All posts tagged: Photography

The Last Supper

My last few hours in Budapest were spent drinking coffee, eating tasty cakes and taking in my last moments of the wonderful city. On a seeming coffee-holiday, Madal cafe was next on the list. A more modern cafe, tall and spacious on the inside with a meditative quality to the decor and atmosphere, you can find excellent coffee, cakes and food at a reasonable cost. And you find yourself longer in Budapest, they cater to your coffee bean and equipment needs too.  To send me home, we had a mini-feast – not unlike what we had been doing basically the whole trip anyway; cheesecake definitely on par with one from Steamhouse Cafe, lemon and poppy seed loaf, a random wrap, and double shot lattes, served beautifully on a custom Madal wooden board – coffee definitely served in style. If time wasn’t against us, Madal was definitely a great chill-out spot, one where you could chit chat, whip out your mac or cosy up with a book. Snow began to fall en-route to the airport, my …

Sleep First, Sightsee Second

My last days in Budapest were spent sleeping, relaxing and not running around frantically trying to get everything seen; more often than not I feel far more exhausted travelling on holiday rather than actually experiencing a “holiday”. The rush and madness to see all the sights in such a short amount of time can be overwhelming, but the more I travel the more I think that it’s about quality, not quantity – why see 100 things for such a little time each than see just a select few and with more consideration and attention? Apple burek. Happiness, now available tinned. I had the time to walk calmly around the area in which I was staying, Corvin, walking up and down the streets lined by towering old apartment blocks, walking in and out of local shops and cafes and visiting the Holocaust Memorial nearby. A renovated synagogue that dates back to the 1920s, the memorial also serves as a museum, remembering the lives of millions of Jews lost in the 20th century. Over 500,000 Hungarian Jews …

Artistic Enlightenment (Shortly Followed by Cake)

Long needed were those mornings where, upon awakening, the glorious sensation hits that you have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever. So used to rude awakenings by a shrill 7am alarm and mounds of tasks to accomplish, these few mornings had been the biggest gift. A sleepy trip to Great Market Hall was needed, however, to pick up an assortment of compulsory holiday gifts.  Tiny bags of paprika (interestingly translated from Hungarian to “red gold”) were mandatory of course, complete with tiny hand-carved wooden spoons, traditional candies, marzipan chocolates and tiny bottles of palinka – one way of getting around the 100ml liquid restriction on flights. I lazily strolled around the great hall, walking up and downstairs in search for more surprises (and a steaming cup of coffee). I braved my way back into the crispy morning air to navigate around Vaci street to find some breakfast, stumbling on Mantra Specialty Coffee Minibar on narrow side road, snugly hid amidst larger shops and apartments – mini was definitely the word for it. Inside, you hang your …

Fourth Day, Part 2 ~ Hungarian Castles & Street Food

The magic of the New York Cafe remained as we jumped on a bus and travelled to Budapest’s Castle District across the river. Also known as the Castle Quarter, this area is a 1km long limestone plateau towering over the Danube river and is home to Budapest’s most precious and important medieval monuments and museums. A sweeping flight of paths and staircases guide you up to the centre of the district, the Royal Palace and the Hungarian National Art Gallery, home to 11th-century and present-day artworks, proudly standing at the forefront. The Royal Palace has been said to of rebuilt at least six times over the past seven centuries, it’s subsequent Kings adding to it each time. At the rear, you can find wide stretches of ruins and the famous Matthias fountain, a romantic-style sculpture presenting the young kind Matthias in his hunting uniform, surrounded by dogs. We strolled slowly through the courtyards and protruding stone terraces, the sky clear and the sun strong and warm, attempting to melt away what was left of the ice. Budapest …

Fourth Day, Part 1 ~ Classy Coffee

Sunday brought about a slow, sunny morning, making stacks of sourdough pancakes topped with local cream, jam and strawberries. Monmouth coffee (imported from London) washed away morning sleep and soothing jazz made for a melancholic soundtrack. Mustering up some energy, we wrapped up warm and stepped out into the cold, heading towards a weekly farmers market at Szimpla Ruin Bar, where we had spent a night out earlier in the week. Every Sunday, from 9am to 2pm, farmers, local producers and makers set up their stalls, lined with fresh produce for punters; cured meats pile high in wicker baskets and hang off beautifully crafted wooden stands. Fresh cheeses line make-shift chilled counters. Freshly baked bread, cookies and pastries waft welcoming aromas across the bar. Homemade jams, chilli sauces, mustards and vegan “living” flatbreads awaiting to be sampled, most of which surprisingly sugar-free and organic. No doubt, in my bag quickly arrived a plum, rum and walnut jam, made with xylitol, alongside a fiery, home-cooked chilli sauce, extremely delicious mustard and a link of cured deer …

Second Day, Part 1 ~ Wes Anderson’s Day Out

After sleepy syrup filled breakfast, we travelled across the river early in the morning to a foggy Buda. Traffic lights peeked through the mist, yellow trams zoomed into view and the majestic Gellért hotel stood defiantly in the white smoke. Located right next to Gellért hill, overlooking the Danube on the riverside, Hotel Gellért rose to life in 1916, animated by it’s Art Nouveau style and it’s where Wes Anderson stayed and was inspired to create ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. And if you’re familiar with Anderson’s fictional structure, you can spot the resemblance from miles away. It’s not difficult to see why Anderson was so taken by the hotel; Gellért boasts high glass cupolas and wrought iron decorations, its coloured peaks elegant and attractive from even across the river. Inside, pillars and arches bow above you, artistic mosaics and intricate stain-glass windows ornately decorating the floors and walls. And for any visitor, a trip to Gellért’s thermal baths is compulsory. Known to help cure various illnesses and diseases, the thermal baths are like bathing in …

Moodapest

When snow turns to slush, it’s a sad sad day. The drizzly weather and dark grey fog overcast Budapest, the misery of the dirty snow, turned icy mess, proliferated. We spent the afternoon walking from Corvin to the Great Market Hall, winding up and down roads and alleys, arriving at a wall of fog at Liberty bridge; the white clouds engulfed the bridge, leaving just a little in sight for cars and trams to drive on to. Still unfamiliar with the city, it was impossible to tell where we were from looking out across the river – there was nothing to be seen, just a wall of white swallowing the landscape. My hair dampened as I took photos, walking up and down the river around the bridge entrance to catch the light of Budapest’s yellow trams snaking through the fog. Clearly, about thirty others had the same idea, photographers and iPhone-bearers swarming around the area promptly. Night began to fall and the spookiness of the fog grew, and we dawdled away down to Vaci street …

Apple Day

Crunching across swathes of ombre leaves, wearing your finest (and thickest) winter coat and 4 metre scarf, and having apple-themed meals all day everyday; this can only be described as THE best time of the year. Autumn is well and truly upon us, the frosty air taking a beating to our protruding facial parts and warm drinks being a source of warmth rather than a refreshing beverage. But Autumn brings one top notch friend along to the party; Apple Day. In my home city, Coventry, England, I used to volunteer as a gardener at these wonderful organic gardens out in the countryside. And every year they would hold the greatest, most majestic Apple Days; an apple themed organic menu, traditional apple juice pressing, apple picking, apple events – you name it. In fact, you’d inevitably end up making one too many rounds of the gardens and eat so many apples you’d be more than set for the next year… Since being in London I seemed to of let slip this magical event as I entered …

Fruitful Adventures in the Motherland

Our last days in Bulgaria, much like the rest, were restful and filled with food fit for gods; banitsa, meats, cheeses and salads up to your ears. My aunt and uncle’s home is beautifully exquisite, and so the experience was further enriched; a small wooden balcony overlooked the living room, high and lined with wooden beams, decorated with an ornate wooden star. White marble tiled the floor, cool on your toes on hot Bulgarian summer days. Rows and rows of gifts from near and afar line oak shelves and glass cabinets, above a fireplace and a beautiful wooden structure providing a sort of separate between the living area and the dining/kitchen area. A tiny outdoors open conservatory of sorts is only a few footsteps away for dining in bright daylight or by the white clean moon, crickets chirping in the vast garden, speckled with flowers and shrubs and fruits and vegetables. Over at the back of the dream house can be found a fairly large allotment space, partially covered in a white plastic tarp to …

Bumbling up the Balkans

After spending a glorious time in Kardzhali, my dad and I packed our bags and headed to a small town in central Bulgaria surrounded by the Balkan mountains where my aunt and uncle live with friends who may as well be family.  After a long drive, where we stopped to try and take a photo with the fields of sunflowers but were afraid of potential snakes in the grass, we arrived in the town but had no recollection of where my aunt and uncle actually lived. Renown however in Kalofer, and perhaps across Bulgaria, we drove slowly in the dark in attempt to ask passing pedestrians or groups of grannies sitting outside their homes chit chatting as to where they lived. In such small towns and villages it always amazes me how everyone seems to know everyone. Our first day in Kalofer entailed waking up to heading straight on a 2km trek into the Balkan mountains. Jumping into a Jeep and following the rest of the family on two quad bikes (how and why I …