Eastern Europe, Hungary, Travel

Budapest- Memento Park

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to post about <Memento Park> of Budapest. It’s a park full of statues of communist dictatorship such as Stalin’s boots, Lenin, Marx and Engels, etc. It’s a place to feel and experience of the communist history.

The Stalin’s boots will welcome you when you arrive the park. The boots are much bigger than it looks, so don’t be surprised. After seeing these huge boots, I could imagine how powerful the communism was in the past . There are many statues in the park, but the park itself is not that big. Thus, one hour will be enough to look around the park.

On the other side of the entrance, you would see the statue of Marx and Engels who are the most well-known communists in the world.

There’s also an exhibition salon of pictures and short movies in the communist era. However, if you expect a lot for this place, you may be disappointed. To be honest, I don’t recommend to visit here if you don’t stay in Budapest for more than three days. It’s an unique museum(park) for sure, but you will need at least for three hours including the travel time. Plus, it’s not that tourist-friendly place in my opinion. I thought that visiting this place would help me understand much more about the Communism and the historical background when it appeared, but not enough explanations were provided. Thus it was difficult to understand its meanings and history unless you already have some background knowledge on it.

It can be more touristic place if the government put some effort into it, ironically it would lose its color if it’s full of tourists in my opinion.

Hope you enjoyed the visit to the Memento Park with Marimonda. See you soon 🙂

Practical Info.

Address : Budapest, Balatoni út – Szabadkai utca sarok, 1223 Hungary

Hours : 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Ticket : 1500 HUF (adult), Free of charge for Budapest card holders

Eastern Europe, Hungary, Travel

Budapest

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to share my visit to Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. I already posted my accomodation review before. If you’re interested in, click here.

Brief History

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary. The city used to be three different areas : Buda, Obuda, and Pest, but they were united in one (Budapest) in 1873. Today, it’s one city but still people call the west side of the Danube for Buda and the east side of the river for Pest. It can be confusing which side is east or west, then simply think where you can find the Buda castle is Buda area. If you are on the side of the Parliament, you’re on the Pest side.

The city provided the metro service in 1896 (the 2nd metro in the world after London). The public transport system seemed very well organized and worked efficiently. Budapest near the Danube river became Unesco World Heritage in 1987 under the name of < Budapest, including the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue>.

Where to visit?

There are many things to enjoy in Budapest. From historical buildings to modern ones and variety of food will satisfy your all senses. The view of the Budapest is well-known, esp. the night view is amazing. You can see the astonishing views not only from the Buda hill, but also all around the city.

I intended to get lost here, thus I didn’t look for a map in the city except I went to cafes and restaurants where I planned to visit before the trip. Looking back the trip, I think I should’ve participated in the free walking tours provided to the Budapest card holders to get to know the city better. I enjoyed the city, but I feel like I missed many parts of the city. But that’s what a travel should be. You always miss something, which will make you visit the place again.

Walking around the Buda area. I saw Matthias Church, which is a mixture of different cultures for sure. With the sharp tower, it’s like a Gothic style church but the mosaic roof made this church be unique. I also found Fisherman’s Bastion, where offer me a breathtaking panorama view of the city from the Buda district. In some photo spots, I had to wait to take good pictures, but it was worth it. The building itself is a picturesque place, too.

The view was also amazing. I felt as if I were in a painting. The sky, river and the city harmonized like a picture. In Budapest, there were many colorful buildings caught my eyes. Amongst them, I loved this post office. The tone downed yellow and greenery blue colors gives a strong impression with the intense red-colored post box. It’s colorful, but not too bright, I thought it somewhat reflected the characteristic of the city.

The night view of Budapest is famous, and it didn’t let me down. The illuminated buildings in the dark and the reflections on the river were unbelievable. You can take a river cruise to enjoy the view or simply sitting down on a good spot and wait until the sunset. A bottle of Tokaji wine will make your night perfect.

The Parliament is a must see place in the Pest area. You can participate a guided tour inside of the parliament. You should make a reservation in advance. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the spot, thus I couldn’t have the opportunity to get in. The building itself is outstanding and enormous day and night. The official website of the Parliament to reserve a visit, click here.

You shouldn’t miss out the statues on the streets. Most of them are placed in the Pest section. From the famous <Shoes by the Danube> , which modelled on 60 pairs of shoes from the 1940s to commemorate people who were shot into the Danube by the Hungarian Nazis. It’ll be remembered by all visitors. You can also find the Fat Policeman and the Newsboy, etc on the street of Pest.

Hope you enjoyed the visit to Budapest with Marimonda. More posts on Budapest will be continued.

See you soon 🙂

Practical Info.

Budapest Card

Budapest card is a simple way to enjoy Budapest. It includes unlimited public transport and many places such as museums and spa including walking tours. Various types are available, thus you can choose depending on your stay in Budapest. It’s slightly cheaper in Hungarian Forint to Euro.

From Airport to Downtown

On the day of arrival, I bought a sim card (vodafone) first to get me connected. I knew there was an express bus to the center of the capital (Deák Tér and Kálvin Tér), but there is also a regional bus that goes to the city. When you ask to the travel info at the airport, they usually tell you the express one (100E, 900HUF- slightly more than 3 USD) which you can’t take with your Budapest card. Since I purchased the Budapest card which allows me to free access to public transport, I decided a regional bus (200E) and it wasn’t that take longer than bus 100E. Though we were the only tourists in that bus. If you don’t have the Budapest card, you should think well. The single ticket costs 350 HUF, and with 200E you need a paid-transfer to get to the downtown.

Europe, France, Travel, Western Europe

Metz

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today I’d like to share my visit to Metz, a city in the Grand Est region near the border of France, Luxembourg, and Germany.

Brief History

With its long and rich history, Metz has been submitted its name on France’s UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List (2014). You can feel its history once you arrive at Metz. Used to be a palace, the train station welcomes you with its antique and unique feature. The windows and the doors are preserved very well, thus you can see how the architect style was in the past. Metz used to be German territory and and reverted to France. The city went through this process repeatedly, and this complex history made Metz be more culturally rich.

Where to visit?

There are many places to visit in Metz such as the Metz Cathedral (Gothic Saint-Stephen Cathedral), Basilica of Saint-Pierre-aux-Nonnains, Centre Pompidou, Opera House, etc. Also during the summer, Metz Plage is going on (which is an equivalent of Paris Plages), so you can enjoy the summer with more activities near the river. This time, I visited Pompidou center and Metz Cathedral including old city. The city seemed to have a good public transport system, but since most tourist attractions are accessible by foot, I didn’t use any transport.

Pompidou Center

Like Paris’ Pompidou center, the center has very outstanding architect. Located next to the train station, this white mushroom-like building holds many cultural events of the town. The entrance fee is based on the number of the exhibition spaces open on the day of your visit (very unique but reasonable), so I paid €10 for three exhibitions.

It took me about three hours to look around the exhibitions, on average one hour per space. Depending on your speed, you can spend less or more time here. The receptionists said, it usually takes 2-3 hours to look around the center. Even if you don’t have a map, you can see the sign on the street telling you the direction to the Pompidou center and the Cathedral. Or since it’s one of the landmarks of the city, anyone in the street would know how to get there unless they’re tourists.

Metz Cathedral

The Metz Cathedral is a must visit place in Metz. Well-known for its architect, the cathedral has larger stained glass than any other cathedrals in the world. Three of them are designed by Marc Chagall, a famous painter with his genius understanding to colors. Those three are distinguished from other stained glass, so you won’t have difficulties to find them.

Metz City Pass

The city also has a city pass for €13,50. With the pass, you can access to Pompidou Center, Cour d’Or Museum, and one audio tour within a day. For €16, you can also unlimited access to the public transport. I didn’t have enough time in Metz, thus I didn’t purchase the pass, but it’s a good option if you’re thinking of visiting Pompidou and Cour d’Or Museum. The official website of the city pass is as following : Metz City Pass

I visited Metz because it was on the way to my trip to Luxembourg. I spent only one whole afternoon (about 7 hours) there, but I feel like I should’ve spent more time in Metz. The city has more things to do and enjoy. I loved the the peaceful atmosphere of the city with classy architects. They’re very distinct from those of Paris. I am pretty sure you would love this city. One thing I regret is that I couldn’t try local food since most of the local restaurants were closed due to the summer vacation and Assumption day. I’d like to go back and check out other places that I missed this time in the near future.

Hope you enjoy the Metz with Marimonda! See you soon 🙂

Practical Info.

Pompidou Centre Metz website

Address : 1 Parvis des Droits de l’Homme, 57020 Metz

Hours : 10a.m. – 6p.m. (Mon/Wed), -7p.m. (Thu.-Sun.) , Closed on Tuesday

Metz Cathedral website

Address : Place d’Armes, 57000 Metz

Hours : 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. everyday

Paris, Places

The Orsay Museum

Hi, it’s me Marimonda.

Today, I’d like to introduce you one of the most popular museums in Paris, Orsay Museum. It’s called a museum but it’s closer to an art gallery.

Used to be a train station, the Orsay museum is well-known for its big clocks on the facade toward the Seine and various collections of paintings mostly in 19th- 20th centuries. From Millet to Seurat, you can see the development of the art movements, esp. in France.

Brief History

Built in 1898-1900, the Orsay Museum primarily served as a train station(Gare d’Orsay) and a hotel to facilitate the visitors of 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris. It provided the rail service of southwestern France until 1939. In 1986, it opened its door as a museum with rich art collections and became a must visit place in Paris. There are three important museums in Paris : The Louvre, The Orsay, and The Pompidou. You can find art collections in different era in each museum. There might be few exceptions but at the Louvre you may find art pieces until 1848, at the Orsay(1848 ~1914) and the Pompidou (1914~).

Facilities

After the security check, you will pass two souvenir shops on your left and right. You will see a long hallway(nef) full of statues such as a miniature of the Statue of Liberty (the artist is a French, that’s probably why they display a mini one). On the side of the nef, you can see artist-based rooms and the exhibition continues to upto 5th floors.

There are plenty of the bathrooms in the museum. At the entrance, you may find one below the stairs, also another one at the end of the hall. Since the museum is very big, you may take a break at a restaurant or cafes. The restaurant is located on the second floor (in French, 1er étage), the Café de l’ours is on the ground floor(rez-de-chaussée) in front of the white bear(Ours blanc), and the Café Campana is on the 5th floor, end of the gallery of Impressionism. Since the coffee shops and the restaurant are inside the museum, their menus are more expensive than nearby places. Compared to other two, the cafe de l’our is more casual and cheaper which make it’s more popular than other two places. There is an auditorium on the 2nd basement floor, where you can enjoy cultural activities such as cinema, concert, or performances. You can check the programs on the web.

Art Pieces

As I mentioned above, the Orsay Museum is a great collection of late 19th and early 20th masterpieces. In the Orsay Museum, you can see <The Gleaners> and <The Angelus> by Jean François Millet, or <Self-portrait> by Vincent Van Gogh, <Olympia> by Édouard Manet, <The Ballet Class> by Edgar Degas, <The Saint Lazare Station> by Claude Monet, etc. Seeing the paintings, it reminds me of my school times. I had difficulties to remember names of the artists and the paintings which were mostly on the exams. If I had had opportunities to visit the orsay, I would have gotten better grades in arts. You can see most paintings or other artworks in the museum on its official website. Click here.

Even though it’s a post on the Orsay Museum in general, I have to admit that I’d like focus a bit more on paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. After visiting Dr. Gachet’s house the 3rd Saturday in Auvers-sur-Oise, I became more interested in the Dr. Gachet. I am very curious how he could engage the great impressionists (i.g. Camille Pissarro, Paul Cézanne, Gustave Courbet, Auguste Renoir, and Édouard Manet, of course Vincent Van Gogh, too.) and build up his networks with them. Last week, I spent a lot of time in the Vincent Van Gogh room (with artworks of Gauguin on the 2nd floor).

Since I saw the greenery wheatfield when I went to the town in June (see the previous post on Auvers-sur-Oise), this time I wish I could see the goldish wheatfield. Unfortunately, they just started harvest. As a result I failed to see the scenery like a painting again. Hopefully, next time…

Don’t forget to enjoy the view at the terrace of the museum. Next to the cafe, there’s a door you can go out and see the view of the Seine and the Louvre, or even Sacre-coeur.

Special exhibitions are on-going all around the year. Now, you can enjoy Berthe Morisot exhibition until 22nd September, 2019.

Enjoy your trip with Marimonda! See you soon. 🙂

Practical Info.

Address : 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

Hours : 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Tue.-Sun.) except Thursday (9:30 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.) / Closed on Mondays

Ticket : €14 (adult) /

Museum pass available (some days in high season, the museum pass doesn’t guarantee that your entrance)

website

Food, Paris

Salon de Thé de la Mosquée de Paris

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

La Mosquée de Paris
Marimonda World

Today, I’d like to introduce you an unique cafe in the heart of Paris, the Salon de thé de la mosquée de Paris. Located in front of the Jardin des Plantes, this white building with green roof is catching eyes. It’s a mosque where you can pray or do religious activities but also you can enjoy some tea and hammam (turkish bath and sauna) here. This time I only went to Salon de thé to get to know this place. After visiting the tea salon, I can’t wait to experience hammam as soon as possible!!

Atmosphere

When you enter the main door on the picture above, you would see a picturesque garden. There are plenty of outdoor seats, but it’s smoking section. Thus, my friends and I decided to get an indoor table. Inside of the tea salon was more colorful and splendid. On the walls, there are some pictures of people wearing traditional clothing. A cat wandering around the cafe makes this place more exotic. Thus, don’t be surprised if you feel something furry. The cat seemed a bit shy, but cat is a cat. It did whatever it wanted. Visited this table and the other table, looking at people or lying on the floor, it had a real free soul. But don’t get me wrong, the cat didn’t jumping around the table nor act wild.

Menu and Service

Some food are available but it seemed quite expensive(i.g. couscous for 17), while the tea and the oriental patisseries are offered reasonable price(2 each). We tried mint tea and sweets with an espresso. OMG, it was one of the best teas I’ve ever tried in my life. The server brought us a plate which is full of the desert. Two euros sounded cheap but the portion of the tea was very small. The pastries were also good, they really went well with the tea. My favorite was the top on the left (below the sunglasses). It has many layers like millefeuille but very crispy. In the end, I had to order one more of it. More pastries are available at the patisserie corner where you pay when you buy. But if you choose your snacks from the plate, you pay before you leave the cafe at your table.

Service was also very nice. Staffs were warmly welcome and served tea and food. It took some time to bring us the tea, though. They were super nice to us offered us a plate, so we didn’t have to line up to get the dessert and showed us a video of hammam telling us about it. Maybe one of my friends spoke a basic Arabic to them, that’s why they were more friendly to my table.

Overall, it was a satisfying visit. I will definitely come back to have a tea soon. Plus, I’d like to try hammam next time.

Hope you liked my review of the Tea Salon in the Paris’ Mosque. See you again 🙂

Practical Info.

Address : 39 Rue Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, Paris

Hours : 10:00 a.m. – midnight

website

Paris

Paris Plages

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to introduce you a summer event in Paris, Paris Plages. You may be surprised to see the parasols and the beach chairs alongside the Seine. That’s one of the Paris Plages.

Brief History

Began in 2002, Paris Plages(Paris beaches) is a city run event for Parisiens and visitors of Paris. Everyone loves vacations, but as you probably know, French people really value their vacations. Some people even say that they work to have vacations. Paris plages was created for people who can’t leave Paris in Vacance seasons (mostly in July to August) so they can feel as if they are in the beach. It started as a single beach on the Rive Droite, and now it’s extended to the Rive Gauche and even to La Villette. Each year, the event hosts people for about two months. This year, it will be held between 6th July to 1st September.

Activities

Most of activities are available for free of charge. You can swim(there are three pools with different depth), have a picnic, play sports such as petanque, beach volleyball, dance, do the zipline, rent a pedal boat, ride a cruise, etc. Free activities are first come, first serve basis, thus you may go early afternoon or in the morning to reserve your spot. I didn’t take pictures of swimming pool so it’s not there, but the pool seemed quite nice. There are also lockers and shower, so if you plan to swim bring your swimming suit and enjoy!

I think it’s a great event and one of the most successful ones organized by the city. With a book and a beach chair, you can have a perfect relaxing day. More activities are ongoing at <La Villette Canal Basin> than the center of the city. It will be good to visit there on weekends. You can check all the events and the places on the official website.

Hope this help you to plan your stay in Paris. See you again 🙂

Practical Info.

Date : 6th Jul. – 1st Sep.

Places : city hall, Rives de Seine, La villette Canal Basin

Website

Food, Paris

Plus 82

Hi, it’s me Marimonda!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to a Korean dessert cafe in Paris <Plus 82>. It’s really hot these days, thus I thought it would be nice if you can try some cold pause during the day.

Atmosphere

There are many Korean restaurants and dessert cafes in Paris, but I found this is more authentic and contemporary one than other stores. The interior of the store seems a bit fusion because Korean-style props and modern simple style props were harmonized in this cafe. The chairs were pretty but somewhat uncomfortable to stay for some time to talk with friends and to relax.

Menu and Price

Bingsu, a typical summer dessert in Korea will give you a cool pause and refresh you. Originally, it is made of crushed ice with some sweets on top such as pat(sweet red bean paste), ddeok(rice cake) and jelly with some drips of condensed milk. Instead of the sweet red bean paste, these days more options are available such as fruits, coffee, green tea powder, etc. Normally, it’s considered as a snack that you share with your friend or family. It’s not common to have the whole bowl by oneself.

Here, you can also try from the basic bingsu (padd bingsu) to fruit ones. You can also find other beverages such as coffee, juice, or tea. I went there three times, but the best one was the basic one.

Consist of many layers of ingredients, Bingsu will give you a icy breeze in your mouth. You can pour more or less the condensed milk depending on your taste.

Green Tea (matcha) cookie is also served with some condensed milk which made the cookie too sweet. It’s recommendable only if you drink black coffee such as americano.

You may feel it’s expensive that paying  €7~8 per menu after the meal. As I mentioned above, however, it’s very common to share the dessert with your friends in Korea. If you share it with your friend, it won’t be that high price. Though, I found the snacks like the green tea cookie( around €2) above or other bakeries are pretty expensive. Teas and coffees cost around €4~5, which is similar price in other cafes in Paris.

Hope this review help you to choose a cafe in Paris. See you soon 🙂

Practical Info.

Address : 11bis Rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris

Hours : 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (Mon-Sat)