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The Charms and Quirks of Budapest

By on Feb 25, 2013 in Travel | 6 comments

It was a less than serene start to our first morning in Budapest. We’d overslept, owing to blackout curtains and a non-functioning alarm, and had therefore jumped out of bed, into some clothes and out onto the streets of the city before being fully awake. We were on the hunt for a hot, caffeinated beverage, but the city seemed strangely shut down and deserted. It was after 9 on a Monday morning – most capitals would be buzzing. Finally, we found a cafe open for business – after walking for 15 minutes. Soon, we were revitalised and ready to face the day – and slowly, Budapest began to rouse for the day. That first quirk of Budapest was quickly followed by its first charm: the glorious Basilica San Esteban, or St. Stephen’s Basilica. Named in honour of Hungary’s first King and patron saint, it is impressive enough on the outside, with its classical...

Triadic

By on Jan 2, 2012 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

All good things come in threes – and Riccardo Di Capua came up with the title Triadic for Iain Mallory’s photo. That leaves just one more – you. Submit a photo which captures the theme Triadic and you could be our next Photo of the Week. Simply submit your pic to katy@starryeyedtravels(dot)com by Thursday 5th January and yours may become our featured photo! For more details about Photo of the Week, click here.

Winter in Languedoc-Roussillon

By on Jan 2, 2012 in Uncategorized | 6 comments

It was the start of November and Perpignan, my temporary hometown in the South of France, was still balmy and warm. Women, trying to copy the latest fashions from Paris, sweltered in their chic coats and chunky scarves – only the die-hard fashionistas kept them on for more than five minutes. We had a sneaking suspicion that the heating in our charming, if somewhat ramshackle, house might not be entirely functioning, but that didn’t matter. It was still summer weather, as far as we were concerned. My mum phoned that evening. “So, just checking,” she said, “Rory and I don’t need to pack many warm clothes, do we?” “No, none!” I replied breezily. “A light jumper and jacket will be fine.” The following day, there seemed to be a bit of a chill to the air, and by the time my dear, trusting family members arrived that evening,...

The Calm of Beijing Before Chinese New Year

By on Nov 21, 2011 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

Spring Festival (Chinese New Year to you and me) is a huge celebration in China, akin to our Christmas festivities. It is the largest mass migration of people in the world as the hordes of migrant workers travel home to be with family. As a tourist this is actually one of the most difficult times to travel because with so many people on the go, securing a train ticket can be practically impossible. Thankfully, my friend and I left for Beijing a few days before the mad rush actually started. Something to keep in mind: if you visit Beijing in January, it is freezing! No matter how many layers you have on, you will still be cold. Nevertheless, my Starry-Eyed Travel experience was so good because it was freezing. It started with an overnight train journey, sharing a bottle of wine and strawberries with a good friend. The train pulled into the railway station at 6 am giving us an early...

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