New Hotel Gem in Budapest!

I have never been to Hungary, but I have wanted to go there for a long time. My father’s lineage descends from what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in and around Budapest (at least on my grandfather’s side). But today I have a good reason to travel there, in addition to the rich culture, great sights and the chance to sample chicken paprikash made the Old World way — now there is Budapest’s newest gem, the Aria Hotel, opening March 15, 2015.

blog1The Aria is part of the Library Hotel Collection, with four terrific hotels in New York City. Just as the Library Hotel draws its inspiration from literature and famous authors, so the Aria draws its inspiration from music and famous composers. The seven-story building dates from the 1870s, and it has been lovingly restored by local Budapest architects and interior designers. The Music Garden Courtyard is enclosed entirely by glass! There are 49 rooms plus four parlors, each with its own musical theme: contemporary, opera, jazz, and classical. Free wi-fi, flat-screen TVs, a music library accessible through iPads, and turndown service with chocolates included! The location is in the city center, next to the famous St. Stephen’s Basilica.

Here’s a small preview of some of the gorgeous rooms available at the Aria:

blog2Classical Music Wing

blog3Contemporary Music Wing

blog4Franz Liszt Studio Suite

Many rooms have either a private terrace or balcony.There are a number of restaurants, including the elegant Stradivari, but you can choose to eat at Aria’s bars, lounges, on the rooftop garden, on the terrace — or even in the Teatro Aria, where a variety of musical performances and videos will be shown. A wonderful breakfast is complimentary with your stay, as is an afternoon wine and cheese selection. Visit the pool, Turkish bath, fitness center or spa; it’s all here!

There are several specials going on right now, including the “Getting to Know You” package at 195 Euros per night (about $240 at today’s exchange rate) if you book prior to the hotel’s March grand opening. That is a very attractive price for what I am confident will be incredible service, beautiful surroundings, and terrific value. I will close this post with a great night shot of Budapest. Note: all photos come from the Aria Hotel’s website.


Can I eat ‘Krapfen’ – and Do I Want To?

The answer to the question posed in the title of this post, in short, is absolutely yes.  For krapfen is an Austrian jelly donut or fritter. And this is just one of an amazing world of Teutonic culinary delights with which many Americans remain at best only slightly familiar.

If you are considering a trip to Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, where English is not spoken as much as in, say, the Low Countries or Northern Europe, consider our e-book only Eating & Drinking in Germany, Austria & Switzerland.  The book features thousands of German dining phrases and food terms translated into English, plus a guide to wurst, regional dining specialties, beer halls in Germany, the best Austrian coffeehouses, and much more.

Links to each of the three main e-book stores are provided below the cover image, below.

Click here to order from Kindle.

Click here to order from Nook.

Click here to order from Apple’s iBookstore.

Here’s author Andy Herbach’s introduction to this unique book:

“We know the panic of opening a menu without recognizing one
word on it and the disappointment of being served something other
than what you thought you’d ordered. On our first trip to Europe,
we were served a plate of cold brains; we thought we had ordered

Can you imagine a foreign traveler who speaks basic English
understanding what prime rib is? Or a porterhouse? Veggie platter
anyone? Buffalo wings? Sloppy joes?
Even people who speak passable German can have trouble reading a
menu. You might be surprised to see Himmel und Erde on a menu.
Although it means “heaven and earth,” it’s a dish of blood sausage
with mashed potatoes & apple sauce.
Experienced travelers know the importance of a good guide to get
the most out of vacationing in Europe. It’s the easiest way to maximize
their time abroad, while minimizing unwanted “surprises.”
The same is true for eating in a foreign country. This little dining
and food guide will acquaint you with the wonderful local and
regional specialties that Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have to
offer, while the menu-translator section will help you make sense
out of German menus.
All in all, it’s a handy reference tool that’s specifically designed to
help you avoid culinary catastrophes during your travels, and dine
deliciously in German.”

Fido-friendly Travel

Many of you have dogs and enjoy traveling with them.  This isn’t really an option for us, because our pooch, Lucy (see photo below), gets car-sick traveling to the vet a mile away!  Hanging out on the back deck on a sunny day is all the excitement she can take.So we decided to do something for those of you who have been asking about doggie travel options.  Authors of some of our ‘traveling with kids’ series of books, Paris Permenter and John Bigley, own and run one of the most popular dog sites on the web,  And now they also have their own Dog Travel Experts radio show on the web.  They proposed that Open Road do a series of ‘traveling with dogs’ books, and we decided to do them on a state-by-state basis.  The first one is due out in the Fall, and we’re calling it Dogtipper’s Texas with Dogs. Click on the title and you can pre-order if from amazon.

More books are planned for the series covering other states — stay tuned for more details.  For now, we wanted to let you know that this book will soon be available for all you dog-lovers out there!