Update from the USA

Update from the USA

I haven’t written anything for a while and that’s because I went through a tough period and a. wanted to give myself some time b. wanted a break from technology. But now I’m back, travelling in the US and ready to share my pictures and storries.

I’m not sure how much time I will have to post here but once I’m back to Hungary in September I’m going to start working on my own website.

Travelling has taught me a lot and the original idea behind this blog was to share the things that made me a happier, more balanced person with others. As a yoga teacher I was able to share some of the wisdome with others but I wanted more. So I signed up for a language/life coach training that starts in September and I’d like to share my journey with you.

If you are interested in learning and developing together, or just love travelling follow me here or on my Facebook page  Wandering lightly (where I post more regularly, at least for now).

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An ode to coffee – Italy

An ode to coffee – Italy

Last week, I wrote about Vietnamese coffee and while I’m a not a huge fan of it I still found some drinks that are worth dying for. This week, however I’m writing about my true love, Italian coffee.

So here’s a list of my favourites. Most of them are quite popular all over the world but no one can make and drink them like the Italians do.

  1. Moka

Every Italian household has at least one of these stove-top coffee makers. The coffee it makes is strong and similar to espresso but it doesn’t have that thin foam on top that you get when using an espresso machine. It’s small and portable and the coffee it makes is an ideal base for a latte, cappuccino or basically anything. If you want to enjoy your coffee in Italian style make sure that you stuff the pot with grind coffee to the top.

  1. Espresso

It’s much stronger than other brews thanks to the method how it’s made. It also contains more caffeine but as it comes in a tiny cup it doesn’t really matter. It gives the base of cappuccino and caffé latte but a lot of people find it too strong and bitter in itself. I quite like it but I think it’s best with a tiny bit of milk.

  1. Espresso macchiato

Espresso with a small amount of foamed milk. It’s heaven itself. The milk takes away the bitterness a bit but you can still taste the aroma of the coffee. Perfection! (I’m not biased at all…)

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Coffee and pastry
  1. Cappuccino

Of course, everyone knows it but do we know how it’s made or what is the difference between cappuccino and caffé latte? Add in a cup 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foam and there you have a cappuccino. Italians mainly have it for breakfast with sweet pastry but I saw an old lady once ordering it after lunch so… I don’t care anymore. If I want a cappuccino I’ll have one.

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  1. Caffé Latte

Once an Italian asked my why the English call it latte. She was confused for a reason. Latte means milk in Italian so if you happen to order it don’t be surprised if you get a glass of milk. It’s similar to cappuccino but the foam is thinner. It’s made with 1/3 espresso and 2/3 milk including the thin foam.

You can also get coffee with different liquors and cocoa or chocolate syrup. These are especially popular among tourists so don’t be surprised if the barrista looks at you like you were an alien when you order an espresso. I have a feeling that most Italians secretly think that all tourists are barbarians when it comes to coffee drinking 😛

An ode to Coffee – Vietnam

An ode to Coffee – Vietnam

Oh boy! I love coffee! Its smell, its flavour and its beautiful dark colour. I love everything about it but I decided to give it a break. I realised that I’m an addict but I feel I still have time to do something about it. I’m not the kind of person who can’t start a day without coffee (on the other hand it grosses me out when I’m so dehydrated after not drinking for about 8 hours) and I don’t think it has a significant effect on my energy level. My body doesn’t need it. But my soul…. that’s a different question. Coffee means taking an active break from something. I drink it when I’m busy and want to recharge (or when I pretend to be busy and want to convince myself that after a cup I’ll be much more effective). Tea is for when I want to relax. Full stop. And while my body is completely fine without this dark liquid my mind often wanders to dangerous terrain. So to keep it busy I decided to write about what she likes. Coffee.

I must say, I’m very lucky for a coffee addict as I had the chance to live in two countries that are famous for their coffee and while Italy beats Vietnam (at least in my opinion)there are some gems among Vietnamese coffees. The thought of the coconut-ice coffee that you can buy in Hanoi brought back some memories so I decided to do a miniseries (with two parts) and dedicate this first one to Vietnam. So here are my favourite and not so favourite beverages from Hanoi.

  1. Iced coffee condensed milk

This was the first drink I got after landing in Hanoi. Or to be exact, after I was brave enough to cross the road to get to the cafe. I was jet lagged and exhausted and this strong, sugary drink was a lifesaver. It is a bit too sweet to my taste so once I was experienced enough I always told the “barrista” to add less condensed milk. It is the perfect choice for those who are not a huge fan of coffee but want to get familiar with Vietnamese beverages, as it has a rather chocolaty flavour.

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  1. Iced black coffee

It is the same as the first one but without the condensed milk. I find Vietnamese coffee a bit too muddy and thick but with ice it is quite refreshing and not so much dehydrating. It’s perfect for hot days but make sure that you tell the “barrista” not to add sugar, unless you want it sweet. Vietnamese people tend to add sugar into almost everything so watch out if you don’t like your coffee sweet.

  1. Egg coffee

This sweet drink with beaten egg whites on top is unique to Hanoi and popular in the winter. Legend says it that it was invented when there was a milk shortage but the Vietnamese didn’t want to drink their coffee black. It is definitely worth a try but it’s a bit too sweet in my opinion.

  1. Yoghurt coffee

Mmmm… deliciousness! The sourness of the yoghurt and the bitterness of the coffee creates an interesting combination that is quite refreshing. It always comes with ice and they use sweetened yoghurt so it’s not too bitter.

  1. Coconut coffee

This comes in many forms but my favourite is definitely the coconut coffee smoothie from Cong Ca phe. I don’t it needs explanation. The picture says it all.

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  1. Avocado coffee smoothie

I know… Avocado? Trust me, it’s amazing. They blend ice and avocado together then add some kind of sugary syrup and coffee and mix it together. The sugary syrup doesn’t make it the healthiest option but the taste makes you forget about it.

  1. Hot Vietnamese coffee

It is something that I wouldn’t recommend as it is too muddy to my taste but try it and decide it for yourself. It gives the base to other coffee drinks and is made with a metal cup that has tiny holes on its bottom. They stuff the cup with grind coffee, pour water on it and wait for it to drip down into the cup under the metal one.

Coffee in Vietnam is rather cheap (it’s between 15.000-25.000 VND) so you don’t need to break the bank to try these specialities. Cong Caphe is a chain in Hanoi that is worth visiting but stopping by at small, family-run coffee shops can hold surprises for you as well. Be curious, experiment with Vietnamese coffee and tell me what you liked the most.

Óda a kávéhoz – Vietnam

Óda a kávéhoz – Vietnam

Imádom a kávét! Az illatát, az ízét, a gyönyörű sötét színét… egyszóval mindent. Mégis, úgy döntöttem, hogy megpróbálom kicsit visszafogni a fogyasztásom, miután realizálódott bennem, hogy enyhén függő vagyok. Na nem fizikailag. Nekem nem kell a kávé a felébredéshez (sőt, egyenesen undorral tölt el az alvás utáni dehidratált állapotban elfogyasztott kávé gondolata), és nem észleltem, hogy különösebben befolyásolná az energiaszintemet, viszont a lelkemnek annál inkább szüksége van rá. A kávé egyenlő azzal, hogy szünetet tartok valami fontos dolog közben. Valahogy azt képzelem, hogy utána majd jobban mennek a dolgok. A tea ezt nem helyettesíti, az arra való, hogy teljesen leeresszek. És még a testem teljesen jól megvan kávé nélkül, a gondolataimat teljesen kitölti, de legalábbis gyakran álmodozom róla. Ezért, hogy némileg megnyugodjak, úgy döntöttem, hogy írok róla.

Szerencsésnek mondhatom magam, hiszen két olyan országban is éltem, ahol nagy jelentősége van a kávénak, és bár Olaszország kenterbe veri Vietnamot (legalábbis szerintem), azért a vietnami kávék közt is akad jó pár említésre méltó. A Hanoiban kapható kókuszos kávé gondolata olyan emlékeket ébresztett föl bennem, amelyek hatására úgy döntöttem, hogy csinálok egy mini-sorozatot, amelyben az első részt Vietnamnak szentelem. Úgyhogy itt is van egy lista a kedvenc, és kevésbé kedvenc italaimról:

  1. Jegeskávé sűrített tejjel

Ez volt az első ital, amelyet magamhoz vettem a Hanoiban való landolás után. Na jó, csak miután rá tudtam magam szánni, hogy átkeljek az úttesten a kávézóhoz. Hulla fáradt voltam a repülőút után, és ez a cukros, koffein dús lé életmentő volt. Hogy őszinte legyek, ez az ital egy kicsikét édes az én ízlésemnek, úgyhogy miután szert tettem némi tapasztalatra és nyelvtudásra, mindig megkértem a “barristát”, hogy tegyen bele kevesebb sűrített tejet. Azonban ha valaki szereti az édes ízt, ez az ital a tökéletes választék. Azok is bátran kipróbálhatják, akik nem szeretik a kávét, ugyanis az cukros tej csokiszerű ízt ad az italnak.

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  1. Jegeskávé

Ugyanaz, mint az előző, csak sűrített tej nélkül. Számomra a vietnami kávé önmagában nagyon sűrű és sárszerű, de jéggel hígítva tökéletes felfrissülés a meleg napokon. Ha nem szeretjük a cukrot, szóljunk előre a “barristának”, hogy ne tegyen bele, ugyanis Vietnamban imádják az édes ízt és szinte mindenben van cukor.

  1. Tojáskávé

Ez az édes, tojáshabos különlegesség Hanoiból származik. Állítólag azért találták ki, mert egyszer tejhiány volt, ám a vietnamiak nem szerették volna feketén inni a kávét, úgyhogy kellett valami, amivel helyettesíteni lehet. Télen népszerű, amikor elég hűvös az idő, hogy ne kelljen azon aggódni, megromlik a tojás. Az ital szinte émelyítően édes, de mindenképp megér egy próbát.

  1. Joghurtkávé

Nyammm… Mennyei! Nem is gondolnánk, hogy a joghurt savanykás íze milyen jól harmonizál a kávé keserűségével. Az italba zúzott jeget is tesznek, és mivel a joghurt édes, jól kompenzálja a keserűséget.

  1. Kókuszos kávé

Ebből van sokfajta, a melegtől a hidegen át a jegesig. Az én kedvencem a Cong Ca Phe-ban kapható, kókusz-jégkásás változat. Szerintem nem szolgál magyarázatra. A kép magáért beszél.

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  1. Avokádós kávé

Bizonyára sokan elborzadnak ennek az italnak a hallatán, de mindenkit megnyugtatok, isteni finom. Az avokádót összeturmixolják jéggel, cukorsziruppal és kávéval, és már le is pattanhatunk a kis műanyag hokedlinkre, hogy elfogyasszuk. Tudom, a cukorszirup része nem a legegészségesebb, de valamit valamiért. Legalább az avokádó kompenzál kicsit.

  1. Meleg vietnami kávé

Ez végképp nem tartozik a kedvenceim közé, mivel sűrű, sárszerű, de jobb híján ez is belefér. Elkészítéséhez egy fém kávészűrő bögrére van szükség, melyet a pohár tetejére biggyesztenek, megtömik kávéval, forró vizet öntenek rá, és hagyják lecsöpögni.  Ő adja az alapot az összes fönt említett kávéhoz, és bár önmagában nem nagy szám, azért érdemes őt is kipróbálni.

Szerencsére a kávé olcsó Vietnamban (15.000-25.000 VND), úgyhogy nem kell bankot robbantani, hogy kipróbáljuk ezeket a különlegességeket. Egyik kedvencem a Hanoiban található Cong Ca Phe, mely egy kávézólánc, de emellett a kis, családi kávézókba is érdemes betérnünk, hiszen nem tudhatjuk hol ér minket kellemes meglepetés.

Ashram diet

Ashram diet

I know it sounds like a new diet trend but let me assure you it’s nothing like that. The next blog post is about what I ate while I was in India doing a yoga teacher course and how this experience changed my eating habits.

Although, Hindus usually follow a vegetarian diet as the Indian economic gets stronger meat is becoming more and more accessible. Despite meat’s rising popularity you won’t find any restaurants in Rishikesh that sell steaks. In the yoga capital vegetarian dishes are still the only option. And while vegetarians are safe from unpleasant surprises (like meat wrapped in tofu) if you are a vegan you have to watch out for dairy. There’s a reason why cows are considered holy in India and that’s their milk. I always wondered why cows played such an important role in Indian culture but then a wise man explained the connection between milk, motherhood and the ability to create life and now it makes complete sense.

Despite the fact that I was following a traditional, ayurvedic diet and didn’t consume any meat or eggs I was able to exercise at least 3 hours a day and sit with a straight back for hours. For breakfast, we had fruits with porridge/oatmeal, toast or chickpea “omelette” with different sauces. Lunch was something light. Usually soup and curry with rice and of course a huge portion of fresh vegetables. For dinner, we got soup, fresh vegetables and curry with rice and some kind of bread, which was more filling and a better option before bed. All dishes were designed by an ayurveda expert and we had to chant a mantra before every meal to clean the food from negative energies.

As my metabolism is at least twice as fast as an average person’s I had to supplement my diet with food from outside the school but almost everyone else was OK with what we got.

I know that practicing yoga, pranayama and meditation played a huge part in me getting healthier but I’m sure that my diet also helped a lot. I wasn’t ill or anything but I had some minor health issues that all went away while I was in India so I decided to keep some of the habits I picked up in the school. Since I left, I try to eat even more fresh, raw vegetables and I always start my morning with a big bowl of fruits. I never have any problems with my digestion and I haven’t had any respiratory illnesses. Another thing that I don’t even want to believe is how my cellulite disappeared. I’m quite skinny but because I lose weight easily it caused some problems.

I know that not everyone wants to be vegetarian and we can’t live like we were in an ashram but a small change can make a huge difference. I wasn’t able to eat as healthily as I did in India, nor did I have the time to exercise for 3 hours a day but by rising my fruit and vegetable portions I noticed a significant difference. If I had to give one piece of advice it would be to add more greens to every meal. It’s not that difficult.

And to inspire you a bit more here are some pictures of the food from India:

Myanmar photo journal – The South

Myanmar photo journal – The South

Read the first part on Yangon here

When I arrived to Yangon I was planning to do the usual golden triangle (Yangon-Inle Lake-Bagan) and maybe squeeze in Mandalay but I’m never too strict when it comes to planning so I ended up going south. I didn’t know much about it, especially because in the past it was much more difficult to travel to these remote towns and villages but it was well worth a visit.Luckily, the bus ride from Yangon to Hpa An was quite relaxing and comfortable…

The next day, it was time to leave Hpa An and catch a boat to Mawlamyine. Before we left the guest house we had some time to walk around the local market then we went to the river to find our “ship”. It was more like a boat with extremelly uncomfortable plastic chairs but luckily the boat trip was interesting enough to take away my thought from my soar back part.

We managed to survive another night in the prison hotel and caught the bus to Inle Lake the next morning.

Third and final part with pictures from Inle Lake and Bagan is coming soon 🙂

Myanmar photo journal – Yangon

Myanmar photo journal – Yangon

It is freezing cold outside and I feel like a bear that hibernated. I decided not to go against nature and try to take it slowly but unfortunately unlike an animal I can’t hide in my cave for months as I have stuff to do. To motivate myself and use this freezing weather to my advantage I decided to go through my pictures, get them organised and share a few of them with you.

So here’s a photo journal of my trip to Myanmar. It was one of the most exciting countries that I visited and I took so many pictures that I decided to split it in half.

I flew from Hanoi to Yangon and so that’s where my journey began…