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Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Luxe Moment from My Travels: Frugal, Of Course

I've been wanting to write about some of the more emotional aspects of my recent trip to middle and eastern Europe. Miss Em said Ummmmm. That's not really about frugality, is it? Good point. I do tend to wander. So I may have to start ANOTHER blog I won't have time to keep up with.

So: ON TOPIC. We were exceedingly frugal on this trip, perhaps because we kept detailed records of spending for the first time. In fact, I think we need to add a bit more luxe on the next trip. However, luxe moments do crop up, sometimes unexpectedly.

Moment 1 in BUDAPEST. We walked over the Danube from the Buda side to the Pest side. There, in all its renovated glory is one of the top architectural sights--and sites--in Budapest.The magnificent art nouveau Gresham Palace, now a hotel. Mr FS and I peered in, but felt a little timid and self-conscious, shabby even. Then we saw people even more shabby. They marched in and so did we. Our leaders were tourists, as we were. Then we noticed that the guests were just as shabby--typical tourist dress, with broken-in shoes. I realized that--as in the USA--hotel lobbies are public spaces. Public spaces have bathrooms. This is no big deal in my home country, but in Budapest--and elsewhere in the big world--bathrooms are hard to find and may require payment. Shocking to Americans!

Mr FS remembered that he had seen a website featuring public bathrooms in Budapest. Just in case you are IN the hotel right now, here are the provided directions:
In the Gresham Palace Hotel walk in the main entrance and then towards the reception desk. Turn left into the major hallway as you approach the desk and the toilets are on your right.

By golly, it worked! What a bathroom! All marble. Truly over the top paper towels. Mr FS asked me if the towels were really paper. We brought one home as a souvenir (is that ethical?--sorry, if it's a breach). We made a point of stopping by the bathroom whenever we were nearby--maybe thrice more. The sense of luxe never wore off.

Next luxe moment: previewing a celebrity, almost royal wedding.


Duchesse said...

A good bathroom when you're out walking is a luxury no matter where you are!

At this point in life, the far end of frugality feels crabbed and five-star luxury feels wasteful to me, but between these poles there is a pleasing level of comfort that I really enjoy when travelling.

Shelley said...

What a hoot; I love the survival guide. We were sad when EazyJet stopped direct flights from Newcastle to Budapest; we kept thinking we would organise a running club trip there to do the marathon or half, but its not now very easy to get there except via London. Currently I'm having a very frugal holiday, cat-sitting for a cousin in Nice. Sadly, Bill had other commitments so I'm on my own initially. Still, the balcony view of the Baie des Anges is amazing...

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I THINK we are in between. The real luxury: 7 weeks.

@Shelley--Oh, how I envy your easy and cheap access to all those places.