Friday, October 28, 2016

Decadence at it's best ... New York Cafe - Budapest, Hungary

A must see when you are in Budapest --- NEW YORK CAFE at the Boscolo Hotel. Be prepared to wait, there is a queue and it doesn't look like they take reservations. 

The New York Cafe is a beautiful baroque cafe which must be experienced. This cafe was designed by Hauszmann, Korb and Giergl in 1894, and was housed on the ground floor of the NEW YORK PALACE. The Palace was severely damaged by the two world wars. In 2006, The New York Cafe reopened its doors to the new owners, Boscolo Hotel and since then it has become a part of the Boscolo Hotel in Budapest, Hungary. 

The architecture and decor are just unbelievable . The design is simplyamazing. You must go to see this cafe which is more than 100 years old and the interior is just breathtaking... See the intricate detailing of the ceiling and bannisters. It is gorgeous! This is not a cafe! It is a palace.

The cafe is a masterpiece of Italian - Renaissance Revival, a real gem of architecture. It represents the golden age of the Renaissance which is very typical of the buildings in Budapest from the late 19th century. The place is very old world stylish with carvings, pillars, paintings, red carpet and a piano player on the background. 

Once you cross the main door, an amazing atmosphere transports you to a real palace. What a unique atmosphere, the best sight and sound. You don't go here for the food, you go here to soak in the palatial setting of this 3-floor establishment, complete with background music provided by a very accomplished pianist. 

Make sure to walk around the place to take it all in ! The New York Cafe is the most beautiful cafe in the world, totally worth a visit and not to be missed when you are in Budapest. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Traveling on a skateboard 2016 part 2 - Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow, Poland

One of the most interesting places I have been to is the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow, Poland. This 700 year old complex has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The Wieliczka Salt Mine is the largest mining museum in the world, with an extensive collection of unique equipment that reflects the development of mining techniques from the Middle Ages to the present day. The underground tunnels seem to go on forever!! The highlight was definitely the beautiful chapel of the Blessed Kinga. Be prepared to do a lot of walking and bear in mind that the mine is a constant 15 degrees centigrade. 

My tour began by descending 400 wooden stairs to the first level which is 64 meters underground, passing through tunnels and chambers on 3 levels... you don't need to worry -- you won't have to climb them after your tour. There is an elevator that will take you all the way to where you started your tour. There are 9 levels on this tour to the Salt Mine and a lot more stairs to bring you all the way down to your final destination. According to our tour guide inside the Salt Mine, you will descend to a maximum depth of 135 meters deep ( roughly 800 steps down the shafts and walk at least 4 kilometres during the 3 hour mine tour. But the winding adventure is worth the trek. As I walked through each unique chamber with our guide, we were learning the history behind the centuries-old salt mine. Hundred of years of excavation has left 7 gorgeous chambers carved into the rock salt throughout the floors.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is often called " The Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland ". This underground cathedral is the Chapel of Blessed Kinga which the miners started to build in 1896 and finished it only 70 years after. They created the largest of the mine's churches. The walls were filled with religious bas-reliefs, including a replica of Da Vinci's " Last Supper " carved into the rock salt. 

This underground salt cathedral is dedicated to Blessed Kinga, the patroness saint of Poland and salt miners. 

Amazingly, even the chandeliers in the cathedral are made of salt.

Here are some tips one should know before they go on this tour: 

+ - Dress warm! the temperature underground ranges between 14 - 16 degrees centigrade.
+ - All the visitors have to go down at least 800 steps - wear comfortable shoes.
+ - It takes at least 3 hours to tour the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Krakow.
+ - This tour is not recommended for travellers that have difficulty walking on uneven terrain. 

This was simply one of the best tours of my life. In a fun way I learned about the history of Poland and specifically Wieliczka while exploring the old mine. One of the most amazing places I've ever been. The salt mines must be experienced if you're in the area. Just a little drive from Krakow and you're there. As you walk down into the mines you will see several carvings and statues made by hand as well as the huge constructions made to uphold the mines and to mine the salt. This is amazing, but when you enter the cathedral you will be speechless. Wieliczka Salt Mine is a must see destination in Poland. 

P. S. !! You can even lick the walls !!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Traveling on a skateboard 2016 - CESKY KRUMLOV , Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov is one of the Czech Republic's finest medieval sites. It's Old Town was declared a UNESCO - designated World Heritage Site in 1992, and has earned an international reputation of
bringing you back in time.

You will walk through a maze of twisting alleys, crooked cobblestone streets and soak up the atmosphere of this impeccably preserved medieval gem built around the extensive Cesky Krumlov castle. 

Go and visit the Church of St. Vitus (Kostel Sv. VĂ­ta). It is a Gothic church dating back to the 15th century with frescoes from the same period.

The church is visible from many parts of the town including the castle where many of my pictures were taken. It’s a distinctive church and very beautiful. It's a lovely old church. The interior is well maintained and I loved the pipe organs. Don't miss this church, even if you should only stop for a brief visit. The exterior is amazing and the interior breathtaking. The church is located within short walk from the town square which makes it an easy destination while sight seeing in town.

All you have to do is walk around. You'll enjoy every corner you turn to, every little hill you climb, every little ally. The view from everywhere is breathtaking. The town centre square is so picturesque. 

This is a postcard perfect town centre. It's a fairy tale that came to life. 

What an amazing beautiful town to see. I hope my photos do justice to what I saw when we went to Cesky Krumlov. The beauty of Cesky Krumlov is not something one becomes accustomed to as there is something new and wondrous around every corner. It truly is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I have ever been. This is a photographers dream town.

The beauty of Cesky is not something one becomes accustomed to as there is something new and wondrous around every corner. It truly is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I have ever been.