Travel Tuesday: Day Trips from Prague

As I’ve stated several times over, Prague is beautiful and though I’m obviously biased, it is one my favorite European cities. But, that doesn’t mean that your visit to the Czech Republic should stop there. With just a short bus ride, you can check out some other cities CZ has to offer. I unfortunately only got to visit two of them, but I did have great time visiting both.

Cesky Krumlov 

Approximately a three hour bus ride from Prague, Cesky Krumlov is often described as a “fairy tale” town and is rumored to be the place that inspired the setting of the Disney film Pinocchio. It’s the absolute definition of the word quaint, with its horizon dotted with auburn rooftops on either side of theVltava river that winds through the town. Here’s an abbreviated itinerary of what I did during my trip:

Breakfast at MLS Creperie – It’s a small space, so be prepared to wait a bit! We sipped on some tea and coffee while we waited.

Climb to the top of the castle tower – Weird fact: The castle has bears. Like, roaming around in this trench-like area. Apparently they were initially used as protection, but “aristocrats” have continued to provide the town with bears as a present. (Who are these modern day aristocrats?!) This practice is controversial as some people feel that there is no reason these bears should be kept in captivity for the amusement of tourists and of keeping up this tradition. Anyhow, you can get a pretty good view of them if they decide to come out or just the town in general.



Explore the Castle Gardens – The spring or summer (or fall like I did!) is the perfect time to take a stroll through the garden’s labyrinth and sit by the fountain. So peaceful.


Like I said, this is an abbreviated itinerary, if I had the chance to go back, I’d go rafting down the river and check out the museums. All the more reason to return…

Another cool trip (and a shorter ride than Cesky Krumlov), is Karlovy Vary, which is actually a sister city to Carlsbad, CA, which I’ve never been to, but sure. Known as a “spa city” this town is known for hosting visitors who want to relax in the mineral springs and go skiing. (Read: lots of wealthy people).

Sip a cup of tea at Republica Coffee – Or, you know, have a cup of coffee

Buy a souvenir cup and drink up some of the mineral water Karlovy Vary is famous for – It, um, an acquired taste? It’s supposed to have wonderful healing properties, so try it at least once! And if it’s not for you, at least you have a cool shot glass to take home!


Hike (or take the tram) up to the Diana Observation Tower – With a little bit of sweat and determination (only if you hike, you weirdo), you’ll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the whole city. You’re also in the middle of the forest, so it’s a nice time to take a breath and relax for a bit.


Relax in a Mineral Bath….If You Show up on a Weekday at Spa 5 *face palm* – Like….who closes of their main attraction on the weekend. So frustrating, but we were determined to make the best of it and utilized their whirlpools and jets. It was a community pool vibe for sure, but lemons into lemonade, right?

Dinner and Drinks at Pepe Lopez – By no means an authentic Mexican dining experience, the staff was really friendly and their drinks were spot on and reasonably priced. Bonus points for iPad menus.


This is just the start, people. There are tons of cute Czech towns waiting for you to visit (jk lol probably not, but still go!)






Travel Tuesday: 8 Hours in Copenhagen

A brief history of my love for Copenhagen: It all started last spring. I was having a rough time and had started to read some not quite self-help books, but kind of. It wasn’t on purpose, I’d just come across some recommendations and needed something to read. First, it was The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight. Really transformative, read it if you haven’t. Then, a couple books later I ended up reading The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. I don’t know if these two books are ever talked about in the same context , but they are what helped pull me out of a very bad slump.

In The Little Book of Hygge, Wiking talks about the Danish concept of hygge, which loosely translates to coziness akin to being curled up on a couch reading a good book during a thunderstorm. The tenets of hygge largely focus on the “little things in life” – being comfortable, spending time with people you like, and eating good food. How could I not be on board with that? So I’ve become low key obsessed with the idea of hygge and how I can create a hyggelig atmosphere everywhere I go. So, when it was time to book my flight back to NYC and I found a flight with an 8 hour layover in Copenhagen, I knew I had to do it. (And by found, I mean, sought out on purpose).

What does one do for 8 hours the capital city of Denmark? Let me tell you…

Have Breakfast at Next Door Cafe 

I just had a simple breakfast of bacon and eggs with some tea, but the best part of Next Door Cafe is their quirky decor. From clear glass tables adorned with mementos from diners past underneath like a makeshift gallery (think:notes, tickets, and someone even managed to stick in a pack of birth control pills).  Such a cool vibe and a great way to start the day.


Stop by Tivoli Gardens  

A historic and fully operational amusement park, it was especially cute with all of its winter decorations. I didn’t go inside, because as much as I love amusement parks, I was on a time crunch. Took a couple of photos and kept it moving.


Take a photo in Nyhavn 

This is where every tourist (myself included) takes their standard “Copenhagen picture.” The canal, the vibrant, colorful buildings, it’s absolutely worth stopping for the photo op.


Take a Canal Cruise

An ultimate tourist activity, but if you’re short on time, it’s a great way to get some information about the city and historical context. The tour I joined was right there in Nyhavn and was about an hour long. It was a little chilly sitting outside, but I felt that I was in a prime photo-taking spot. We passed by the famous Little Mermaid statue (a bit disappointing because it’s so tiny) and went underneath some precariously low bridges, and just really got to see parts of the city that I probably wouldn’t have gotten the chance to on foot or by public transportation. The last canal cruise I took was in Amsterdam, but for some reason I don’t really remember much of it…


Visit Freetown Christiana

If you’ve been around for a while, you know I LOVE graffiti and street art. It’s my absolute favorite and there’s loads of it in Freetown Christiana. It’s actually this semi-autonomous town that was founded in the 70s (a vibe you’ll pick up right away) that is home to art galleries, music spaces, and a few places to eat.


Relax and have a Chai Latte at Espresso House 

Okay, so Espresso House is a chain, which is generally frowned upon on The Bronx Socialite. (*accepts stern talking to & finger wagging & judgment*) This is the very last thing I did before heading to the airport. I was tired. Sue me. I cozied up with my notebook and did a bit of writing while sipping on my latte. It was a nice way to wrap up my short trip to Copenhagen.


Was 8 hours enough? Of course not. But it was a really great way to spend what could have been 8 hours stuck in the airport. Bleh. I can’t wait to go back.

Travel Tuesday: Vienna

Booked during a night fueled by hard cider and champagne (obviously a winning combination), to say that my trip to Vienna was spontaneous might be an understatement. Literally booked at like 8 pm to leave at 9 am the next morning. (Shout out to friends who will go an adventures like this with you! Hi Lexie!) Such is the beauty of traveling in Europe.

At first, Vienna felt very similar to Berlin. (It could just be the fact that everyone speaks German…) I was not a fan of Berlin, so I was wary. But it was actually really refreshing to be on a trip that wasn’t packed with a full itinerary.

Where We Stayed 

My friend found what I’ll go on record as saying is the hostel with coolest room that I’ve ever stayed in. Our room at Hostel Ruthensteiner was a 6 person dorm that was Sigmund Freud-themed. It was complete with beautifully painted lockers where you could write down your dreams , a chaise lounge for spilling out your innermost thoughts to unsuspecting fellow travelers, and some vintage globes and maps.

The common area had musical instruments for visitors to pick up and play and an assortment of games, which we took advantage of on a chill Saturday evening. Oh and they had, by far, the friendliest staff when we checked in.


What We Did

Lots and lots of sightseeing. We didn’t pay to go in any of the palaces, but they were nice photo ops:

  • Schönbrunn Palace – Lots of walking to the top, but a nice place to sit and take in the view for a bit.



  •  Belvedere Palace – There’s a sprawling, intricately decorated garden that was impossible for me to capture it properly on camera, but I can’t even imagine how beautiful it must be in the spring blooming with flowers.



  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral – Located in the city center, you can’t miss this towering cathedral. For some reason, we were never around it in the daytime, but it’s architecture is reminiscent of Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest I mentioned in my last post.

Haus der Musik 

A huge, interactive music museum that allows visitors to not only learn about Vienna’s rich history as a home to many talented classic musicians, but also make music of their own. It was a very cool experience, even as someone who isn’t into classical music.



Super cool building that was designed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who is well known for using bright colors and rejecting “straight lines” in his work.


Vienna Nachmarkt

Part flea market, part food market. We had some really great breakfast here. See next section 🙂

Where We Ate (and Drank!)

Travel Shack Vienna

Our first night we decided on a whim to sign up for a pub crawl, which was slated to start at Travel Shack Vienna. Hijinks ensued because the website was very unclear that it would be starting there on this date instead of some other location we went to first. (Read the fine print VERY carefully. Then, read it again!) Anyway, we ended up there, which we were very wary. Let me explain.

If you’re familiar with the college bars, Bar None or Continental in the East Village in NYC, it’s that sort of vibe. If you’re not, picture: bras hanging from the rafters, bros ordering pitchers of beers, crowds so thick you can barely move, shots with “risqué” names. Really not my scene. We were almost convinced that the pub crawl was a scam because there wasn’t any clear indicator that anyone was in charge. People we asked looked at us like we were crazy.

Eventually we saw someone with a list and asked if she was with the pub crawl and she said she was. She introduced to the host (who was a super chill guy.) However, as the night wore on, he informed us that not enough people had signed up and we’d have to reschedule or request a refund. At this point, we’d already gotten drinks of our own so we decided that we’d reschedule for the time being. It was disappointing, but the host ended up treating us to a free shot, which was nice of him.

We thought the night might end up being a wash, until they announced that there was karaoke in the next room, which is really just a sign from the universe that we were meant to be there. We were one of the first ones in there, singing from a microphone that came down from the ceiling. Whole room karaoke can be hit or miss, but really everyone who came into the room just ended up being part of one giant musical act. It ended up being a really great time.

Cafe Landtmann

This was a very cute (but not particularly cheap) cafe that apparently Freud used to frequent. We stopped in for some tea and pastries, which was nice, but nothing really breathtaking. I also am not a coffee drinker, so I didn’t partake in the famous Viennese coffee.

Stella (at Naschmarket)

I love breakfast, especially when it comes with a bunch of extras. I ordered the Viennese breakfast, which consisted of: a soft boiled egg, cheese, a croissant, an entire bread basket, and tea. A total carb overload, but lucky for me, I don’t care about shit like that.

I don’t know that I would necessarily return to Vienna any time soon, but I definitely enjoyed my time there.

Side note: I really really miss croissants. Where are the best croissants in the Bronx?







Travel Tuesday: Budapest

Happy Travel Tuesday! This week I’ll tell you about my trip to Budapest, Hungary.

As it turns out, I’m really horrible at geography and I’m even worse at history. (I was asleep a lot…) Teenage Lisa really wasn’t interested in European history and College Lisa decided to take History of New York , so it’s fair to say there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge of European history, including the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. When I decided to embark on this journey to Prague, I imagined lots of gray. Just…everywhere. Buildings, clothing, food, whatever. I’d done my research (into brunch spots and coffeeshops, obviously the important stuff) but I figured those were the exceptions. Instead, Prague turned out to be one of the most beautiful cities I visited while in Europe.

Now, Budapest.

Budapest looks the way I thought Prague would. There’s a lot of gray. Where I was traveling, of course. I can’t speak to the entire city, but certainly not as colorful as Prague is. The two cities are often compared and whether that’s fair or not, I can’t say, but Prague was my point of reference, so there it is. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t beautiful in its own way, though, quite the opposite. Enough prologue, though, let’s get to it.

Where We Stayed

After my week long solo trip to Spain and Portugal, it was nice to go on this trip with my friends and Husband. We decided to stay at an Airbnb in the Josefov neighborhood. It was a super cozy space and since we were only there for the weekend, it was exactly what we needed.

What We Did 


This building is huge! Also, it’s pretty cool to look at, which is really all we could do. We only spent a couple of minutes here.


Castle Hill

Home to Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Holy Trinity Column. This is the go-to spot in Budapest for tourists. Be sure to take the funicular for a cutesy (albeit short) experience.

My personal favorite was the Holy Trinity Column. We didn’t go inside, but the colors and architecture of this building were really beautiful and unlike anything I’ve seen before.

Fisherman’s Bastion is a cool piece of architecture as well, but I was more interested in its maze-like passages that made it seem like I was in some sort of medieval labyrinth.

Buda Castle has the most amazing view of the city. We happened to get there as the sun was setting and the street lights were coming on and it was gorgeous.

Thermal Baths

You can’t come to Budapest and not try at least one thermal bath. We managed to squeeze in visits to two. These thermal baths are said to have healing properties. I can’t say that I necessarily felt healed, but given the fact that it was cold and snowy the entire weekend we were here, it was definitely a welcome reprieve from the weather.

The first one we went to was Gellert Spa and Bath. Simply put, it was a fantastic time. There are different rooms that house different baths of varying temperatures. There are also steam rooms, saunas, and even ice baths. (You have to try it! I’m not saying you’ll like it, but definitely worth trying once in your life.) On top of that, it’s really just beautiful. The green and blue hues and fountains make for a really luxurious time.

The second one we went to (in the snow) was the Szechenyi Bath. This is one of the famed outdoor baths, with good reason. I was really nervous to go out into the snow in my bikini to make it down the stairs to the pool, but what a unique experience. The bath, of course, is super warm, but with the steam rising from the pool, you’ll quickly forget that it’s freezing outside and just get to relax. Getting out of course, is a mission. Inside, I’ll say that I liked Gellert Spa and Bath’s offerings a bit more, but Szechenyi also had some cool features. In addition to steam rooms and saunas, there was a color room and showers that alternated cold and hot water.  Definitely a can’t miss if you’re in Budapest.


Where I Ate (and Drank!)


Stika is the sort of place that wouldn’t be out of place in gentrified Brooklyn. Minimalist decor, tons of different coffee options made by the bearded and tattooed barista, etc. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my brunch here, I’m just painting a picture for you. I got my brunch go-to, eggs benedict and chai latte. The eggs benedict were great, the chai latte was just okay. There was a bit of a wait, but not too unbearable. It was a nice start to the day.

Steg Fish Bar

I read about this place on Great Trips’ Instagram and it came in handy when we were starving after visiting Gellert. We wanted to try something Hungarian, but something also a little modern and Steg was the best of both worlds. I ordered  fish soup and a wrap. Both were pretty good, but I think I liked the fish soup more. It was something new and had a nice kick. Bonus points for having games on the tables and for fantastic service.

Szimpla Kert

Budapest is famous for what are known as ruin bars. Started out in abandoned, run down buildings, they’re known for their cheap drinks and quirky decor. Szimpla Kert is credited as being one of the very first ruin bars. It’s really a sight to behold, with art, signs, objects, and lights everywhere – on the walls, ceilings, every single nook and cranny. It’s wild. There are also live performances, but we didn’t get to see any when we were there. We were there on a Saturday night, so it was pretty busy, but not packed to the point where you couldn’t move.


Budapest was such a fun trip and really took me by surprise. I can’t wait to visit again in the warmer weather.






The Prague Socialite: Madrid

As a proud New Yorker (and Bronxite obvs), I really love visiting other cities. I’m not the kind of person that necessarily wants to escape city life when I travel. Sometimes I’m not really that impressed because I’m constantly comparing it to NYC, but other times, I just fall in love with a city’s energy, and that was my experience during my recent trip to Madrid.

I originally wanted to go to Barcelona, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go in the midst of all the stuff happening with the possible Brexit-like situation. Plus, I knew I wanted to go to Lisbon and it was simply easier (read: cheaper) to do so from Madrid. Basically, I went in with zero expectations.

Where I Stayed

I stayed in a 12 person mixed dorm at Safestay Madrid. By far, this has to be one of my best hostel experiences thus far. As a solo traveler, and one who can be particularly hesitant to socialize with others, sometimes you want to link up with someone else to check out somewhere cool, go to a bar, or just take lots of cute pictures of you as proof that you were actually there. This hostel just had a really great vibe that allowed people to meet and socialize. A huge plus for me, which I think made a huge difference, is that the events they run are hosted by the hostel employees. So you get to see them again and meet people who are actually staying at your hostel.

What I Did

Even though I was on vacation, I was still on a pretty tight budget, so I looked up free things to do in Madrid and came across this really great Time Out article that was pretty much my guide for the entire trip. My timing was actually pretty perfect because I got to visit the major museums for free.

Museo del Prado is free from 5-7 pm. You have to wait in line (I was on line for at least a half hour) because people line up very early, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s a huge museum with many classic paintings, you could definitely visit more than once to really see and appreciate everything.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (free from 7-9 pm and from 3-7 on Sundays), which had some pieces from Dali and Picasso, as well as some really cool experimental art by William Kentridge.

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (free on Mondays from 12-4pm) had a mix of classic art and contemporary art. They also had a really great gift shop.

El Templo de Debod -An actual ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and gifted to Spain as a thank you for their help in saving the Abu Simbel temples (or so Wikipedia tells me). Do yourself a favor and go at sunset. It was beautiful!



Palacio de Cristal – located in the famous Retiro Park, which is beautiful in and of itself, the palace is this beautiful, structure tucked away in a quiet location in the park. I opted not to go inside, but I think it’s even better to just appreciate it from the outside. That or I’m just a cheap bastard. Whatever.


Retiro Park – A huge park with all kinds of different amenities and things to do, kind of like our Pelham Bay Park (except, to be honest even more beautiful, but I mean there’s a palace in it!)




Where I Ate 

Alhambra – I found this place on Yelp after discussing with my new friends I met at the hostel how we all wanted to try paella during our time in Spain. In addition to the paella, the three of us decided to split a grilled meat platter for two. Oh, and a pitcher of sangria of course. Everything was soooo good, but there was so much of it, we had to take it to go.  Right when we thought we were ready to pack up and go, the waitress brought over three extra glasses of sangria for free! This is something I could definitely get used to.

El Tigre – One of my friends (Shout out to Cindy!) recommended this place and it’s where I had my final meal in Madrid before heading out to Lisbon. For the price of one drink, you’re served up a huge plate of tapas. The catch is that you don’t get to choose, but it didn’t matter. It was all delicious. Another cool thing is that the plates vary from person to person. I was served potatoes, bread and cheese, croquettes, and once I finished that, I was given a plate of stuffed mushrooms. Spain just really knows how to do hospitality. It totally changed my view on tapas.

La Campana – Just off of Plaza Mayor is a small, almost hole in the wall type of place.  The  tour guide of the walking tour I took recommended it for their squid sandwiches. It’s really just calamari on a baguette-type of bread, but it was a fresh, cheap, and filling lunch.


All in all, I think Madrid has been one of my favorite trips to date. Definitely my best solo trip thus far. Below are some other cool pictures I took while I was there. Enjoy!

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The Prague Socialite: Ciao! Milan & Florence

A couple weeks ago, I got to visit Milan and Florence for my friend Elisha’s birthday.  Obviously, I was excited to celebrate her birthday, but also of course to stuff my face with delicious Italian food and drink allllll the wine.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who say that Florence is one their favorite cities. It’s not hard to see why – the architecture is gorgeous, the food is amazing, and you can walk everywhere.

We only spent a few hours in Milan and we saw the Duomo and walked around a bit to see some of the shopping. It was okay.  It’s very much a shopping city, and everyone is so well dressed, but since I wasn’t there to shop for luxury brand name items, there wasn’t a whole lot for us to do.


Where I Stayed:

We stayed at the Locanda Daniel hostel, which is just a short walk from the train station. It’s a small hostel, and you get that cozy feeling as though you’re staying at someone’s house. They also had probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on at a hostel. It’s a no frills kind of place, but it was perfect for the three nights we stayed there.

What I Did: 

We saw the Duomo, (whose detail is absolutely mind-blowing), the lush Giardino di Boboli, and of course stopped by the Galleria dell’Accademia to see the statue of David. Despite seeing pictures of the statue of David throughout my life, it was actually really impressive to see in real life. Unlike, the  Mona Lisa, which was really underwhelming when I saw it in person (like 1,000 feet away -_-).

One of my favorite things we did was actually just watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo while drinking a bottle of wine we’d brought with us.

What I Ate:

I ate so much pizza and pasta, I definitely can’t name all of the places I went to, but I’d say the best pizza I had was at a cute little restaurant called Simbiosi. It was not too far from our hostel and had a really cozy ambience. Another plus is that their ingredients were organic, which was a nice bonus (considering that when I’m eating pizza, I am really not concerned about my health!)

We also stopped by the central market for breakfast. Actually, it was only breakfast in name, being the first meal of the day in the morning. I went straight for a cannoli and some lemon gelato. It was amazing.

To be totally honest, Italy hasn’t ever been high on my list of places to go, but of course I’m so glad I went.

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