|Look closely, it says Goga for Yoga mats|
- GoWalk3 shoes by Skechers – These shoes saved my life. We walked everywhere for miles. We’d leave the hotel early in the morning, and we were out and about until 10 or 11pm. It could really take a toll on your feet but the Skechers though — lifesaver. It was like walking on yoga mats. You know those mats that they use in some of the kiddie playgrounds? It was like that.
- The North Face Weatherproof leather boots – Since we went during late autumn (early winter), we planned for wet, and cold weather. Fortunately, there was only one day in Prague when it showered for most of the day. These boots saved me during the cold, snowy, rainy winter days when I traveled to the East Coast. These boots were also very comfortable. I could wear them for an entire day and not complain. The GoWalk3s actually did quite well in days with very light rain showers.
- Nike Training Shoes – as much as I would’ve loved to wear my Nikes during the entire trip, the GoWalk3s were my go-to shoes. My Nikes became my airport shoes since I like to travel comfortably wearing sweat pants.
My favorite Nikes. Lots of mileage in New York City, and my favorite shoes during flight days
charged, we put the iPhone on low battery mode (thanks, Apple), and we brought along a couple of iPhone cables and adapters. There were many places we could plug in to so we never felt that we had a lack of way to communicate. The cafes and restaurants we chose, 90% of them offered free WiFi and had power outlets available. In London, when we were with friends and family, they also let us use their phone’s hotspot. We got lucky with this trip. We were able to communicate timely with our family whenever we needed so.
|The State Opera House in Budapest|
If we were going with sheer beauty, I’d have to say Budapest. I’m a sucker when it came down to viewing the House of Parliament and the Danube River that was right across our hotel room. It was almost like looking at a glowing treasure box. We spent 4 amazing evenings in that room and it was like looking at a picture perfect postcard. It was bright, shiny, and luminous. We stayed on the Buda side and our hotel was centrally located from all these gorgeous buildings, castles, churches, and bridges. It was a sight to behold. Oh, this was where we watched our very first opera, Madama Butterfly. That thermal bath though! Wow, I’ll never forget that morning at Gellert’s Bath. The cafes we went to – The Book Cafe (the Sistine Chapel of coffee shops), and our dinner at Cafe New York at the Boscolo Hotel – very memorable.
London – the takeaway here was the time we spent with our friends and family (our niece, Sheena, our friends, Donna and Yen, and our extended family, the Reyes family). There’s no doubt that London itself is magical with the palace, the Tower of London, London Bridge, Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament, watching Miss Saigon on the West End, Abbey Road, Notting Hill, Chinatown, Windsor Castle, The Shard (Shangri-la), Platform 9 3/4, Harry Potter, and our five-star hotel stay at The May Fair (man, we did a lot!!!). But, it’s the quality time we spent with folks I mentioned, I will forever remember that. Thank you very much!
Public Transportation – I’m actually jealous. I wish we had more accessible public transportation in Southern California. Yes, I know we have trains, buses, metros – but nothing compared to the accessibility I’ve seen in New York, Italy, Paris, London, Budapest, and Prague. It was an organized chaos with the way that the tram/trolleys/metros worked. I can still vividly see the long escalators that took us all the way from top to bottom, all the advertisements and posters in the metros. From the ticket stubs in London, to the honor system in Prague and Budapest. It’s a culture that we don’t have in Southern California. We rely heavily on our personal vehicles. We spend hours stuck in slow moving traffic. We loved the convenience of public transportation, and I’ve always embraced it as part of our travels.
History – We loved walking around knowing that there was some kind of history. We loved seeing buildings, old buildings, and in some cases, next to the old buildings are new buildings, the old meets new. I was in awe with the way they preserved history, the way they took pride of their past, and how they integrated the future while respecting their past.
Arts and Culture – it was hard not to get sucked in to embracing art and culture. From London’s West End, to the operas and concerts we watched in Budapest and Prague. We only planned on watching Miss Saigon in London, but the more I learned about the places we visited, the more it encouraged us to embrace their art forms. All in all, we watched:
a. Miss Saigon – West End Musical – Prince Edward Theatre (London)
The Food Though
- London – there were lots of similarities with food in the US. But we made sure we had their Full English breakfast, and we searched high and low for the ultimate Fish and Chips experience at the award winning Poppy’s. We also had Malaysian food, something I’ve only had when I traveled to NYC and Las Vegas. That was delish.
- Budapest – Goulash, goulash, goulash! The oven baked pork knuckle (lechon) that, too, was amazing. The winner though was Doner Kebab! Hahahaha! I never thought I’d eat kebab in Budapest. Doner Kebab for it’s accessibility, quick service, and delicious gyros and Greek Salad.
- Prague – Beef Goulash, the Prague Ham, the braised cabbage, and our unforgettable lunch and dinner at Kogo restaurant. The desserts at Cafe Terapie, the breakfast at Cafe Lounge – unforgettable.