Krka National Park 

Croatia has some of the most beautiful places on Earth, and Krka National Park is no exception. This year is the second time I’ve visited, and I’d go again and again and again given the chance. It looks like something out of a fairytale. That is until you have a 12 year old girl sitting on her friend’s shoulders glaring and angrily gesturing for you to get out of the way so she can have the perfect instagram picture taken 😉

11200763_10206502280291709_5757860600689947535_n-2

The water is fresh and so clean and being in it gives a glimpse of life as a mermaid. I do recommend bringing rock socks though, because coming in and out of the water is pretty complicated (and a little painful) with bare feet. If you’re taking a camera with you, do be careful not to drop it in the water! We saw someone lose their GoPro, and because it is quite deep in some places and there’s a bit of a current, they couldn’t get it back! Laying by the water is a relaxing way to take a break from swimming (and a good way to work on your tan).

Foodwise, you can buy sandwiches and fruit cups, and you can also visit the restaurant there, however, I do recommend taking a picnic with you. On the walk down to the water, there are many little stalls selling figs, sugared almonds, and other things of the sort which is really cute.

If you have a dog, it is possible to bring them along. I saw a few when I was there and it was the cutest thing ever! There are walking trails all about the park that they can enjoy with you.

Getting there is easy. I’ve taken a tour both times, where you meet altogether and go by bus with a guide giving you information along the way (this included a visit to the charming Šibenik), but you can drive there and take a shuttle bus down to the water, or take a bus sans tour as well.

Split forever

Split is pretty much my favourite place in the entire world. The first time I went I attended summer school of the Croatian language at the University of Split and was lucky enough to stay for about two months. Last year, I attended the same course but stayed only for three weeks, and I’ve just gotten back to Budapest after a regrettably quick five day visit. I miss it already! I got so lucky this time and had this amazing view right out of our room on the Riva, and if that doesn’t give you a good idea of what a beautiful place Split is, I don’t know what will!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

If you haven’t been to Split, I implore you to visit. It can get very busy during summer, but it’s for good reason. The beaches are breathtaking – it’s like taking a big, salty bath in the Adriatic and using the sun as your towel. There are excellent restaurants all over the city, and eating inside Diocletian’s Palace is such a special (for want of a better word) experience. Drinking some Dalmatian wine (or classic Croatian beer) in the palace or by the sea is also an experience that will not be forgotten, nor will generous Croatian hospitality.

I will be posting some more specific blogs in the next week or so, so check back if you’re after more information on Split, some lesser known places to eat or drink, the best beaches, and the best day trips. If there is anything in particular you’d like to know, write a comment and I’ll pop it in 🙂10464387_10203751271318204_7301269398474295394_n

Matcha obsession

I’ve very recently (as in the past week) jumped on the Matcha bandwagon and am now obsessed. I’ve had a Matcha latte every single day since first trying it and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon. There is a common misconception from visitors in Budapest that things like Matcha aren’t readily available, but that is no longer true, you just have to know where to look. Marumoto tea house close to St. Stephen’s Basilica has delicious coconut milk matcha lattes, ice matcha tea, matcha cheesecake, the list goes on. To be honest, I just stopped writing this to pop out and pick up a coconut milk matcha iced latte to go.

If you sit in the teahouse, food and drinks are served beautifully. Look at that green and white together! It looks beautiful as a takeaway as well (can’t stop, won’t stop).

Another great place to pick up some matcha is Demmers Teahouse, which has multiple locations. I love to pick up a takeaway iced latte with rice milk (which I find preferable with matcha to regular milk) when I walk my dog as it is very dog friendly.

Let me know if you know any other great matcha places in Budapest, or in Croatia (as I’m headed back there on Friday) and I will be delighted to check them out!

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
Coconut milk Matcha to goooo

Lazy breakfast: banana muffins

I am, without a doubt, one of the laziest people I know. Not all the time, but some days, I don’t even want to put clothes on, or ‘call in sick’ to class because I couldn’t be bothered. Now, we all know ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ and all that, but most days if I have somewhere to be, I run out the door and don’t end up eating until around 2pm. Don’t even get me started on how hard it is to concentrate in class with an earthquake brewing in my stomach.

Today, I decided to ward off this earthquake by preparing a healthy breakfast I can eat on the run, chuck in my bag, or shove down my throat between throwing on a shirt and putting my hair in a messy bun. This comes in the form of banana muffins. Not the sticky kind you get from a cafe that are the size of your head and about 3 days worth of calories, but healthy muffins that I found on Cookie + Kate. These are so delicious, seriously guilt-free, and use things that you probably already have in your kitchen (another plus for lazy people like me, I don’t really want to go and buy a hundred specific ingredients to make goddamn muffins). Another plus, you can tweak them by adding nuts, choc-chips, whatever you want and they still turn out delicious!

12821340_10208159123151745_4611895598923298842_n
Is Mijo helping me cook, or just waiting to see if I’ll let him lick the bowl?

I used a bit more banana than recommended (I had three massive ones that really needed to be used) and a little extra brown sugar instead of honey, and they still turned out really well.

Because progress shots are important

Here’s the finished product. So good I had to eat one while they were still warm. Now I’m going to pop half in the freezer  to have in a few days, and put one with my lunch for tomorrow morning when I know I’m not going to make breakfast 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

St. Stephen’s Basilica: A view from the top

My friend from Australia visited me here in Budapest, and what better thing to do than visit tourist attractions I’ve yet to see. I absolutely love it when people who have never been here come because it gives me a chance to fall in love with the city all over again and to see it anew, in a way, by showing my favourite places to first time visitors, as well as doing and seeing things I haven’t done yet.

This time we climbed the (many) stairs to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica and were met with stunning, panoramic views. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t the best, but the views still made me realise how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful city! From this height it really gives  a different perspective on the buildings as seen from the ground. It made me realise how big Budapest really is too!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

It’s a very cheap way to see the city (it was only a couple of dollars) and doubles as a good workout 😉
My whole family (including my 6 year old sister) managed the climb, but there is also an elevator if you are less mobile.

IMG_4437.JPG

Szabadság tér, AKA dog heaven

Szabadság tér, or Freedom Square, in English, is right by Parliament in Budapest. It is mostly a beautiful park with the number one perk being that a section of it is a dog park! It is mine and Mijo’s favourite place to go when we walk everyday. He meets a lot of new dog friends and I always meet some human ones. It isn’t fenced in, so you have to keep a good eye on your dog, but many people of all ages with all different kinds of dogs come there and it’s an amazing environment to let your dog off the leash in. Everyone there is, obviously, a dog person, and most dogs are friendly and beautifully behaved so there is no need to worry about your dog being attacked.IMG_4065.JPG

The square itself is beautiful and definitely a tourist attraction, so it’s worth visiting even if you don’t have a dog, or if you want to find some to pat! During Advent and for awhile after Christmas, it is extra beautiful because it becomes decorated with fairy lights and it really looks like something out of Narnia.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

I found that in Australia I had some issues with my family dog, Beau. He is a staffy and I would walk him everyday. Of course, his breed is stereotyped as being vicious to both people and other dogs, but he had the sweetest nature. He would try to go over to other dogs, but of course, we kept him leashed, but I hated that other people would look at him like he was a monster! He has been attacked before, but by tiny little dogs (who of course, ended up pinned under his foot or in his mouth). They all ended up unharmed, but it was never Beau who instigated anything! Here in Budapest, all dogs are welcome, people let their dogs play with all the other dogs, and no one is looking at any other dogs like they are psychos. It really makes me happy 🙂

IMG_4881

Taking your health for granted: don’t do it!

The past week I have been really sick and in bed. I was completely useless, barely able to get up to even take a shower. I missed a week of school, and it’s only my second week at a new university so I really wanted to go. I couldn’t eat anything but salty crackers and Vegemite toast. In just under a week, I lost a dress size. Normally, I’d be thrilled with that, but it was so unhealthy. My skin hurt, my stomach was cramping non-stop, I had a constant headache, and had an awful fever for a few days that kept me up at night bouncing from freezing cold and shivering, to sweating even when it was cold in the house. A few days in, I was feeling a little better, and really had to run an errand. I went out for less than an hour and walked, in total, around 15 mins. After that, I was sweating, out of breath, and could barely think straight or put a sentence together. I was exhausted.

What caused this, I’m not sure. It definitely wasn’t a virus, as my boyfriend didn’t catch it. It could have been food poisoning or it could have just been my body pleading with me to stop treating it so badly. Whatever it was, I definitely don’t want to get it again. I know that many people experience much worse health, or are sick for much longer, but it’s hard not to be selfish when you’re feeling terrible. It felt like I was sick for so long, and I just wanted it to end! I had definitely been taking my health for granted, and this has served as a huge wake up call. I’m feeling so committed to looking after myself, eating well everyday, not just sometimes, to exercising daily, getting up early, going to bed at a decent hour, and most importantly, drinking and going out less. In doing so, I hope to stave off any future bouts of any sickness, or at least equip my body to fight them off much quicker.

On that note, I ordered a salad for lunch yesterday. I almost never eat salad in a restaurant because I always think to myself, ‘Why would I pay for a salad? I can just make this at home, why not eat something delicious while I’m in a restaurant anyway?‘ I seem to forget that salad is delicious. It was so good to be able to eat something other than toast, to actually feel hungry! I never thought I would say that I took feeling hungry, of all things, for granted!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I think that often,  we as young people can forget that we do really need to look after ourselves, that our bodies can take a lot, but that doesn’t mean that they should. So why have I not been looking after myself in order take full advantage of the time in my life when my body can be at its fittest, and has the most potential? Sure, I try to stay in shape, I try to eat healthily, but it’s really more of a sometimes thing. I want to change that and make my body a priority. I’m going to stop taking my health, and my body for granted.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
SO happy to be outside and feeling well!

Iceskating in Budapest

Ok, so I know this post comes a little late in the year to be relevant, but anyway. My family came to visit me a few weeks ago and I decided to take them to Varosliget (City Park) to try iceskating. For us, it’s really amazing to be able ice-skate outside because in Australia, everywhere I’ve ever seen where you can ice-skate has been on an indoor rink. There’s also a little castle right next to the skating area and I mean come on, can it get cooler than that?

I have only skated once or twice in my adult life and that was with a nice, safe railing surrounding the rink for support, so I’m sure you can understand my apprehension skating here with no railing to be seen. But, surprisingly, I didn’t fall once. I definitely almost did once or a hundred times, but I’m pretty impressed with my self. We went in the morning, which is the best time to go if you ask me, especially when the sun is out because everything looks extra beautiful. If you don’t own skates, you can rent them there (as we did), for one or two hours. It was a surprisingly tiring activity, in the best way. I absolutely loved it, and really recommend going if you come to Budapest, or anywhere where you can skate outside!

For more information about opening hours, you can look on the iceskating’s Facebook page as well as their website, which has an option for English (thank God).

IMG_3771.JPG

Best burger in Budapest

Like most, I love a good burger. I could probably eat a burger every day, to be quite honest, and not much is more disappointing than getting really excited when ordering one and it turning out to be not really what you were craving. I’ve definitely had a few like that.

A few days ago, I visited a restaurant called Burger and Love and had one of the best burgers I’ve had in my LIFE and, so far, the best burger I’ve had in Budapest. As some of you may know, good beef can be difficult to come across in restaurants so as soon as I saw the menu, with options such as wagyu from Australia (represent), I knew the meat would be good. I was wrong, it was excellent, exactly what I had been craving (I was a little hungover). It was quite simple, but for me, that’s a good thing – too much in a burger and it becomes almost impossible to eat! You have the option to choose different buns and toppings as well. And let me tell you something, the french fries were AMAZING! Mate, I can’t think of any french fries I’ve had that have been better.

As you can see, presentation is also really cool. You get these wooden trays and they’re really charming. The whole place has a trendy, yet charming vibe to it. Perfect for grabbing dinner with friends. I got a beer, and it was served in a really cool glass and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just a regular Dreher or Arany Aszok (the standard Hungarian beers served), so that was a nice change!

IMG_4159.JPG

So, if you can’t tell, I absolutely recommend trying this place. It’s in the area of the basilica so it’s in the perfect spot to visit after some sightseeing, or just to catch up with some friends (and you can bring your dog)!

I’ll be posting new food posts twice a week, so keep an eye out 🙂

Asian food in Budapest: Buddha Original

I am a huge fan of Asian food and I remember being so disappointed with the lack of quality (and quantity) of it when I was living in Zagreb last year. Here in Budapest, it’s a different story. Every second restaurant is a Thai or wok place. The only trouble is finding a good one.

That brings me to the restaurant I am going to later tonight. It is close to St. Stephen’s Basilica here in Budapest, and there are a couple of other locations around the city as well. It’s called Buddha Original Thai and Wok and, by my standards, it’s amazing. The ingredients are displayed, look so fresh, and taste it as well. When we go there, we usually order way too much because we all want sushi AND another dish because everything looks so good. Extra points for making it extra spicy with fresh chilli if you ask.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset
Salmon maki & spicy chicken maki

I do love sushi, but I’m not a ‘sushi person’ that can eat it all the time, so I really appreciate it when it’s good. This restaurant has some of the best sushi I’ve had anywhere. The spicy chicken is my favourite (sushi purists, don’t hate me).

IMG_4086
Spicy red tuna

Rice dishes are definitely better than noodle dishes at Buddha Original. Chicken with red curry fried rice (extra chilli) is my favourite. If you hadn’t noticed, I love spicy food. For those who don’t enjoy chilli, cashew chicken is really good, as are the soups. The pad thai is disappointing – all sugar, which makes me sad because I LOVE pad thai (very adventurous, I know).

There is an abundance of Asian restaurants throughout Budapest (another favourite is Imazs), but this one has got to be one of the best. It gets extra points for allowing dogs and having home delivery. I also came here with my family (we were 8 people altogether including two young children) and the staff were fantastic!

IMG_3685.JPG
Mijo sleeping on the floor of the restaurant for relevance