The Best Panoramic View of Budapest

This was our second time in Budapest, and instead of driving to Hungary from Switzerland we flew over this time. We arrived on a sunny afternoon, and we were very eager to embrace our week-long tourist identities straight away.

One of the first places we visited was the Fisherman’s Bastion (Halaszbastya). I think it’s the best place to get a panoramic view over the entire city.

Budapest_by_anchoritdown

That stunning architectural wonder pictured above is the parliament building. It’s even more impressive inside.

Budapest_by_anchoritdown

The stairs will lead you down the hill eventually, but there are a good network of busses running until quite late into the night.

Budapest_by_anchoritdown

We hovered around here until we could catch the sunset. There are stairs at each ends of the wall where you could go up and walk along the walls and also go into the towers, but you have to pay a small fee during the day. The barriers remain closed after peak hours, but they remain unlocked so you can get free access up there during the evening. Woot!

Budapest_by_anchoritdown

Budapest_by_anchoritdown

Budapest_by_anchoritdown

The weather was closing in on the other side but we didn’t care because Budapest welcomed us with a great big rainbow as if to say, “it’s ok, stay”.

Domodossola Revisited, and Tips for a Comfy Train Ride to Italy from Switzerland

I always love coming back to Domodossola. I enjoy waking up early to catch the train and eat my breakfast on the go. Sometimes I snooze or get some serious reading done on the way.

I like to pack these items listed below to insure a comfortable train journey.

- A bottle of water and some snacks.

- Some music and good headphones. Mandatory if you want to drown out noise.

- A novel, or some kind of reading material.

- A jumper or a lightweight infinity scarf. Essential for covering up your ugly sleeping face, or to simply stay warm.

- And ladies, this will save you from a lot of public toilet traumas. Believe me. It’s a life saver. For my Swiss readers, you can get it here.

I’ll also make sure to look up when my train leaves in the afternoon so that I don’t have to run down the street like a crazy woman.

I highly recommend reading up on what you’re allowed to bring back from Italy, and of course, the quantities too. Lastly, always remember to ask for and keep the receipts of whatever you purchase in Domodossola.

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Domodossola_anchoritdown

Domodossola_anchoritdown

Domodossola_anchoritdown

Domodossola_anchoritdown

Domodossola_anchoritdown

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A Weekend Getaway in Colmar, France

When we were preparing for the big move to Switzerland four years ago, we decided to forgo buying a car upon arrival in favour of travelling abroad more.

Back then I used to panic at the idea of not owning my own car because I didn’t know anything else. I started driving when I was 15 and drove around everywhere ever since.

The public transport system in the area where I lived ticked on its own clock, and I didn’t have monster calf muscles strong enough to cycle up and down the hills of Auckland.

I had to part with my beloved station wagon when I moved. I was absolutely heartbroken when I had to say bye to it because it was such a good car. I used to be able to fit my entire life into it and feel invincible.

So far we’ve done pretty well. Switzerland’s public transport system is so great and reliable that I actually don’t mind being on buses and trains. I hardly ever felt the need or urge to go out and buy a car … well, until one particular weekend in February when we had a car long enough to use it beyond necessity and drove to a beautiful place for a weekend getaway for no other reason than ‘just because we can’.

This little town was called Colmar of the Alsace region of north-eastern France, and the architectural landmarks had me practising tai-chi at a distance with my camera.

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Fun fact: If you’ve watched Howl’s Moving Castle, you’ll love walking around this town even more : )

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Baked Coconut Bites Dipped in Dark Chocolate

These are actually what people call bite-sized coconut macaroons, but since you don’t need to fuss around with the egg whites and just mix everything in a large bowl, I’m going to call them baked coconut bites instead.

Sometimes I crave Bounty bars but I stopped buying them when I picked up jogging last year. This doesn’t mean I’ve divorced sweet things (I still love you Nutella), it just means I calculate how hard I’ll cry after I down something I know will take me ages to burn off on my next jogging session.

So I made something similar at home that tasted just as good as the real thing. Plus, I don’t need to cry so much every time I eat a couple in one sitting.

These dark chocolate covered baked coconut bites are slightly crisp on the outside with a brownie-like texture in the centre. They’ll keep well inside a tin for up to three days, so don’t worry about the leftovers.

Coconut Macaroons/Coconut Bites Dipped in Dark Chocolate

(for approx. 24 pieces)

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Near Perfect: Naples, Florida

Sometimes I dream about leaving where I live now for somewhere else, somewhere far away, somewhere with warmer weather, waves, sand and a lot of stars in the night sky. Not for forever but a prolonged stay – maybe for a few years then return again with a newfound appreciation for things that have become invisible due to habit.

That place as it exists in my mind is not a tropical island type of isolated getaway, but a sophisticated seaside town not far from urban life. It’s similar to where I grew up in New Zealand, only much larger and located not so far from the rest of the world.

I unexpectedly found this place I’ve been envisioning on our recent trip to Florida. I know some of you might raise an eyebrow at this, but Naples had me in a heartbeat.

Naples_anchoritdown

Naples_anchoritdown

Naples_anchoritdown

I stood on the pier and fell in love with what this place implied.

I didn’t mean to Benjamin Button my Florida trip for three months. I’ll end it with this post to forever remind myself and S how happy our time here in Naples made me.