a couple of weeks ago I took a little trip to a wonderful city that carries the name ‘little Venice’. You might ask yourself why on earth there’s a city in France that is named after the perhaps most romantic Italian city, Venice? (not that I know anything about Italy’s romantic cities, I’m sure there’s heaps out there) Well, it’s because of the little creek that unfortunately has nothing in common with the lovely Italian sea – and the – surprise surprise – gondolas. We’ve had quite some good luck with the beautiful weather as it was one of the last summery days we’ve had. A gondola trip was definitely on our to-do list for that day and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on it. It was so great to be out in the nature and even some animals showed us their pretty little faces.
Summer is officially over and my new life in Strasbourg has had some very exciting but chilly moments. After ten long hours on the train (I crossed three different countries), I finally made it to my new home. Strasbourg and I seem to be perfect for each other – apart from a few things that still need to be sorted out. (and really my list of things is endless) It’s the heart of Europe – sorry Brussels – and it definitely has a pretty face too, so how could I not feel comfortable around here? It’s the perfect mix of history, culture, politics and languages. And again: how could I not feel comfortable in this city? When I applied for my Master’s, I had absolutely no idea what a fabulous city Strasbourg was, even though people have tried to warn me. Before I left home, I got myself some tour guides, as I usually do and it didn’t take long for a sweet tooth like me to realise the houses there look like they were made of gingerbread. Today, when I first walked through the historic city centre, there even was the smell of gingerbread that came out of a little store, I swear. I guess I know now where Santa’s little elves work, no wonder Strasbourg calls itself Europe’s Christmas Capital. Even though I’m usually quite a fan of warmer temperatures, I am quite excited to check out the city when there’s snow (hopefully there will be snow). I wonder if it can get any prettier? Honestly, guys, I think I’m in love…with this city.
It was my flatmate V’s birthday yesterday and since I’m always teasing him (yes, even I can be a bit mean sometimes) I decided to be nice to him for once…So when he came back from work at around 5 and told me to get dressed because we’re leaving, I did as I got told. At first I thought he was kidding when he told me we were going to Szentendre (a little town about 40 min away from Budapest) but then I soon realized V is too much of an adventurer to be joking about something like that. So there we were, two crazy interns on the way to a town we’d never seen before. Now who’s spontaneous, huh?
I had heard some nice things about this lovely town and to be honest, it was quite nice to get out of the city for a while…away to a cosy little place where people seem to know each other and where cats actually stop for a pat. You can only imagine how happy I was to finally be able to cuddle with a kitty again. (sorry, no photos that was a private moment between me and the cat 😉 )
I don’t know about you but I always start comparing places with the ones that I’ve visited before. Szentendre was a bit hard to categorize but it reminded me somehow of my hometown, except that it’s situated next to the Danube and has about five times as many churches as my hometown. It definitely made me feel comfortable and I have a feeling that V enjoyed his birthday excursion!
Now here are a few more impressions of our adventurous evening in the town of Szentendre.
Don’t you ever feel like some things are way too overrated and clichéd and that our lives are far too shaped by stereotypes? Having been to Budapest for two weeks now, I get the feeling that my picture of this fabulous city had been freakishly false. One of the reasons for this might be my amazing internship and all the lovely people that I have met so far, but it might as well be the fact that I’m kind of living a bit of a dream to be honest.
Having travelled quite a fair bit like myself, you’d know that overthinking is pretty pointless and that you’ll end up getting disappointed because things might not turn out the way you wanted. I personally quit overthinking my travels a long time ago. One important thing I have learned so far from my past experiences is to let go and let things happen and be surprised every now and then. It’s the unexpected that makes our daily life interesting and when I applied for my internship, I didn’t think much about the city itself.
I wanted this job so bad, I completely forgot about everything else around me. I always thought of Budapest as some kind of similar version of Vienna given all the history. Living here though puts me in a place where I’m able to understand why empress Sisi preferred to spend as much time as she could in this fabulous city. She must have already seen great potential in it and I can totally see why. It’s the openness and kindness of the people and the art that give the city a fresh touch. I have never seen a city before where youth has such a great influence in creating its own image. Budapest is full of artistic bars and hidden places that are waiting to be discovered (and gosh no, I haven’t seen them all). That’s what I love so much about living in different cities because there’s no doubt you can see the ‘most important’ things in only a few days, but the real beauty of a city you can only discover when living there, that’s for sure!
Budapest seems to be a place of hope and dreams, which is perhaps another reason why I feel so comfortable here. Coming to Budapest has changed my life in some way and not only due to the fact that my Hungarian is still…well, how to say?…limited and that this is the first time for me to live somewhere I don’t speak the language. It’s more about the fact that I experience things that I never would have thought possible and always only existed in my head, and now here I am…living what I had dreamed of for such a long time, even though my dream has a use-by date and since life is fragile as a dream, I try to hold on to it for as long as I can. That’s why I believe you just need to find your own little L.A., seize a great opportunity and make the best of it! If you open up your eyes, you might realize that your L.A. is closer than you think it is!
It’s only been a few, but very hectic days in Budapest. My apologies if the first entry on my new exciting life as an intern in this beautiful city is about a political topic, but I figured since we’re in love with…the world, Budapest Pride is more than relevant to our blog. My Hungarian life is very politically influenced (I know this is probably not very surprising), but hey, no bad connotations here. After only seven days at work, I feel like I have already broadened my horizon and am eager to find out what is still ahead of me.
Budapest Pride Parade was one of my first adventures and I must say that I really enjoyed it, even though it was quite intimidating at the same time. The parade was part of a film festival for LGBTQ people. Bringing awareness to those who still haven’t accepted the fact that love is for everyone was one of the main goals. Just a quick fact for those of you who don’t know what LGBTQ means, it’s referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. All around the world, there are similar events like the ‘Regenbogenparade’ in Vienna. As I couldn’t participate in this year’s parade in Vienna, I was quite happy to take part in Budapest’s march to support some close family members and friends of mine and just people in general who are in love because let’s be honest, aren’t we all in love with something or someone?
That is why it made me feel even happier when I found out how many different embassies from all over the world supported the event and fought for those who still get discriminated against because of…well, love. It’s not a secret that Hungary has gone through quite some changes in the past few years and that there have been issues with radicals assaulting participants of the parade. The amount of policemen and women trying to protect the event was rather impressive and intimidating. Seeing people yell at you (for once I was quite happy I didn’t speak Hungarian) and having hundreds of policemen and women trying to keep them away from you sure wasn’t a nice experience. I don’t wish anyone to be assaulted, or discriminated against because they are in love with someone. Even though this might be my fairy tale character speaking, but I still do believe in love and I think of it as a wonderful thing that is supposed to be cherished and not forbidden!
Hi lovebirds, First of all, we’d like to apologise to you for the lack of writing in the past few weeks. A lot has happened since our last entry and we will try to make it up to you with a brand-new post on Vienna. It might have occurred to you that I’m a little obsessed with Australia… Well, so you can imagine how excited I was to have my dear friend C stay with me in Vienna for a couple of days. We’ve had three chatty days with lots of sightseeing and I’ve started to love being a tourist in my own city. The weather was perfect for a lovely walk through the city centre to see all the old and glamorous buildings and monuments in the first district. Vienna is a city that still brags with what’s left over from the monarchy – castles, palaces, museums, art galleries, traditional cafés and more. No wonder the Mercer has again ranked Vienna first in its international quality of living survey as the city with the highest quality of living worldwide.
I have enjoyed living in this beautiful city for various different reasons, one of them is the variety of restaurants it has to offer. I’ve actually started making lists of places that I’ve been to and places I still want to go to. If you’re lucky, I’ll share it with you some time but for now I’ve chosen two Viennese hotspots.
Ulrich is perfectly situated in the seventh district, at St.Ulrich’s Platz to be more exact. Lara loves it and I can see why. The restaurant is located at a little square that reminds of Italy. I enjoyed the beautiful view of the yellowy church from the terrace. It offers a great possibility to sip a nice glass of red wine and enjoy the company of lovely people. The flat bread I had was absolutely amazing and a nice light lunch before heading off to a private sightseeing tour. Lara has made me want to come here for so long and I’m glad I’ve finally found the time to step a foot into Ulrich’s doors, or on its terrace really, and I can’t wait to come back again soon to try some more of their fabulous food and drift off to my imaginary Rome.
Now, everyone needs a little dessert…or at least I do. When London meets Paris in Vienna Rori’s Finest Sweets is created. There are no words for how uh-mazing their cakes taste. It was a difficult task for two sweet teeth like us to choose between so many different flavours but we’ve decided to share two, as we’d benefit most from it. So C and I ended up getting a raspberry crumble and a chocolate mousse that were both yummy but also very filling. What I loved about this place (despite their pastries) was the effort that was behind all of it. The light blue walls with white furniture added to the French pastry and assured a modern French-English look right in the middle of Vienna. I think you can guess why I loved it so much?
Vienna never really gets boring if you step out of your comfort zone and try new things. So get yourselves out there and be brave! Oh and please let us know how you liked our restaurant/patisserie and feel free to share your ideas with us. We’re always happy to get some new inspiration! Love, M