Tagging along on my husbands business trip is a great way to travel and catch up with friends around the world... this time I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
On these tag-along trips I don't actually see a lot of my husband, he usually has meetings from breakfast at 8am working right through the day often having business dinners too.
If you are not comfortable travelling, eating dinners and sightseeing alone then tagging onto a business trip probably isn't for you....
Luckily, I still have great friends in Singapore so it was nice to be able to see them and spend some quality time with them. I also have some fabulous friends in Melbourne and co-incidentally this trip my travel buddy was also going to be visiting Sydney so it was a very social 2 weeks with lots of eating and drinking.
To the amusement of most of my friends Hubby and I don't actually fly together. He flies direct as time is precious to him. I get the best deal I can and usually do a connecting flight as they are cheaper. Often I fly British Airways as I am a gold card holder and get preferential treatment, extra baggage allowance and can book seats in advance at no charge... Also their premium economy offer is a nice compromise between economy and business.
This trip I actually did a mix of Qatar Air and Qantas. Qatar Air offered a very good price on a business flight to Singapore, returning from Sydney, and the Qantas bits in the middle I managed to use my British Airways avios points for. Both airlines are part of the One World partnership so I also collected more avios points and tier points.
I had been hearing some great things about the skincare brand SK11 and I bought some products on a recent trip to Japan and so I thought I would treat myself to a nice facial at the SK11 salon in Millennia Walk in Singapore. not only did my skin look fabulous afterwards but I floated out of the salon feeling totally relaxed. It was the perfect way to spend a few hours out of the heat and humidity that I hated when we lived in Singapore.
When you go back to visit a place that you have lived in (or maybe just a place you have visited many times before) there isn't really the need to race around sightseeing so on this trip I booked up spa treatments, foot massages, and went for a mani-pedi weekly.
A hi-light of the Singapore trip was getting to taste the new menu at Cé La Vie restaurant at Marina Bay Sands. A good friend works for the company - based in Hong Kong and was in Singapore to meet with the chef and see how their new menu was working out. He invited me to lunch and we got to taste some AMAZING food.... pictures below.
There is not a single thing that I ate that I would not recommend. The flavours and combinations were truly delicious.
The restaurant is on top of the Marina Bay Sands complex with amazing views over Singapore and is a great destination for visitors to the little island. There is a outdoor bar where you can also order food, but the indoor restaurant - with air-conditioning is my suggestion, maybe having pre dinner cocktails or champagne outside to enjoy the view.
After Singapore my husband flew for meetings in Brisbane and I flew to Melbourne where I spent a few days with a girlfriend before he arrived for more meetings. My friend and I used to work together when we both lived in London many moons ago. We aim to see each other at least once a year often in NYC or London if I don't get to Melbourne. We had a very relaxing few days, hanging out at the hotel spa, doing a little shopping the the sales and enjoying some of the fabulous Melbourne restaurants. I have written a few Trip Advisor reviews for some of the places we visited, but Lucy Liu stands out in my memory. The Asian fusion food was excellent, tapas sized plates for sharing, great atmosphere and good staff.
I really enjoy Melbourne, The free trams around the city centre are a great help to tourists. The city centre is quite compact and the restaurant and bar scene is fabulous... much better than Sydney in my opinion, but maybe I am biased as I have lots of friends to go out with when I am there.....
Our time in Sydney was quite short. My husband only had 2 days of meetings and so we were only there for 3 nights. The weather wasn't great so that was just as well.
I did a lot of walking as we were staying centrally, visiting the Opera House for a performance and the National Museum for a photography exhibition. There was one day when it rained a lot and so I was only too happy to take refuge by the roof top pool of the hotel.
A friend who I have taken a few city breaks with was also in Sydney at the same time and so one afternoon we got to meet up and enjoy some fish and oysters at Watsons Bay... luckily the sun came out for that afternoon.
This was one of those parts of the trip where I only saw my husband when he got into bed in the evening and in the morning when he left for breakfast.... but it wasn't too bad as the best bit of the trip was yet to come. I had managed to convince hubby to add on a week of holiday time and we flew out of Sydney for a week in the Cook islands..... we got to spend 6 whole days in paradise, with no business meetings to interrupt us. More on that trip in the next post...
My third attempt at using Air B&B was another success.
The apartment was on the top floor of an old building in the very centre of Budapest.
It had been beautifully renovated and despite being small it had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms,
Everything we needed was there, incl a Nespresso machine. The owners had thoughtfully left fresh milk and water for us in the fridge.
The only downside was that being an old building there was no lift, so thankfully my travel buddy was kind enough to carry my suitcase up the 3 flights of stairs.
I'm looking forward to more Air B&B adventures in the future....
The Main Attractions.
Parliament Building was definitely worth visiting. It was spectacular inside, very ornate, lots of gold and simply breathtaking. I thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour, it was very informative.
Its best to book online but I don’t think all the areas are accessible all the time. I guess when parliament is sitting there are some restrictions.
Of course booking online means you don’t have to deal with the queues.
Dohany Street Synagogue - or The Great Synagogue, was very interesting. I’d never been inside a synagogue before, since this one was designed by a catholic I’m not sure it was a good example of typical architecture, but it was a great place to visit.
It is the largest Synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world, and in the top ten sights in Budapest, but it didn't feel 'busy'. THey organise the guided tours well so that the groups are staggered.
Our guide told us some of the quite distressing history of the jewish people in Budapest during the second world war and during the communist rule. it was quite an education.
A must see for visitors to Budapest.
St Stephen's Basilica was simple stunning. A Roman Catholic Cathedral in the centre of town is one of the main attractions and was very busy.
There are still regular services held here and also concerts in the evening.
We bought tickets to one of the concerts and thoroughly enjoyed it, although we were a little disappointed that the organ music wasn't from the cathedral organ...
Where we ate.....
We stumbled upon Borkonyha Winekitchen as it was literally downstairs from our Air B&B. We arrived from the train too early to meet with our host and so decided to head over to the flat and then find somewhere nearby to have lunch… I’m not sure how we got so lucky, but not only were they convenient but they had availability and their food was spectacular.
It turned out that this restaurant has 1 Michelin star.
I had boar tenderloin and boar cheek with polenta which was excellent. Full of flavour and cooked perfectly. My dessert of artichoke and white chocolate mousse was heavenly. I shared one portion with my friend and regretted not ordering my own. It was so good we booked to visit again for dinner before we left.
Cafe Elysee was opposite parliament it's the perfect spot for breakfast before a day of sightseeing.
Since we had 9.30 tickets for the Parliament tour we dropped by for breakfast which we enjoyed outside in the morning sunshine.
They had a good breakfast selection. Service was very good and the staff cheerful. What more do you need....
Evidens Bistro was another spot we were lucky enough to have within 20 paces of the entrance to the building our apartment was in.
We had lunch of beef goulash and chicken in paprika and both dishes were delicious. Very tasty, hot and substantial.
One thing is for sure we did not struggle to find good food during the trip.
A visit to some Ruin bars is a must. These are housed in run down buildings or literally the ruins of buildings. One of the more popular sites that we visited had over 20 different food and drink sellers within the ‘ruins’ and looked like it was quite well established, kind of like a food court inside an old warehouse.
We had a fabulous few days in Budapest. Its a 'second tier' city so not as busy as others like Vienna, Paris, London etc which we really enjoyed. Of course there were still lots of people around, but it wasn't so crowded that we couldn't easily get to visit the places we wanted to nor did we have any problems getting tables at nice restaurants for dinner or lunch.... it was also relatively cheap when compared to those other cities.
I'd highly recommend a visit to Budapest. The people we met were all helpful and friendly, there were enough interesting things to do and it was a really easy city to get around..... what more do you need for a short break?
Belvoir Park is the hotel and restaurant training school in Zurich. I’m pretty sure the guys who work here have already reached a good level before they decided to let them loose on the public because everyone we came across greeted us with a smile and a hello, service was excellent and nothing appeared to be too much effort.
They were happy to answer questions and looked like they were genuinely happy to be there… which was like a breath of fresh air.
We have eaten here before in the evening when the whole building is beautifully illuminated. there is a lovely atmosphere inside this stunning building which also plays host to all kinds of events from corporate dinners to weddings.
We arrived on a sunny Saturday afternoon and enjoyed the shade in on the terrace. It was a beautiful day and the terrace was a little hot but we didn't mind too much...
The lunch was either A La Carte or buffet. We all decided to choose the buffet option as there was a good selection available as you can see from the photos....
The food is quite traditional, smoked salmon, beef tartare, salads, mozzarella, parma ham etc for starters and the mains were roast beef, veal, or lamb, served with roti or gratin potatoes and vegetables. Everything was really delicious, well presented, well cooked and so good that we went back several times for more helpings... ahh the beauty of the buffet !!!
Desserts are brought to the table on a big trolly. Again, quite traditional for example - creme slice, chocolate cake, strawberry tart, mixed fruit and carrot cake... and again, everything was just perfectly presented and tasted delicious... and the best bit... you can select several desserts... so we all got to try exactly what we wanted with no 'sharing' issues...
We had a thoroughly fabulous afternoon... 3 hours.. eating wonderful food and drinking delicious wine in a lovely setting on a beautiful summer day in Zurich. We rolled away and didn't eat for the rest of the day......
I would highly recommend a visit to Belvoir Park to anyone without any hesitation....
Belvoirpark Hotelfachschule Zürich
Telefon +41 44 286 88 11
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