Last winter we decided to celebrate new year's eve in Krakow, Poland. We were looking for a city we haven't visited yet, and which was afordable at the same time. Without any big expectations we flew to Krakow. I didn't have any clue about the country, nor the city before my arrival at the airport. Our gentle cabdriver Jozef drove us to our hotel at Jozefa street, which was located in Kazimierz, the old jewish neighbourhood.

Krakow is  a small city. I'd recommend it as a lovely weekend trip of 3-4 days, which would be long enough to discover the beauties in and around the city.

My favorite part of Krakow was Kazimierz, because it was full of street art, new discoveries around every corner. It was the right mix of old historical buildings and modern art. Kazimierz is very lively at night. There are plenties of bars, and a big diversity of restaurants. I'd recommend to try every single polish dish in the city, because their food is amazingly delicious. I'd go for Pierogis [polish dumplings] any day! Check out the restaurant "Starka" at Jozefa Street, a lovely arty restaurant, which serves polish dishes. great wines and home-made vodkas.

The main square of the city, would be the place that reflects the image of Krakow the most. It's a huge place surrounded by old cathedrals and historical buildings. I think it's the biggest square i've ever been at. Because we were visting for new year's eve, the whole place was covered with food stalls, and a big christmas market [yes, after Christmas]. Same as Kazimierz, the square is surrounded by hundreds of restaurants and all kind of bars, jazz clubs, sports pubs, and old polish tavernes. The Royal Castle is just inbetween Kazimierz and the city's main square.

While in Krakow, I guess it's a must to visit Auschwitz, or in polish Oświęcim. Visiting a concentration camp was still on my check list. During highschool we had to read so many books about 2nd world war, and the concentration camps across Europe, that I had to witness this monsterous place on my own. Our cabdriver Jozef picked us up at our hotel, and drove us to Auschwitz, which took us about 50 minutes by car. The guided tour lasts approximately 2 hours. After Auschwitz you get another short busride which will bring you to Birkenau. Visiting both camps takes half a day. 

After Auschwitz Jozef took us to Wieliczka Salt Mine which is located nearby Krakow. The Wieliczka mine is often referred to as the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland. Now it's hard to tell if the salt mine is a tourist trap or not. Some rooms, mostly at the bottom of the salt mine, were quiet impressive, considering that all the statues,  chandeliers, stairs, have been carved out of saltblocks. The floor, the ceilings ... they're all made out of salt. The negative part of the saltmine was the guided tour. We had a lovely guide, but the tour just lasted too long. 

Sadly I can't tell what Krakow looks like in summer. We had some pretty cold and grey days in Poland, but they were the right match for the new year's eve vibe, and our visit of Auschwitz. Depsite the freezing weather, Kaziemierz was always busy at night, same for the main square area. We met a couple of polish people, who they were all super welcoming. It's a cheap city, so it allows you to have a good time, and enjoy your stay without carrying too much about your wallet.


Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was the first city I visited on the asian continent. Those were my first steps in a country, in which i couldnt read a sign, and maybe the first time i felt a culture shock. I really liked it though.

Most people I know prefer visting Thailand, Japan or Indonesia. But i gotta tell you, that Hong Kong has A LOT to offer! We spent 5 or 6 nights in HK, and those 6 days kept as busy for every single second.

Here are my favorite spots I'd recommend to everyone who visits Hong Kong for the first time:

Victoria Peak
The classic skyline from the top of a mountain. From that viewing point you get a look all over Hong Kong, the bay and all of Kowloon. Everything else besides the view feels very touristic, the restaurants, the crowds, and the waiting line for the escalator. Go up there, take some photos, enjoy the skyline, and get off again.:)

Lantau Island
Lantau Island is famous for its Big Buddha, and the way to reach the island is a pretty adeventurous one as well. You can hike all the way up to the Buddha which will take you a couple hours i guess, or you take the hanging cable-car, which still takes around 10 to 15 minutes to reach the touristic area. But expect a huge waiting line to reach the lift. Next time i'm gonna visit HK, i will plan a whole day on hiking the Lantau Isaland. If you're afraid of heights, it will be a fun ride. I had to close my eyes a couple times. ;) Once you passed the souvenir-shops & the food village, you can walk your way up a hundred of stairs til you reach the Big Buddha statue. From up there you get a breathtaking view of the Island. Expect lots of tourists though...but still.. totally worth the trip!

Lei Yue Mun
Lei Yue Mun isn't the hippest or cleanest area of Hong Kong, but it's a great place to take authentic photos of HK. Actually it's a big fish market, surrounded by boat houses, and tons of fisher boats. Most people you will meet over there are locals. The day we visited Lei Yue Mun, we were pretty much the only tourists.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
This walk uphill was one of the most memorable moments I had in HK. You can feel the serenety while walking up those the thousands of stairs til you reach the monastry. You're surrounded by nature, and it takes you away from the busy city life you mostly experience in Hong Kong. It's en exhausting path for sure, and it feels like an endless path. The monastery itself isn't that impressiv at all, but it's rather the path with the then thousands buddha statues in line who will lead you to the top of the mountain.

Victoria Harbour
Trust me that the skyline of Hong Kong you will see from the Kowloon bay at Victoria Harbour, is far more impressive than then one you know from Brooklyn of Manhattan. I remember that we walked towards the bay after sunset, feeling a light wind, and hearing the sound of the waves, and the huge concrete jungle ahead of us felt like a blast that moment. Every evening there's a laser show, which actually is the cheesy part of the game. Lots of people meet up at the Victora Harbour to observe that laser show. Forget about the laser show, and enjoy the HK skyline!

Lan Kwai Fong
Lan Kwai Fong is a big block on the Hong Kong Island where nightlife happens. Bad thing about it, it's filled with expats and tourists. The only asian people you are going to meet, might be tourists from other countries. The good thing is, it's easy to find, it's always busy: every night! There's a daily happy hour, where you pay 5 euro [7$] for 2 gin&tonics. All the bars are grouped within one block, so you never get lost, no matter how drunk you get. Just above Lan Kwai Fong, there's Wyndham Street, and Hollywood Road. Those two streets are packed with restaurants and bars as well. One of the popular clubs called "Dragon-I" is located on that road. 

There are plenties of temples all around the city. Same counts for shopping areas, expect infinite shopping in HK. I love the right mix of modern buildings, vivid city life, and still keeping traditional buildings & markets inside the city.

Food and drinks are pretty cheap, and the food is really delicious if you avoid the touristic hotspots. The flight from Luxembourg to Hong-Kong and our 5-nights at fancy hotel totally cost around 800 euro. I haven't visited HK since then, but i'm pretty sure I'm heading back very soon. We visited HK in November and it still felt like summer time. If you're looking for a nice winter/fall destination, check out Hong Kong Island! 

Seattle, WA

The first thing that pops up in your head when you hear about Seattle, might be "Nirvana" or the grunge-era. At least that was the case for me, before I visited Seattle, WA.

I didn't know much about the city, til I met my buddy Tony in New Orleans during Mardi-Gras. After a couple of drinks in Nola, we shared contacts, and invited each other to our hometown. That's how i made it to Seattle. After having convinced my girlfriend back then, we decided to do the whole westcoast on one single trip. Seattle was the first city on our journey.

Seattle is a pretty big city, and you definitely need a car to move around. It depends on where you're staying at, it can easily take 1 hour bus ride to make it to the different areas in Seattle.

Well the famous "Space Needle" tower, was all I wanted to see. But i was so wrong! First of all, after our first day, I noticed how big their coffee culture is! The first Starbucks coffee shop, was opened in Seattle in 1971 just nearby the Pike Place Market. In that area, you can find so many different coffee bars, and every single coffee i had in Seattle was just amazing. Since that trip I started enjoying my coffee "black", without any sugar or milk. Tony took me to different coffee drive-ins, and shared his knowledge of coffee roasting. Besides the coffee culture, there's an even bigger beer culture in Seattle! But i can't tell about that, as i'm not a beer drinker.

The food was delicious ! I had the best alaskan salmon, the best oysters, and generally the best sea food in Seattle.  It seemed like fastfood wasn't such a big thing in that city. 

There's so much nature to discover in the state of Washington and around Seattle. Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains are surrounding the city. While talking to the people in Seattle I could notice the importance of nature for them. Tony and his friends knew so many precise stories about the different mountains, lakes, and woods all around Seattle. Most of the houses in the suburbs were built with their local wood. 

But don't get the idea that Seattle would be a lumberjack city. During our stay there was a big block party on Capitol Hill, and so many bands were playing that weekend. As i was told Capitol Hill is the main gay-block of the city. The streets were packed with punk-kids, hipsters, and even older people who were having a good time, and enjoying bands like: Tv on the Radio, Les Savy Fav, Baths,...

BALLARD - was one of my favorite neighbourhoods in the city. You can find so many different shops, from the famous recordstore "Bop Street", to different tattoo parlours, good restaurants, and diy designer shops. 

FREMONT - a less busier area for shopping, but still it's totally worth to check out. You will find lots of street-wear shops, a big wall-painting of Shepard Fairey [OBEY], a statue of Lenin, and of course the Fremont Troll ! If you wanna grab lunch in Fremont, i'd recommend the delicious "Jai Thai" restaurant. 

For a more morbid adventure in Seattle, you can visit the different memorial statues of Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and the graves of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee. Visiting the grave of Bruce Lee was very interesting though. The grave is located at the Lakeview Memorial cemetery. Not only you could still see lots of fans visiting Bruce Lee´s grave with their most respectful behaviour, some were even crying. The Lakeview Memorial is the nicest cemetery i´ve ever visited. From the top of the hill, you have a beautiful scenic view all over the city. 



I visited a lot of cities in Europe, some were more impressive, others more entertaining, but I gotta admit ... for now ... that Budapest became my favorite european city. I first discovered the beautiful capital of Hungary last summer in July 2014. My first trip lasted 5 nights, and after that short trip, I knew I had to turn back. So I booked another flight to Budapest for September 2014. After those 2 trips last year, I'm heading back this summer in August 2015.

There is so much to discover and to enjoy in Budapest. The city is packed with delicious restaurants, beautifully designed bars, and lots of historical sights. The main attractions are located centrally. Most parts are reachable by walking distances, so public transportation isn't needed. For the 10 days i spent in the capital, we always had the best weather.

Let's start with the north of the city-center, where the Budapest City Park Városliget is located. You can spend a couple of hours in that part of city. The beautiful park is surrounded by historical buildings & castles, the famous heroes square, a big pond, and a bunch of restaurants.  I'd recommend the restaurant "Robinson" and its charming outdoor dining area, where you can try some delicious hungarian dishes, and a panoramic view of the pond the park is included with your hungarian goulash. :) Inside the park, there's the famous and biggest thermal bath of Budapast "Széchenyi". It's an eyecatcher for sure, and you will feel like taking a bath in the 19th century. Every weekend they organize an open-air party at the Széchenyi  thermal bath. Even if it's cold or raining, the warm temperature of the water, will put you at ease.


If you're booking a hotel room, I'd recommend looking for the area nearby the St. Stephen's Basilica. In my opinion that's the very center of the city. You can reach anything within walking distance. Just in front of the basilica starts the Zrinyi Street, which is packed with restaurants, and some of the most popular clubs and bars of Budapest. The Erzsébet Square is only 3 minutes walking away from the basilica. The square is a beautiful and hip place to hangout all day in summer time. People are cooling down their foot in the small pool, you can have food at the nearby open-air dining area, or you just go clubbing at the Akvarium Club which is located below the square in the basement floor.

The southern part of the city, which is located on the BUDA side of the Danube river, is reachable within 20 minutes. Just pass the Széchenyi Chain Bridge, and follow the path to the top of the Buda Castle, or the less tiring option would be the elevator. From the top of the hill, you can enjoy the the beautiful skyline of the PEST side of the city. You get pretty much the same view from different areas of the BUDA side. The Citadella fortress on the south-east side is totally worth the hike. It's even higher than the Buda castle, and on the top there's beautiful botanical garden (during summer time), once you walk down the citadella hill, you will reach the famous thermal bath Gellert. Passing Gellert, and moving over the bridge back to the Pest side, you will hit the Central Market Hall, which is worth a visit. 



• it never gets boring. I guess i've seen most of the main attractions, but just walking through the streets of Budapest is totally enjoyable. Everyone is super friendy, and everyone I met speaks english, even the older generation. 

• it's cheap ! Like many eastern-european cities, food & drinks are half the price than central Europe.  It's a great city, to go out dining in a restaurant everyday. Expect to pay around 10 euro [13 Us$] for a starter, the main dish, a coffee, 2 softdrinks and a glass of wine. Half a pint of beer is around 1 euro, gin&tonic is around 3.50 euro, and a cocktail around 5 euro. 

• it's a lively city. I've only been there twice, but during those trips there was a biiiig beer festival in the mainstreet of the center, a food festival, parties on the cruising-ship, parties at the thermal bath, a techno party at the Margit Island... Budapest people know how to enjoy life. The city has a big diversity of bars, wine bars, restaurants... boredom never comes up.

• it's easy to meet people in Budapest. Not only locals, but during summer season, there are lots of tourists and students all over the city. Is it annoying ? Not really, there are so many different places to hang out that you won't notice the huge amount of tourists in the city. Budapest women are very pretty as well ! Classy, and good looking... Sorry girls, I can't tell about the men. :)

I had such a great time in Budapest, that it keeps me from visiting the beautiful city of Prague. Both cities often get compared with each other, that's why I'm afraid of not enjoy Prague that much, after I fell i love with Budapest.


• Here's a gallery of the photos I took during my trip : Budapest