in an artistic manner:
This one makes me think we should be in some music place:
 Isn't this the craziness?! I mean, pelvic, bones, skulls. femurs, metatarsals?
Now this is what I call an anatomy lesson.

No one is going to appreciate these pictures other than Darling Hubby, Jenny, and Marc.
You see, there is this insanely yummy baked good in Prague. Actually in Budapest too, but that is the next post. We had no idea how to pronounce it correctly. You try...Trdelnik. See what I mean? So we decided to call them, "Trinkle-dinks." Retrospectively, I guess we could have asked! Dumb Americans. Anyway, just think of a yeast dough, rolled out thin and then spiral baked over an open fire and then covered in cinnamon and sugar.

Now I can't possibly blog our entire stay in Prague. So I think I will end it here.
 All I can say about these next pics is, "GROSS!"
I will stick to the normal pedicure process, thank you very much.
Marc and I were the smart ones. We watched our spouses squirm from outside 
(the window faces the street so all can see) and then opted for foot massages instead.
Out for the count! Always a good sign of a great massage.
Peace out! See you all at the next stop!