Miskolc: a day trip in the mountains from Budapest

With the exception of Budapest, many cities in Hungary are not well known, although they have a lot to offer. For an escape from the city, consider taking the train to Szentendre, or renting a car and driving to Miskolc.

After getting to Miskolc, you’re going to drive about another hour to get to Boldogkőváralja. It’s a castle up high and absolutely gorgeous. There aren’t many castles in Hungary but the few are found in this area.

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It’s closed Monday-Wednesday in the off season, we didn’t check, so we couldn’t go in. This photo is from summertime.

After exploring here, the next stop is the Diósgyőr Castle. It’s a medieval castle in Miskolc and fairly interesting to explore. The rooms are all quite informative and well done, and it wasn’t busy at all which is always a positive. We were in a rush though, because we have a whippet that likes to poop in her crate if left alone for 10 minutes (dog mom life).

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One of the rooms in the castle

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At the top

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View from top

Next stop was Lillafüred. This little place would be absolutely gorgeous in the summer. There’s Lake Hámori, the Palace Hotel (so pretty), natural caves (Anna Cave, Istvan Cave, and Szeleta Cave), hanging gardens below the hotel, and the largest waterfall in Hungary (20 metres).

palace hotelwaterfalldog and waterfall

After that, we pondered going back into Miskolc for dinner because there are some great restaurants, but on account of a sleepy puppy, we went back to Budapest, left her at home and went out for dinner.

Sometimes I feel like Budapest lacks nature, because I’m used to so much of it being accessible at home. Miskolc is a great break from the city life that is hard to escape in Budapest.

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One night in Prague: making the most of a short trip

One of the great things about Budapest is the ability to hop on a train, bus, or rent a car and be in a different city quite quickly. We hopped on a night bus and headed to Prague just for a couple days. You know those cities that you walk around and say to yourself fairly quickly that you think you could live there? Yeah, Prague was one of those. It was clean, walkable, but transit seemed great. There were lots of things to see in the short amount of time we were there, and the vibe of the city was overall great.

First of all, the night bus was no where near as bad as I expected. I slept most of the way which was quite impressive for me considering I’m one of those weirdos that struggles sleeping in cars or on planes. It went much faster than I thought, and I fell asleep to a Joe Rogan podcast. Am I the only one who finds those weirdly relaxing? Upon arrival at around 6am, we grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and sat there for a few to figure out our next move and charge our phones. Our check in wasn’t till later so we had lots of time.

Tip: instead of buying transit tickets through the machine that require change, just download the PID Litacka app, and buy them through there

Because it was so early, we got to cross Charles Bridge before the hoards of tourists were there, and caught the sunrise. As we were walking through the streets, we found a bagel place for breakfast so we ate there. After, we made our way to the Prague Castle, looked at the St. Vitus Cathedral, and walked around up there.

Tip: wear sensible footwear, I didn’t and almost broke my ankle approximately 12 times

We checked into our hotel and then had a nap because we were exhausted, and at this time, the Christmas Market was still up so we went there. We also went to the mall, and just walked, a lot. For dinner, I got the Czech version of my fav Hungarian dish, Svíčková, and R got a pork knuckle. Typical. We then went to an Irish bar, also very typical, and got chips from the market after, bought champagne and orange juice, and made mimosa’s in the hotel room.

The next morning we went for breakfast at a cute little cafe and got bagels, again, and carrot cake to go to eat on the bus. We went on a search for Buchty, but it was the Czech Independence Day and everywhere was closed so we didn’t luck out there.

By then, we had to go back to the bus station to get home. This time felt 10x longer than the night bus to me but we returned to Budapest in the evening.

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10 reasons to visit Oslo, Norway

I know I said I hated this city. I don’t think it’s the city itself that I hated, but other factors that just happened while I was there; the reasons I needed out were not the city’s fault. There’s good in everything, and there’s good in this city. I should give it some credit.

In no particular order, here are some things that would be worth going back for.

1. Smoky BBQ Fajita Seasoning

We brought a bunch of taco and fajita seasoning with us because we weren’t sure if it would be easy to find in Norway, but every grocery store had a massive Mexican section. This kind was SO GOOD. I’ve never seen it in Canada or any other grocery stores. Fajita bowls were a staple meal for me in Norway thanks to this seasoning.

2. It’s pretty

The buildings are a mix of modern and old, and I love architecture. The Opera House, the pier, the view from my bedroom, the Barcode area, there’s something nice to look at anywhere you go. It really is a gorgeous city, and clean too.

barcode

Oslo Barcode

3. I felt safe

I didn’t feel unsafe here when by myself, even at night, and I don’t think I can say that about a lot of places.

4. Everyone speaks English

I wasn’t expecting this, and it made life a lot easier here because I didn’t need to struggle with the language barrier.

5. Lots of things to do

From outdoor activities, museums, and shopping, this city has you covered. I did almost every tourist activity there was to do in my time there.

 

Holmenkollen

Holmenkollen

Vigeland Park

Vigeland Park

Opera House

Opera House

6. Lots of dogs

So many dogs and they were allowed on public transit and in most stores. This made me happy because I missed my dog. Why isn’t Vancouver more dog friendly?

7. Nature

You’re really close to nature everywhere you go. A short train, ferry, or bus ride, and you’ll find a hike or some type of view to look at. It reminded me of Vancouver in this way.

Hovedøya

Hovedøya

Hovedøya

Hovedøya

8. The police ride horses

I don’t know why, but I love this.

9. People don’t smoke

One thing I hate about Europe is that everyone smokes and it’s hard to avoid the smell of it on patios and crowded streets. Chew is way more popular in Norway so this isn’t an issue here.

10. Most people were friendly

I’ve been places where locals have been rude to those who don’t speak their language. Most people were nice and happy to speak English, and we met some great people.

Oslo has some great things to offer if you were to visit for a few days, or even a week. I have a couple posts in previous months about all of the touristy things Oslo has to offer. I’m a bit upset I didn’t stick around long enough to watch ski jumping or take the train to Bergen, but hey, I can always go back.

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Oslo, Norway: grocery store finds

I love grocery stores and not just in different counties. I can’t even begin to explain how happy I’d be going to the grocery store at home (with my parents money of course). I LOVE LOOKING AT ALL THE THINGS. You can imagine how much time I waste in grocery stores in new countries that have new things to look at.

From what I’ve gathered, it seems that the Norwegian staples are brown cheese, Grandiosa pizza, and Melkesjokolade chocolate. The brown cheese is surprisingly not bad, it tastes like a sweeter version of cheddar and looks like a block of frozen peanut butter. Grandiosa pizza tastes cheap and like bagel bites, not pizza. I broke down and bought one of the tiny versions of the chocolate bars and yeah, it was good. I’m not blown away though.

Condiments- why are they all in tubes? When I was dieting fairly seriously, mustard was my go to. I put it on literally every single thing I ate because it has very few calories. Can someone please explain to me why the mustard in this country has 120 calories per serving? It’s witchcraft and not okay with me. Another thing I can’t wrap my head around is the bacon flavoured mayonnaise. I hate mayo with a passion. I can’t imagine this would taste good to anyone, even if they liked mayo. Hot dog sauce? Is this a fancy word for mayo? So many questions.

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condiments in tubes

I’ve stumbled upon lefsa in the grocery stores, and you cannot seriously tell me that the lefsa they sell in packages in the grocery stores is real. It probably tastes like garbage. Grandma would not approve, therefore, I will not be buying it.

lefsa

not in this lifetime

There are the biggest range of fish items. Canned fished meatballs (wtf), fish cakes, fish balls, shrimp, you name it. If there’s a dead fish involved, you can find it at the grocery store, and you can bet I’ll try none of these.

 

 

The (local) jams that I’ve tried are really good, not as good as Grandma’s, but good for store bought. I’ve yet to try the “cloudberry” jam, but that’s because I didn’t realize it wasn’t called cloudberry in Norwegian. I saw it in the store today since I knew what I was looking for, and it was super expensive (surprise surprise) so I’ll bring some home when I’ve had enough of this country.

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one third of the jam section

The Asian and Mexican food sections are all massive at the grocery stores. Stuff like that is not hard to find. We brought a bunch of taco and fajita seasoning with us, but it was not necessary. I think the BBQ flavoured fajita mix they sell here is better than what they sell in Canada. It’s cheap too, I might be bringing some home.

I don’t notice a huge difference in price while grocery shopping at home compared to here for most things, and the only thing I can’t find here that I’m missing is clamato juice. This girl needs a caesar in the worst way. Maple syrup is over the MOON expensive and they don’t even sell the cheap fake stuff. Why do I need maple syrup? I really don’t, but you bet I will complain about it (eh).

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure if living here (except for going out to eat/buying booze) is actually way more expensive than it is at home. Maybe I’m just used to being a child and having my parents do all my grocery shopping. Either way, it’s shocking moving away and realizing how much is actually spent on food, ESPECIALLY when we’re on that chicken and white rice 92% of the time diet and have yet to go out for food. Kebab’s and Ikea don’t count.

Foreign grocery stores are fascinating, and I’ll be sure to spend an obscene amount of time in any one that I come across.

My first week in Oslo!!!

I have spent one week in Oslo. My apartment still doesn’t have wifi. Our fridge isn’t working. We went to IKEA three times in my first two days to get a bed, dresser, and other things (a fur carpet being one). Our apartment is on a massive hill, and I’m not exaggerating. I’m out of breath by the time I get to the top. City’s nice though.

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my cute little bedroom

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the view from my cute bedroom

Today we went and explored the castle and the Resistance Museum. There’s a Starbucks on the pier that’s nice to do homework at. The view from our bedroom window is beautiful. I could definitely get used to this place.

 

A few things I’ve noticed in the week I’ve been here…

  • the busses have seat belts (weird)
  • everyone drinks a mind-blowing amount of pop
  • IKEA hot dogs are just as cheap as in Canada
  • NOTHING is free
  • the buildings are a mix of ancient, or very modern
  • everyone speaks English (I was shocked)
  • THERE ARE SO MANY TESLAS. EVERYONE HAS A TESLA.
  • I can’t afford to get drunk in this country.

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I’m just happy to be here.