The Ruin Bars of Budapest | Hungary

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Budapest is famous for them, alongside the thermal baths and beautiful architecture, Budapest is very well known for the amazing ruin bars that are dotted around the city, primarily in the Jewish quarter. When my best friend and I visited Budapest, we were very excited to experience them and see what it was all about.

The biggest one is called Szimpla Kert and, I believe, is where the ruin bars idea started. A ruin bar is essentially an old, abandoned building that young people would buy and install large art pieces and funky furniture in and make into a really cool bar or nightclub. These buildings were left in ruins after many parts of the Jewish quarter were destroyed in WW2 and therefore it was the perfect way to remodel the buildings and turn them into something amazing.

Szimpla Kert is the biggest one, it's very popular and has become a tourist attraction now but it is not difficult to see why. There are some incredible art installations inside including gardens and a courtyard that has a huge car in but ruin bars originally started as small buildings that weren't particularly noticeable from the outside as anything other than a ruined building, it was only when you got inside that you realised it was a bar and there are still some smaller, less famous ones lurking around the Jewish quarter that are like this.

We explored the ruin bars both during the day and during the night as we wanted to explore and appreciate it in all it's beauty both as a place that hosts really cool art and as an awesome bar. What I really liked was that, anyone who came to Szimpla could leave their mark, we actually wrote a quote on the gymnastics horse in one of the upstairs rooms of the bar from the play Desiderata, maybe if you go, see if you can find it!

None of the furniture matches in the ruin bars, sometimes it feels like you are in someones front room and you really shouldn't be nosing around but we definitely found that part of the fun! The environment is also really relaxed, we found lots of friends in the Ruin Bars!

We visited Szimpla Kert which is one of the main ones, it has a huge courtyard and a great cocktail bar and we had a really lovely night there. We also visited Instant which is a little bit more of a club than a bar we found as it doesn't liven up till later but it was still really fun to wander around. We also visited a couple of other ones when wandering around the Jewish district but I honestly have no idea of their names as they were smaller ones and we were just having a look around! They definitely are so cool and really worth a look if you are heading to Budapest!

2 Places you Must Eat at in Bucharest | Romania

Thursday, 13 July 2017

When we arrived in Bucharest, in all honesty, we had no idea what Romanian food would be like. I thought it would probably be relatively meat based and warming foods and, especially as we were there in December, we weren't wrong! There are two places that I definitely think you should eat at if you go to Bucharest and I will share those with you in this post!

The first place is where we ate on our first day after our tour of The Palace of the Parliament where we met two American guys whose father is Romanian. They asked us if we wanted to eat lunch with them at a very popular restaurant called Caru cu Bare which actually turned out to be just opposite our hostel although we didn't know this at the time! Caru cu Bere is the oldest restaurant in Bucharest and therefore does have a lot of tourists but also a lot of locals eat and drink there too. The guys we met said that it served really traditional Romanian food and it definitely didn't disappoint. It was also incredibly cheap as they have a student menu that gets you a full meal and drink for 14 lei which equates to around £2.50! My best friend Georgie and I shared two meals half and half so we could each experience two dishes, we had Romanian skinless sausages and Chicken Breast schnitzel which were both very tasty. As I thought though, it was highly meat based, well the student menu was but there were vegetarian options on the main menu. Definitely somewhere to go for a lot of food for very little money!

The other place I will recommend is called La Mama and actually, I am recommending the dish mainly which is a traditional Romanian desert called Papa Nash. We got recommended to try Papa Nash by the tour guide on our walking tour and she told us about La Mama which was near to Revolution Square where the tour ended. We decided that we definitely wanted to eat it before we left and we ate Papa Nash as our lunch before leaving to get our flight to Bucharest on New Years Day. Papa Nash is essentially like a large, fried donut that is filled with sour cream and jam and it really is an experience. I have never tried anything like it, it's so filling and delicious, but very different to deserts in the UK. I would definitely recommend it!

So they are the two dishes I would definitely recommend trying, I am sure there are many more Romanian dishes and restaurants in Bucharest that you should try, unfortunately as we were there over New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, a lot of the restaurants closed meaning we couldn't try as many as we wanted to, I guess that just means we will have to go back!

The Best Beach in Barcelona | Spain

Thursday, 6 July 2017

I went to Barcelona last year with my family and we had such a wonderful time. We did lots of sightseeing activities and on one of our last few days, we fancied a beach day. We went down to the main beach in the centre of Barcelona, Barceloneta beach, a few times but we found it far too busy, it was literally packed, you could barely move. So I researched a few places that we could go to for a beach day that weren't too far away from Barcelona and I found out about Castelldefels Beach which was only about a 20 minute train ride away.

We went out one morning on the train (unfortunately we got delayed a little as my mum got her purse stolen as we were getting on the train) and arrived in Castelldefels which is a small town just south of Barcelona. There was a little walk to the beach as we didn't realise that there was also a beach train station and we could have stayed on the train for one more stop but no matter, it's all good exercise. When we got there, we realised that we had made a good decision in going there. The beach was huge, really wide and long, and there weren't many people there at all, it was mainly locals which suited us really. There is a lifeguard which meant that we could swim and the water was really lovely there, very clean and you can go quite far out as the water gets deeper but then, when you are about 50m out, it gets very shallow again on a sand bank. We swam for ages, spent loads of time in the sea and did a little sunbathing too, it really was the perfect beach day. There is also a beach cafe there that serves beautiful food made out of local ingredients which is where we ate our lunch.

If you are going to Barcelona, I would really recommend going to Castelldefels for a day if you are looking for a beach day as it was a really lovely beach that wasn't anywhere near as busy as Barceloneta!
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