Going Solo: Visiting Museums Isn't the Only Way to Sightsee

I recently returned to Madrid from a trip to Portugal with my sister. I think we both felt a little bit guilty about our lack of interest in the historical aspects of the Portugal experience. I mean, how effed up is it to stand in a palace originally built in the middle ages and say, "meh" to yourself? But I had to own the privilege to get over the guilt. Instead of pretending to enjoy what wasn't working, My sister and I spent the second half of our trip doing all the aimless non-touristy touristy things that we love. And this is what made Portugal perfect for us.

Budapest's Glorious Ruin Pubs

When I first blogged about my upcoming trip to Budapest, a lovely reader named Tom commented and told me to be sure to check out the "ruin pubs." They're exactly what you think they are -- abandoned buildings converted into pubs and artistic spaces. Gritty enough for ya? And the nightlife in Budapest does not quit.

What Those Budapest Bathhouses Are Really Like

While I was in Budapest, I found myself faced with one of those difficult decisions that all travel writers must face on the road: which baths do I visit, Széchenyi Spa or Gellért Baths? The former had fat old Hungarian men playing chess in their skivvies; the latter had awkward massage moments from masseuses who weren't discouraged by nakedness.
Flickr: colros

Why You Best Get to Budapest

So the thing about Budapest is that it just kinda takes you by surprise. Everyone raves about Vienna and Prague and all those neighboring cities (and rightly so), but Budapest is kinda lonely. Its streets aren't cluttered with hordes of tourists jockeying for the best camera space or picking their noses in public. So, why was I so surprised by Budapest? Something to do with its beautiful streets and fascinating history, I guess.