Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary (VII)

Category: Travel Blog

Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary (VII)

Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Rudas Bath House – Turkish-style thermal bathing


Of Budapest’s Turkish baths, the 16th century Rudas is arguably the most beautiful. Its ten-meter-high domed ceiling has small pieces of colored glass allowing sharp rays of light to pierce the slightly radioactive water. The centerpiece is the large octagon-shaped pool, which is surrounded by stonewalls which give off a slight echo. Four small corner pools (with various temperatures) and an even smaller cold plunge pool were added during the late 19th-century. There are three saunas; a chamomile-scented two-chamber steam room, a drinking water fountain (warning: the water is hot), and wet massage rooms. 


Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Rudas Bath House – Turkish-style thermal bathing


Located on the Danube bank in Buda, near the Erzsébet Bridge, there is also a fantastic coed rooftop sunbathing area with some of the best views in town: rocky Gellért hill, the St. Gellért statue, the Castle, the Danube, and the bridges. Built when the Ottomans occupied the country, Rudás also has a newer wing, which holds an indoor swimming pool (which is always coed). Prior to the extensive — and much-needed — 2005 renovation, women were not allowed to bathe here (like in Turkish times). 


Now women have their own day to bathe (Tuesdays), while all other weekdays are reserved for men (and swim suits are optional). The clientele during the week is significantly composed of a group of elderly regulars. But weekends are now coed, and the late-night hours (10pm-4am) draw a younger crowd. 


The swimming pool keeps shorter hours from Monday to Wednesday; separate (cheaper) tickets are required.


Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary: Rudas Bath House – How to get there


Bus: 5, 86, 178, 7 (to Rudas or Döbrentei tér)

Tram: 18, 19, 41 (to Döbrentei tér)


Best Bath Houses & Pools in Budapest, Hungary


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Best Hotels in Milan, Italy (II)

A city like Milan offers hundreds of accommodations, ranging from hotels to hostels. Normally it should be no problem to find a place, except when a big fair is going on. In this series of the best hotels in Milan, Italy, we carefully selected a range of accommodations to meet your needs, and in general the not too expensive ones. We chose those that are rated by clients to be good value for money.


5. Hotel Aspromonte (Best Hotels in Milan – Libery style lodging)

The Hotel Aspromonte is considered to be one of the best 3-star hotels of Milan. It is located at the piazza of the same name, a little north east of city center, in a Liberty style building, in between the Loreto (MM1) and Piola (MM2) subway stop. 

The hotel has 19 rooms, elegantly furnished and decorated.

Facilities at Hotel Aspromonte include: Free Wi-Fi, cable radio, sat TV, Sky Pay-Per-View, telephone, air conditioning, newspaper, special agreement garage at 100 meters, special agreement laundry at 20 meters, interior garden.


6. Hostel Piero Rotta (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – Youth Hostel)

The Piero Rotta hostel is situated nearby Monte Stella and it well connected with the city center via subway. The hostel offers up to 40 rooms for six, three, or two visitors. 

Services and facilities at Hostel Piero Rotta include: family rooms, assistance for wheelchair users, breakfast, TV room, common room(s), laundry facilities, Internet access, café / bar, lockers, basic store, garden.


7. Hotel Berna (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – Swiss quality in Milan)

Hotel Berna is considered to be one of the best 4 star hotels of Milan. It is located a bit south of Milan Central Station. The hotel offers 121 rooms, a few of which are in a modern tower building opposite of the main building.

Facilities at Hotel Berna include: full buffet breakfast, internet access from the lobby, tea and coffee spot, minibar with non-alcoholic drinks, High-Speed Internet, different types of pillow, Television, LCD, water-boiler with a large array of tea and coffee, as well as an underground parking open 24 hours per day.


8. Hotel City (Best Hotels in Milan, Italy – Near Central Station)

This Best Western hotel is located north east of city center near the Central Station and convenient if you are interested in the shopping district (Quadrilatero, Corso Buenos Aires). The hotel has recently been renovated and offers 60 rooms. It was reviewed as one of Milan's best 3-star hotels according to the Global Review Index.

Facilities at Hotel City include: indoor garage, free wireless Internet, Television tuned for the main Italian and foreign TV channels, including Mediaset Premium Service free of charge (film and football matches), free meeting area at request, booking facility for brasseries and museums, free baggage storage, laundry service and free hot drinks 24/7, early breakfast and possibility to book a car and a driver for any destination. You will find main international newspapers in the lobby.


Points of Interest in Greece

Greece has a number of popular cities and destinations that truly satisfy any traveler's tastes — be it those looking for history, beaches, wine tasting, medieval structures, nightlife or even archeological digs. It is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, with some major cities or points of interests to include, but not limited to the gems below:


Points of Interest in Greece: Athens

The country's largest, most influential metropolitan center, and also the capital city, Athens, is most known for the Parthenon. Athens was built in honor of the goddess, Athena. It is one of the world's oldest cities, with recorded history dating back nearly 3,400 years.


Points of Interest in Greece: Delphi

Delphi is home to the famous oracle of Apollo, which is a major archaeological site.


Points of Interest in Greece: Mykonos

Mykonos, often compared to Ibiza, touts a cosmopolitan lifestyle, sophisticated nightlife and picturesque villages — all adding to its allure.


Points of Interest in Greece: Thasos

Thasos is one of the smaller islands with a big reputation thanks — in part — to the treasures of its natural beauty, rich history, character and local color.


Points of Interest in Greece: Santorini

Santorini is a volcanic island known for its beautiful views, towns, and sunsets. With its popular black volcanic beaches and infamous Red Beach, Santorini offers picturesque views, eclectic cuisine, a bustling nightlife and excellent wines.


Points of Interest in Greece: Crete

Crete, the largest and most populated of the Greek islands, with a population of over 500,000 inhabitants, boasts the most temperate climate, and mountainous views; it’s no wonder this is the jewel of the Greek Islands tourism list.


With sites such as the Acropolis in Athens; Archaeological sites of Delphi, Olympia and Mystras; the medieval city of Rhodes; and Mount Athos, Greece is also home to approximately 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (8 tentative).


It’s a true paradise of endless possibilities!

Places To Visit In Switzerland (I)

Switzerland is a rather small country and its attractions are close to each other, and therefore can be reached quite easily. Mountain resorts, lakes, forests, castles, museums, and ancient or modern architecture make this federal republic an excellent tourist destination. This series will reveal some of the most amazing places to visit in Switzerland.


1. Nowhere is Switzerland more epitomized than in the wonderful, auto-less Alpine village of Zermatt, home to some of the world’s most spectacular mountains, including the mighty Matterhorn. The Gornergrat-Bahn takes you up to a plateau at 10,171 feet (3,100 m) near the Matterhorn, where you will have fine views of the peak. Here you can enjoy a fine meal or even stay overnight. This railway leaves from near the Zermatt train station. Also, it is well worth your time to take the Klein Matterhorn cable car up to the top station at 12,533 feet (5,265 m). The views are spectacular. This cable car is at the opposite end of the village from the Zermatt train station, and is usually loaded with skiers. This is one of the most unusual and most romantic places to visit in Switzerland. Don’t miss it! Located in Canton Valais.


2. A day spent in Lucerne (Luzern in German) is one of the best you could have on your trip. Besides the spectacular scenery of mountains like Pilatus, you can stroll through the Old Town, across the famous Chapel Bridge, and then take a relaxing afternoon sailing on one of the many ships that depart regularly from the Vierwaldstättersee dock. Luzern offers some of the best shopping anywhere in Switzerland. Located in Canton Lucerne.


3. The Alpine Grand Canyon in the Alpenarena of Flims-Laax-Falera features the Rhine Gorge and its bizarre rock formations, which can be experienced on foot, by car or train. However, one of the best ways to discover this natural wonder is via a river raft. Tours of this area on rafts take place from May through October, with the help of professional guides. The rapids are mild and suitable for almost anyone. This is a great trip and definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland.


4. Chillon Castle near Montreux on Lake Geneva is an ancient fortress at the foothills of the Valais Alps. This is absolutely the most impressive castle in Switzerland, and can be reached by a two-mile walking path from Montreux. It is one of the best-preserved medieval castles found anywhere. Located in Canton Vaud.


5. The Schilthorn, atop Piz Gloria, enables you to marvel at the breathtaking 360-degree panorama of over 200 mountain peaks dominated by the Eiger, Mönch and the Jungfrau. You can either sit inside the world-famous revolving restaurant or stand outside on the observation deck, where portions of the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” were filmed. It’s one of the greatest places to visit in Switzerland on sunny days, but horrible during a snowstorm – and be prepared… some days they won’t let you back down if a storm is too violent down below. Located in Canton Bern

Best Cities to Visit in China (VI): Hong Kong

Best Cities to Visit in China: Hong Kong


What Hong Kong lacks in size it makes up for with sheer sophistication. There's nowhere in China that comes close to matching the territory's cosmopolitan population or luxurious modernity. Incredibly dense and urban and yet with moments of unexpected natural beauty, the territory is a proudly unique space in the otherwise vast expanse of the PRC.


But the former British colony is part of China all the same, albeit with entirely different economic, legal and education systems. Because of this, visiting Hong Kong is bound to be a very different experience than visiting the mainland; indeed, for first timers it will probably be much easier to navigate.


But don't let this seeming familiarity fool you into thinking there's nothing left to discover here – Hong Kong still has plenty of stones waiting to be turned over. 


Best Cities to Visit in China: Hong Kong


What's here? Hong Kong is immediately associated with shopping; browse through the numerous shops in Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Causeway Bay. On the southeastern side of Hong Kong Island is Stanley Market, a good place to pick up tourist knick-knacks. In terms of activities, taking the tram up Victoria Peak and the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour are certainly on the must-do list.


Less known but equally appealing are the Museum of History, the various Buddhist and Taoist temples, and the hiking trails scattered across the islands and New Territories. And, of course, no trip to Hong Kong would be complete without a taste of dim sum.


Best Cities to Visit in China: Hong Kong


Practicalities: Unlike the PRC, most visitors will not need a visa for a short-term stay. Remember that Hong Kong has its own currency, the Hong Kong dollar.


Best Cities to Visit in China: Hong Kong


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Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island (IV)

To explore golf on Vancouver Island, there's a number of ways you might want to approach it. The main golfing areas to consider: Victoria; Cowichan Valley; Parksville / Qualicum Beach; and Courtenay / Campbell River. If your time is condensed, you might want to focus on one region. If you plan a longer stay, consider the Vancouver Island Golf Trail, which stretches about 155 miles (250 km) from Victoria to Campbell River.


16. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Courtenay / Campbell River

Now, as the golf trail has led you roughly halfway up Vancouver Island, you've arrived where you can really weigh in on bragging rights at the salmon fishing capital of the world. Golf Vancouver Island invites you to Tins and Skins" where you can tally up your best score on the golf course, and then capture the big fish, (salmon and halibut) and see who really gets the best numbers. Incidentally, rental cars are offered from Victoria to Comox with no drop off fees, so you can end your island adventure by flying out of the Comox Airport.


17. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Crown Isle Golf & Country Club — This platinum-ranked Graham Cooke designed championship course, within a master-planned resort, is tucked under the shadows of the massive Comox Glacier and the beautiful Beaufort Mountains — just five minutes from an international airport. Its also just 40 minutes from the Island's top skiing. Luxurious accommodations are available in the Villas at Crown Isle or in the spectacular West Coast architecture resort centre complete with waterfall and stunning Mahogany carved staircase. Amenities include a Golf Academy— with superb driving range — practice bunkers, chipping and putting greens, as well as a Golf Shop, Fitness Centre, convention facilities and classic car museum. Select from family-friendly to elegant fine dining options, and a cigar and cognac room.


18. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Storey Creek Golf Club — The Les Furber designed hidden gem has been awarded a prestigious four-and-a-half star ranking by Goff Digest, and voted the third Best Public Course in BC by Vancouver Sun newspaper Sequoia Springs "The Garden Course" — as you might guess from the name 'Sequoia' from the California Redwood tree — you'll find a well-sculpted course lined with hundreds of the majestic trees. On the 12th hole, shoot to an island green back dropped by flowers, and surrounded by a water garden with Koi fish.


19. Best Golf Clubs on Vancouver Island: Glacier Greens Golf Course — If you're flying out of Comox, right by the airport, this championship facility is open year-round with full amenities, great golf and fabulous food.


Book your next island golf getaway to Vancouver Island where you don't have to imagine where to place the clubhouse; it’s already there!


Museums at the Wolfsburg Castle in Germany (I)

The Wolfsburg Castle, with its ornamental gables and the onion tower which dates back in the 16th century, is one of the most magnificent architectural marvels of the Northern Germany. Inside the castle you will find: the City Gallery, the City Museum, the Kunstverein Wolfsburg, the Heidersberger Institude, as well as the Teaching Workshop (regional teacher training). Keep reading to discover the museums at the Wolfsburg Castle in Germany. All of them are worth a visit and this is your chance to find out more about their amazing history.


1. Museums at the Wolfsburg Castle in Germany: City Gallery

The City Gallery of Wolfsburg is an institution for contemporary art located in the opulent Renaissance structure of Castle Wolfsburg. Historical architecture and contemporary art create an exciting dialogue in the exhibit rooms. Since the art offers specific insights, alludes to alternatives and helps to understand the problems of our reality, which are becoming more and more complex, the City Gallery of Wolfsburg constitutes a forum from which impulses for the future emanate. A richly varied palette of events is available for all ages. Special focuses can be found in institution’s exhibitions under the motto “Young Art in an Ancient Castle”; the Art Prize of the City of Wolfsburg “A Young City viewing Young Art”; printer’s workshop; cooperative projects with local artists; a collection with paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs and videos.


2. Museums at the Wolfsburg Castle in Germany: City Museum

“Living history” is the motto of the City Museum in the Castle of Wolfsburg. In the historical ambience of the coach houses, between the defensive walls and the Fachwerk, this museum presents the history of the castle, the region and the city, in hundreds of original exhibits, from the foundation pile of the Castel Wolfsburg to a complete hair salon from the 1950s. Listening stations provide music and testimonies from contemporary witnesses, while interactive media and films facilitate a very personal encounter with this special city. The City Museum is more than a historical museum; it uses imagination and entertainment to present a comprehensive portrait of the very special city of Wolfsburg. At the same time its exhibitions and castle tours provide information about the history of the Castle Wolfsburg, an architectural monument to the North German Renaissance.


Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada (III)

Toronto is the most populated metropolis in Canada and the regional capital of Ontario. It is situated in Southern Ontario upon the northwestern coastline of the famous Lake Ontario.  In this series we will review the best accommodation in Toronto, Canada.


6. Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada: Hotel Victoria


It's hands-down the best budget hotel in Toronto, with its excellent downtown location and low price. It's right in the middle of the action, close to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Union Station, Eaton Centre and many restaurants and pubs.


Don't expect much in terms of amenities and service. We did say it was a budget hotel. 


7. Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada: Metropolitan Hotel


The Metropolitan Hotel offers both an excellent downtown location and good customers service at an affordable price. Primarily housing business travelers, it nonetheless welcomes families and is close to public transit, the Eaton Centre, the AGO, City Hall, and Nathan Phillips Square, among many.


The hotel also offers good dining options at Hemispheres, with an eclectic international menu; and Lai Wah Heen, one of the city's top contemporary Chinese restaurants. 


Do take advantage of the complimentary downtown limousine service in the mornings. 


8. Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada: Novotel Toronto


Its downtown location near the Esplanade is ideal for exploring the city on foot. The Hockey Hall of Fame, St. Lawrence Market, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, various theatres and the Eaton Centre are all nearby.


9. Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada: Soho Metropolitan


This modern, elegant 92-room hotel lets guests make themselves comfortable with a flip of a switch, whether it's to open the curtains, turn on the 'Do not Disturb' sign or heat up the marble bathroom floor.


King-size beds, natural down duvets, and Italian linens ensure a good night sleep.


Soho Metropolitan is popular with celebrities especially during the Toronto International Film Festival. Its 4,000 square-foot penthouse, with its rooftop terrace and eight-person hot tub, has been occupied by Madonna, Jay Z, Rihanna, P Diddy and ColdPlay among others.

Most Important Temples to Visit in China (III): Lama Temple

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Lama Temple


Given today's frosty relations between Beijing and the 14th Dalai Lama, it may come as a surprise to learn that the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism served as China's official state religion not just once, but twice. The first time was under Kublai Khan and the Mongols in the 13th century. While the legendary leader was an immediate convert, the rest of the Mongol people would only follow suite much later in the 16th century. 


The second time was under the Manchus of the Qing dynasty, who sponsored the development of the religion not because of any deep-seated beliefs, but rather, as one emperor put it, in order to "pacify the Mongols."


Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Lama Temple


This explains the existence of the prominent Lama Temple (Yunhe Gong) in Beijing – and, what's more, its close ties to the royal family. The complex was first built in the early 18th century (Qing dynasty) when it was used as a residence for court eunuchs and the future Yongzheng emperor. In 1722, half of the complex was converted into a lamasery; the other half remained a court residence. The temple was granted imperial status after Yongzheng died in 1735. 


The five main halls here remain one of the most active places of worship in Beijing and contain some notable statuary inside, including a 60-foot-high representation of the Maitreya (Future) Buddha and some esoteric tantric figures. 


Yongzheng lived in the Hall of Everlasting Protection as a prince; his coffin was later placed here after death. 


Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Lama Temple – How do I get there?


Address: 28 Yonghegong Avenue (雍和宮大街28号)


Metro: Lama Temple


Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada (II)

Toronto is the most populated metropolis in Canada and the regional capital of Ontario. It is situated in Southern Ontario upon the northwestern coastline of the famous Lake Ontario.  In this series we will review the best accommodation in Toronto, Canada.


4. Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada: Fairmont Royal York


When the Queen comes to Toronto, she stays at this hotel. Built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929, this castle-like building stands out in the midst of modern skyscrapers on Front Street. It's within walking distance of many of Toronto's theatres and attractions. In fact, you can get to many without stepping outside via the extensive underground PATH system, which originated with the hotel's pedestrian passageway to Union Station.


The hotel has 1,365 guest rooms, including 191 suites. But even if you're not a guest, visit the hotel to check out the luxurious interior or better yet, honor a royal tradition with Afternoon Tea in the Library Bar (weekends only) or splurge at their fine dining restaurant, EPIC.


Useless Trivia: Arthur Hailey stayed here and studied its operations around the clock while researching his book and movie 'Hotel'. Other famous guests include Winston Churchill, Jackie Chan, George Lucas and Wayne Gretzky.


5. Best Accommodation in Toronto, Canada: Gladstone Hotel


The Gladstone is the oldest continually operating hotel in Toronto. 10 years ago, a typical guest-turned-resident would have been someone down on his luck, possibly recently released from a nearby mental institution or detox facility. Now, this Victorian hotel, built in 1889, is restored to its former glory, and a typical guest at this gay-positive hotel is likely to be affluent and culturally inclined, with a desire to be part of the West Queen West neighborhood’s vibrant nightlife.


The original, hand-operated elevator takes guests up to the rooms, each one unique and designed by a different artist.


Like most hotels built in this era, the rooms are small, meant only to be slept in after socializing in the spacious common areas. These high-ceilinged, open spaces are put to good use, displaying art exhibits and hosting performances and community events. 


Though located in the hotel, the exhibits, chosen by an in-house curator, are open to the public from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.


Socializing is a big part of what the hotel is about and The Gladstone Café and Melody Bar are popular with locals.