The World’s Most Hated and Loved Hungarian Invention

40 years ago a Hungarian architect and sculptor unintentionally invented what would become one of the world’s most sold puzzle games ever – the Rubik’s cube.

 

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10 surprising facts about the Rubik’s cube!

  1. Erno Rubik originally built the cube as a tool to help his students at the Academy of Applied Arts and Design in Budapest to understand three-dimensional geometry. It was first after he had twisted and turned the cubes, and failed to put them back to their original position that he realised what he had invented.

  2. It took Rubik himself more than a month to solve the cube the first time.

  3. Erno Rubik became the first self-made millionaire in the Soviet block.

  4. One out of five people in the world have laid their hands on a Rubiks cube.

  5. It has 43 Quintillion (that’s 43 followed by 18 (!) zeros) possible moves but only one solution

  6. The current record for solving a 3×3×3 Rubik’s Cube is held by Mats Valk from Netherlands in with a time of 5.55 seconds.

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    Erno Rubik – The inventor of the Rubik’s Cube

  7. In the beginning, Rubik had a hard time getting the cube on to the market, as the companies at that time thought it was to difficult and to unlike anything else on the market at that time.

  8. In addition to official competition as Speed cubing (solving the cube in shortest time possible) there are also some more unusual competitions taking place, such as:  Blindfolded solving, solving the Cube underwater in a single breath, solving the Cube using a single hand, Solving the Cube with one’s feet.

  9. In 1981 the 13 year old Patrick Bossert becomes the youngest author ever to hit the new York times best seller lists with his book “You can do the cube”, where he offered solutions on how to solve the cube.

  10. The youngest person to solve the cube in a competition was Chinese Ruxin Liu, who was 3 years and 118 days old and solved it in 1 min and 39 seconds. Watch the young genius yourself.

 

If you would like to know more about the Rubik’s cube and how to solve it like a professional, we recommend our Rubik’s Cube Workshop in Budapest

 

The Best Flea Markets in Budapest

Our Top 3 Favourite Flea Markets in Budapest.

Budapest is home to one of Central Europe’s biggest flea markets and antique and second hand shops can be found in plentiful. Take a stroll through the markets and we guarantee you will find a whole lot of unique things and lost treasure. But remember to haggle! You will be amazed to see how much the prices can go down with the right amount of technique and charm.

 

1. Ecseri Piac. (Nagykőrösi út 156, 1194 Budapest)

This is the mother of all flea markets in Budapest, and one of the biggest in Central Europe. This is also the market most frequently visited by tourist, so be aware that some of the things can be overpriced.   Here you will find everything from antique jewelries and furniture to old Russian army artifacts and Nazi symbols. If you want to be like the pros, then try to beat the crowds by getting their early on Saturday mornings.

 

Ecseri Piac flea market in Budapest

 

 

 

2. PESCA Flea market (Zichy Mihály Street 14, 1146 Budapest)

Opened only during the weekend, the PESCA flea market is located in the middle of the City park. Here you can expect to find anything and everything, from old books and posters and antiquities to old toys, wristwatches and Lego pieces sold by the pound. There is an entrance fee of 1 Euro.

 

PESCA flea market in Budapest

 

 

3. Erzsébet tér market (Erzsébet tér 14, 1051 Budapest)

Held on the last Sunday of every month. Here you will find vendors selling both old and new stuff as well as food and sweets. Gaze through old clothes, vinyls, vintage record players and jewelry and porcelain.

 

Erzsébet tér flea market in Budapest

 

 

Out of the box – Austria

Sometimes it happens that the most beautiful things are right in front of you. Which is what I realized yesterday when we ventured on a trip from Slovenia to Austria.

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Ebensee

Strangely, Austria is a bit on the low key in the global tourist scene, which is a terrible shame. This Alpine jewel has some of the best skiing slopes in Europe, not to mention extraordinary views anywhere you look.

Our trip took us to a less known Bad Ischl, which lies in the North-West of the country, not far from Salzburg. This charming little town is a pleasant stop for a tired tourist, as it offers relaxing strolls down the river and delicious coffee at one of its river-side cafes.

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Bad Ischl centre

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Bad Ischl

Salzburg naturally is the capital of refined taste, with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart being its most renowned inhabitant. Enjoy a simple walk through the town, visit the salt museum, listen to some of the genius compositions of Mozart, see his birth house and try the notorious Mozartkugel (Mozart ball) – the best way to see the city.

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the beautiful Salzburg

In case you are arriving by car (or renting one), I recommend you a trip to Obertauren, which is a fairly remote place known by its exquisite skiing slopes. Winter tourism is at home in Austria and taking a short skiing break here is almost a must.

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Obertauren at night

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Obertauren during the day

Perhaps winter thrills are not your thing – go for a relaxing holiday at one of Austria’s many spa centers. Look for the word ‘bad’ in the name of the city and almost surely you will end up in a spa resort. My favourite pick is Fuschl am See, where you can enjoy wonderful views and good quality spa treatments.

Moreover, this little town hosts also the headquarters of the famous Red Bull company. In an architecturally fascinating buildings you can have a small tour and taste red bull – strawberry combo that is sure to delight your taste buds.

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Red Bull HQ in Fuschl am See

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How is that for the office?

Surely, Austria won’t fail to surprise you. Give it a shot the next time you plan a short break for a true Alpine experience!

The Importance of Face to Face Meetings

 

Face to Face meetings

Austin presenting Anne-Marie with her Travel Out There Bean. We are confident she is going to nurture the plant as well as her destination.

Just before the Easter break, the Travel Out There HQ in Riga had the pleasure of hosting Anne-Marie our local partner from Amsterdam.

During the few days Anne-Marie was with us, we managed not only discuss developments and plans for Travel Out There but also gain a deeper level of understanding and engagement. . We had already conversed regularly on Skype, yet it is almost impossible to generate the clarity and excitement we achieved over these few days. We would like to thank Tallink Hotel Riga for hosting Anne-Marie.

So what is it that provides this magic recipe of face to face meetings that you cannot achieve over the phone or on Skype?

Here are the top 5 ingredients we came up with!!

1) It is good to listen – as well as talk.
On the phone and on Skype one has tendency to talk talk talk and not listen, listen, listen. Meeting in person even allows both of you to have time in silence and time to think. This seems ’natural’ when meeting in person but awkward when talking on the phone. It is this thinking time that drives greater understanding.

2) Attention guaranteed.
How many of us whilst speaking on the phone could not resist the temptation to check in to Facebook or reply to an email? When meeting in person, it is simply not good manners to be ‘multi task’ whilst conversing, hence you manage to get 100% attention from all partcipants.

3) Body language is Communication – We tend to forget that body language plays a major part in our communication. It is not just how you said something, but also your facial expressions and body posture. This is lost in a phone conversation.

4) It is important to relax
It is often during the coffee break or over lunch when you really get to know the person you are working with. Enjoying these down times, in each others company, helps promote your working relationship to another level. You strike more of an emotional connection.

5) Compromise and conclude
With the points listed above it so much easier to strike compromises and conclude on action plans and important decisions, that might take a series of telephone calls over days or even months. Hence, meeting in person can drive efficiency and an urgency to get stuff done and wrap up projects!!

We are already looking forward to next years Travel Out There’s partner summit and are always keen to help our clients manage effective meetings for all their participants in each of our destinations.

8 Kinds of Easter Celebrations You Would Love If You Are…

1.

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POLAND

According to old polish traditions men are not allowed to partake in the baking of the Easter bread. If they do, their mustache will turn grey and the dough will not grow. So head to Poland, sit back and relax with some vodka, comb your colourful mustache and watch the women work the kitchen.

 

2.

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ANYWHERE BUT HUNGARY OR SLOVAKIA

Although Hungary is well-known for its Spa and hot springs, you can expect another kind of soak here on Easter. In hungarian villages it’s custom for men to throw a bucket of water over the women, or even dip them into a stream. And in Slovakia the men should spank women with a special made whip called korbáč, for which he is later rewarded with a painted egg and a shot of alcohol.

Raise your hand if you think these customs were invented by a man…

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3.

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SPAIN

Every year on Easter thursday the Dance of Death takes places in the spanish village Verges. The dance is performed to the beat of drums and participants carry scythes, ashes and clocks. The dancers perform a spooky dance dressed in skeleton costumes or robes to symbolise the final judgement after death when it is decided if the soul goes to heaven, purgatory, or hell.

Don’t expect to find any fluffy easter bunnies or sweet chocolate treats here.

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4.

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FRANCE

By now we all know how bad carbs are for our bodies, together with fat, meat, sugar, alcohol, etc etc… Which doesn’t leave much to feast on for Easter. Don’t worry, the french have the solution! In the french town of Haux, Easter is celebrated every year by making the world largest omelette. The recipe? About 5000 eggs, 20 liters of oil, 50 kg of bacon, 50kg onion and garlic and a mere 4 kg of salt and pepper.
Ever heard the saying “French cats don’t get fat”. Yeah, here’s the answer why!

 

5.

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SWEDEN

Already miss Halloween and New Year’s Costume parties? Then head to Sweden! Here you put on some old rags, oversized skirts and tie a scarf around your head and voilá, you will be handed free candy!

The swedish Easter witches go form door-to-door on Easter thursday and receive candies in return for a Happy Easter-greeting. But you need to hurry up, because when the night falls it’s time for all the witches to fly to “the blue hill” for their yearly meeting with Satan.

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6.

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GERMANY

 Before the Easter bunny took over the world, and made us forget all about Jesus part in the Easter celebration, Germany had a few other creatures that help to deliver chocolate treats to the kids. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Easter fox, the Easter rooster or the Easter stork during your visit in Germany.

And if you are enough of animals in general, then head to France where the easter eggs are delivered by the flying church bell.

 

 7.

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SERBIA OR UKRAINE

Think it’s enough to just splash some colour on an egg and your done with the egg-painting?
Think again. In Serbia, and other Slavic countries the art of egg painting is taken to a whole new level.

Mixed Eggs

 

 

 8.

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ANYWHERE

Just paint your Easter eggs like this:

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Travel Out There gave one person at random a 8gb 7″ Kindle Fire HD (Worth £119/€139), which is of course the perfect device to read those books on.

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Low season travels

Generally in tourism industry there are three seasons – low season (November – March), shoulder season (April, May, June, September, October) and high season (July, August). This can come in handy for a budget-minded traveler.

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winter in Berlin

Low season offers many advantages, such as low prices and good deals. Many hotels offer their services for up to 50% less then in high season. Also, you can avoid crowds that come over the summer, so peace and quiet is almost guaranteed.

 

However, you might find yourself caught in a bad weather, with constant drizzle or chilly winds. In addition, many properties opt for renovation during the low season, therefore your experience might be compromised.

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husky ride in Estonia

Still, there are more advantages than disadvantages for traveling in the low season. Call the local Tourist Information Center and ask what to expect, which properties are under renovation and what attractions are open. Europe is a wonderful place for low season traveling, with festivals and events popping up also during winter time.

 

Try also to experience the other side of the country with its winter coat on. In Latvia, the most popular thing to do is bobsleigh in the nearby Sigulda, a perfect thing to entertain yourself during the winter months. Tallinn will thrill you with ice climbing, while Vilnius could captivate you with curling. In Slovenia, Georgia and Slovakia you will find some of the best skiing spots on the continent. Berlin and Belgrade are truly cities that never sleep, with bustling culture and exciting nightlife throughout the year.

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winter in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Should season might be an attractive option too. You will still get much lower prices than in the high season, yet the weather will be more pleasant and cities more full of life. Mediterranean region, take Barcelona for example, offers high temperatures and plenty of sun already in April. Pack lightly and catch your summer before the real summer comes!

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spring in Barcelona

Remember, plan wisely, regularly check the best flight deals, monitor the weather and check the sights you want to see before your departure. Low season travels might just become your favourite thing to do!

Expatriate’s first bites – Slovenia

When you’ve been living abroad for a long time (7 months in my case), there will surely come a time when you start craving homemade food and all those flavours that take you back to your childhood. Even though Latvia is a country of plenty when it comes to delicious cuisine and food supplies, there is nothing like coming home.

So what are those peculiar things a Slovenian expat devours as soon as she sets her foot across the border?

1.) Dandelion

You are probably going like ‘huh’? Why would you eat grass? Well, in Slovenia dandelion is a cherished spring delicacy, full of iron and fresh bitter taste. We normally pick it ourselves in the meadows and eat it with warm potatoes, pig fat, eggs or a good dose of sunflower oil. Trust me, it’s yummy!

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2.) Vindija vanilla or chocolate pudding

It’s one of those post-Yugoslav treats that embodies nostalgia – retro packaging with delicious flavour and at a  remarkably low price! Croatian food industry has many achievements and I would surely list this pudding as one of them. Vanilla is the queen of my heart!

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3.) Curd pastry pouches

This yummy dessert was something my mum made only on special occasions, even thought the recipe is fairly simple. Dough is a mixture of flour, eggs and curd and once you roll it out you can easily stuff it with anything sweet! My choice – homemade jam! Find the recipe here.

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4.) Štruklji

This is a typical Slovenian dish that can be found in many varieties. Basically it is a sour dough roll with curd filling (yes, we use lots of curd in Slovenia). You can have them salty or sweet, with buckwheat flour or regular one, with rasins or with fruit filling. My favourite – simple salty curd filling with creamy mushroom sauce. Definitely tastes like home!

5.) Jota

Jota is a one-pot-wonder from Slovenia. This sour cabbage soup can be found mostly as the daily lunch in mountain huts for hungry hikers, but it is also a wonderful and healthy meal to make at home. Here’s my vegetarian version of jota.

6.) Potica

Easter is coming and with it also my favourite Slovenian dessert – potica. This is a wallnut roll that is served on special occassions like Christmas and Easter and it is known all around the country. Its preparation takes a long time, but the end result is just delicious!