Photo of the Week – Ice Cream

Summer is coming and the sun has been shining in the UK. To celebrate, this weeks photo is off a summer treat – ice cream cone.

Yummy

It is one of the tastes of summer. This cone was strawberry and lime. However, ice cream is not just for summer. It tastes good in winter.

Chocolate & Caramel

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy.

Steve

 

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Wombats Hostel, Budapest

I have been fortunate to stay in two of the Wombat Hostels in Vienna. So I know how good they are. This is why I chose to stay at their newest hostel in Budapest.  It was opened in 2012. The hostel itself is located in the centre of the city close to the River Danube and St. Stephen’s Basilica.

The Entrance at Night.
The Entrance at Night.

The rooms are large and are of a high standard. Each bunk has a socket and reading light.

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Each room also has a table a set of chairs.

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The bathrooms are of a good size, plenty of room to move around.

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Entrance to your room is by security card. The same card is also used as your locker key.

As you would expect there are plenty of facilities.  The reception area is huge.  There are plenty of places to sit down including a big chill out area. There is also a large kitchen and dining area. Breakfast is served daily and costs €3.50. Next to the kitchen is the laundry area. Like any good hostel there is a bar where you can redeem your free drinks voucher.

By the hostel there are places of places to go and eat or have a take away. If you are looking for supplies there is a 24-hour supermarket nearby. Should you have the misfortune of having toothache I counted two dentists in the area.

Finally I have to mention the friendly staff. They were ever so helpful when I experienced problems with travel to Vienna. It was certainly a plus point for me.

If you travel to Budapest then this is the only place in my opinion to stay. It has everything, location, facilities and a good vibe. I am going to choose it again.

Wombats City Hostel: Budapest, Király u.20, H-1061 Budapest.

Tel: +36 1 883 500 5

http://www.wombats-hostels.com/budapest/

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Cheese Rolling

Whenever I mention that I am from the UK I am usually end up discussing football and the bad weather. However, the next popular question I am asked is about cheese rolling.

The Cheese Rolling Contest takes place at Cooper's Hill in Gloucestershire. It is held on the last Monday in May which is a public holiday in the UK.

Copper's Hill

Starting at midday there are five downhill races including an all women's race. A Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill while the competitors chase after it.

Chasing the cheese

As you can see from the photo there is a good chance that competitors get injured in the pursuit of the cheese. The first person down the hill wins the cheese.

The Prize

This event could only happen in the UK. Would I take part? No way, I do not like cheese.

http://www.cheese-rolling.co.uk

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Széchenji Chain Bridge – Budapest

Of the bridges that link Buda with Pest across the Danube, the best known is the Széchenji Chain Bridge. It was opened in 1849. The name comes from the major sponsor of the bridge István Széchenji.

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There is a British connection to the bridge. It was designed by William Tierney Clark and the construction was supervised by Adam Clark.

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Statue of Lions on the Bridge

This is the bridge to cross if you want to make your way to Castle Hill over in Buda. I think this is a beautiful construction that highlights Budapest in its glory days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

St. Stephen’s Basilica – Budapest

One of the outstanding buildings in Budapest in my opinion is St. Stephen’s Basilica. It is named after St. Stephen the first King of Hungary. Though it is not the largest church in Hungary it is the most important. It also ranks as the third highest building in Hungary.

St. Stephen's at Night.
St. Stephen’s at Night.

As I may have mentioned before that I like to visit religious buildings even though I am not a great believer. To me it is a great way of exploring and taking photographs. There is an ornate beauty to churches, especially old ones. I hope that these photos give you an idea of what I mean.

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The highlight of any visit to St. Stephen’s is the chance to view the right hand of the saint himself. It is said to be incorruptible. It is housed in the reliquary inside a glass case. For 200 forints you can light up the case for a better view.

The Right Hand of St. Stephen
The Right Hand of St. Stephen

St. Stephen’s is also an important venue for Choral and Classical concerts. There are regular organ recitals taking place. In the summer the Basilica choir performs every Sunday.

There is no best time on when to visit the basilica. If you visit during the day you can have the chance at extra cost to visit the Treasury or get to climb to the top and take in the panoramic view of Budapest. However, my visit coincided with a cold snap and it was just too cold. Alternately you could visit at night. The basilica takes on a different look in the night sky. I was fortunate to have been able to both.  Whatever time you choose to visit is up to you but I recommend that you visit all the same.

St. Stephen’s Basilica, 1051 Budapest, Szent István tèr 1.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Pin It Forward UK

I have been a member of Pinterest for nearly nine months. Would have to admit that I first struggled with the concept initially, but my confidence grew the more I got involved.

What I love about Pinterest is the ease of being able to create your own boards according to your hobbies and interests. Also I love the way you can pin images onto your boards. This is a bonus and a great way of sharing to everybody.

As you may gather the main interest in my life is travel and that is what I mostly blog about. Pinterest allows me to showcase great photography from other travel bloggers. I have put these together on a board called 'Great Pictures'. Well any photos look a lot better than mine. You will probably be able to spot them.

http://pinterest.com/join?username=midlifwndrlst65&boardname=great-pictures

http://pinterest.com/midlifwndrlst65/great-pictures

Pinterest is fast becoming an essential tool for bloggers. This is why it is so exciting to see it launch in the UK. I also feel honoured and humbled to be asked to contribute to the birth of something that I know will become massive.

However, that is enought about me. I suggest that tomorrow you make time and wend your way towards Jallian Yehia's blog Savoir There. You can find her boards on http://savoirthere.com/. You can find her boards on http://pinterest.com/savoirthere

Finally I would implore you to spread the word about Pinterest. After all one image can say more than a thousand words.

Until the next post, stay safe, stay healthy and keep pinning.

Steve

 

Photo of the Week – After George Stubbs by Raqib Shaw

This weeks photo is of a painting by Raqib Shaw called 'After George Stubbs “Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians.”'

Shaw was a fan of Stubbs painting “Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians.” Sadly, this photo cannot show the ornate magnificence of the painting. It is on display at the Manchester Art Gallery until 26 May along with other works by Shaw. They are worth viewing.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

The Royal Palace – Budapest

Let me start with one piece of advice. It is one hell of a walk to the Royal Palace. Sensible footwear is in order.  The Royal Palace was the home to the Kings of Hungary. It is part of the Buda World Heritage Site.

Inside the Royal Palace complex there is the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.

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From the Royal Palace you get amazing views across the Danube into Pest.

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I would recommend a visit to the Royal Palace. It is a great way to spend an afternoon whatever the weather.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

Guidebooks – Physical or Digital?

Guidebooks are an essential tool for travellers. Whether it be for planning, using on your visit or just for reading your guidebook becomes your bible.

Once upon a time you just go into your local bookshop to purchase your guidebook, now we can go online for guidebooks to view on smartphones, e-readers and tablets. Which one is best?

I have tried both over the years. Recently, I had moved over to digital but I do have a problem with them. I am loathed to be walking around with my iPad on view. It must make a magnet for the opportunist thief. Can never understand why people use the iPad as a camera. When I used a guidebook on my iPhone I found that it quickly drained my battery. Overall a frustrating experience.

This is why for my Balkans trip I will be reverting back to the physical guidebook. Armed with my Lonely Planet guide to Eastern Europe I will be wending my merry way. It might take up some weight in my rucksack but there is something satisfying about looking at maps on paper. It is easier to highlight and read too. Sure I love my Kindle and iPad to read books and magazines but for guidebooks the physical book will always be the best experience.

Which you do prefer?

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

 

Photo of the Week – Lunch in Budapest

There is nothing better to do after a walking tour than eat some good food in a local restaurant. This was certainly the case in Budapest.

Like the idiot I am I have forgotten the name of the restaurant. All I can tell you is that it is on the top of Castle Hill in Buda. The meal itself was delicious. It consisted of pork, potatoes and red cabbage and washed down with a bottle of the local brew. Even better it was spent with good company with some of the people from the walk.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve