Tag Archives: Vienna

Vienna to Budapest on the OBB Railjet – A Visual Feast

By Rohan:

When planning your Eastern European getaway, rail travel is absolutely the way to go when it comes to traveling between countries. The past few times I’ve visited Europe, I’ve always traveled by train since it is fast, scenic, and usually, quite affordable. But no train has made my jaw drop more than the OBB Railjet, serving many parts of Eastern Europe, but in particular, its famous route between Vienna and Budapest. Your journey lasts about three hours and you are treated to some of the best vistas around.

While riding the Railjet, you will be treated to a stylish and luxurious train trip without having to break the bank. The carriages are equipped with television screens, free Wi-Fi, and delicious snacks to make sure you feel at home on your way to your destination. Gizmos and gadgets are great and all, but the real treat here is the view. With huge windows, every seat is fantastic for taking in some of the most beautiful scenery around.

The Railjet’s Cafe Car has treats for even the pickiest of foodies. The Caprese Panini with fresh mozzarella cheese, imported tomatoes, and creamy basil pesto was a treat to our tastebuds. If you’re in the mood for dessert, the train is stocked with Belgian chocolate and other local favorites to satisfy your sweet tooth to the fullest.

Overall, the Railjet between Vienna and Budapest is an experience that you simply cannot afford to miss. With delicious on board food, picturesque vistas, and comfortable seating, it’s a great way to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Plan your scenic journey from Vienna to Budapest at


Falling In Love with Paper Travel Guides In The Digital Age

By Lakshmi:

For the last several years, most of our trips have been facilitated by electronic media.  From downloading apps on local transit systems to those that point you to what’s around, from eguides to cities to programs that track your visits, going paperless has been quite a liberating experience.

However, despite our newly discovered efficiency, there is something magical about picking up a print travel magazine (the most recent case in point being an issue of Wanderlust at Heathrow airport) that sends our hormones into a state of bliss.  Given this induced state, it should come as no surprise that my heart skipped a beat or two when I discovered alacarte maps.

Pitched as a package that combines a travel guide with a city map that can serve as a piece of art, these extremely attractive, easy to carry guides may be the perfect companion to discovering an entire city or a quaint neighborhood.

Founded by two Swiss flashpackers (backpackers who like to journey in style), these enticing maps provide tons of tips from locals on where to go and what to do in addition to of course providing you with what you would expect from good old fashioned maps.  In fact, mix one part eye candy, one part personal tour guide and one part reliable data and you come up with a map ideally suited for today’s digital age limited attention span!

I happened to see the one on my former home town of Washington DC and can’t wait to buy a few for cities I am already quite familiar with…London, New York, Vienna.

Take a moment to peruse their collection at http://www.alacartemaps.com/ and if that’s not enough to get you excited, take a look at one of their creative videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvBqCCRd4PI

And if you’ve used their maps, please do send us your feedback.

Can you have too much dessert and coffee? Not if you are cafe hopping in Vienna.

By Lakshmi:

“Kaffehaus” was the name of a book I picked up many years ago as my armchair culinary journey into the desserts from the classic cafes of Vienna, Prague and Budapest.  Filled with history, pictures and delectable pastries, it became my go to resource for kitchen experiments long before I stepped foot in the city of Vienna.

And when I finally got to the city, the desserts and cafe names were imprinted in my memory, a sort of must do list that I had lusted after for many years.  For the last several years, I have been fortunate enough to head to this city every spring and on each trip at least one afternoon is dedicated to sampling the desserts and coffees this city has become synonymous with.

On my last trip there, an Italian and Indian American (aka a friend and I) teamed up to cover a few cafes pre-dinner and one right after.  The first stop was Cafe Central, an architectural beauty that once housed the stock exchange and now serving as the backdrop for some amazing food and conversation.  As we were waiting to be seated, we took in the sights and smells and quickly recollected that this very location had been a gathering spot for Viennese intellectuals and some renowned world names including Sigmund Freud, Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler.  Additionally, the cafe was supposedly the inspiration for The Chestnut Tree in George Orwell’s novel 1984.   I hate cafes for the mental agony they put you through.  There you are salivating over the most delectable  treats and a cafe hopping experience implies that you simply cannot indulge too much at one place.  I selected a beautiful work of art commonly known as the Dobos Torte with a cup of coffee.   As I slowly savored the torte, trying to identify each flavor in its complex layers, we watched the young and old, the smiling and the intense, the regulars and tourists all unified by their joy at partaking something so delectable.  We talked and laughed about families, spousal tiffs and of course had to make a very serious decision…..which cafe would we we go to next.

Our next stop was Cafe Demel.  We ordered Fragilite and a liqueur laced coffee that sent the taste buds on a different journey.  An extremely fragile dessert (thin layers of nut dough with a light chocolate cream) with a heavier coffee was a perfect combination. This time our conversation centered around work, colleagues and politics.  People watching was of course inherent to the cafe experience and while I was focused on the kaleidoscope of people, my colleague’s focus was on the attractive Viennese women who patronized the cafe:)

Our last stop of the evening occurred close to midnight at the infamous Sacher Cafe, a place I had frequented each year for the Sacher Torte and hot chocolate.  Given that we had just had a long Hungarian dinner (goulash being the lone option for the sole vegetarian) at a small place near Stefanplatz, our stomach did not need another morsel of food.  But, the thought of leaving Vienna without completing an annual tradition did not seem right and so we walked slowly towards the Sacher Cafe and finished our hot chocolate and torte before heading back to the hotel.

The web, friends, food magazines, etc. all herald the Viennese cafe hopping experience as something one must do.  And I am certainly on that bandwagon, albeit fortunate enough to break down this must do culinary journey into bite size pieces spread over several years.  To learn more about these cafes, visit: