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Mihaela Lica Butler

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Mihaela Lica-Butler is travel writer and travel public relations consultant by profession, lover of cultures and cuisine. She has built a fun career while chiming in on many topics, from relating the trials and tribulations of the people of Kosovo, to experiencing, first hand, the heroics of the Romanian soldiers serving for the UN. But she thrives in conveying her love for travel and places in written word, and she is happy to be a constant contributor for some of the world's best travel sites.

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devils

The Mohács Busójárás is one of the highest anticipated Farsang events in Hungary. Mohács is a good three-hour drive from Mamaison Hotel Andrassy, and about two and a half hours from Mamaison Residence Izabella, but it is all worth the trip if you want to see authentic Hungarian traditions.

The program for the 2017 edition of the Busójárás festival has already been announced, as many visitors plan their trips to Hungary to see the event early. It is wise to book your hotel early too, to take advantage of the early bird offer with Mamaison.

The festival kicks off on February 23, in the morning, at 9:00 am, with preparations for the youth center, and a wealth of activities for children. The carnival procession on the route Táncsics utca – Szabadság utca – Széchenyi tér starts at 15:30. The day ends with traditional dances at Duna Irodaházban- Szabadság u.4-6.

The second day at the carnival starts at 13:00 and features contests, folk dance groups, live folk music, the „Busók és Jankelék” drawing competition, an exhibition of folk art objects at Kossuth Filmszínházban, followed by a concert (admission charge) featuring guitarist Szörényi Levente, and a concert by the Slavic dance orchestra at the same address mentioned above.

Saturday is full of exciting events, starting early, at 9:00. Among these, don’t miss the Serbian cultural gastronomy, folk dances in the Serbian Church yard; dances and presentations of Busós masks at Szechenyi Square; mask-carving demonstrations, carnival games, and chariot decorations at Síp utcában; wreath-laying at the statue of the three soldiers in Széchenyi Square; plus other events revolving around the Busós tradition.

The popular art and craft fair opens Sunday, February 26 at 9:00 am – this is the most interesting part for tourists who want to leave Hungary with something handmade, culturally representative, and valuable. The prices are competitive and attractive, as the purpose of the festival is to promote local heritage and values.

A note for foreign women attending the festival: traditionally, Busós dance kóló with the girls and the women, and make inappropriate jokes. Do not feel offended, though: this is not personal, it’s tradition.

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Moscow Christmas

Late autumn is the time for Christmas markets all over Europe to open their gates, transforming central public squares into charming winter wonderlands reminiscent of Santa’s workshop. Wooden stalls decorated with garlands and lights will display toys and souvenirs, candy and Christmas candles, clothing and accessories, plus all kinds of seasonal treats, including gingerbread and mulled wine.

Every European city where you find a Mamaison hotel will have a Christmas market: Budapest, Warsaw, Moscow, Bratislava, and Prague celebrate the season with fairy tale-like displays, music, community, and good fun.

Christmas Markets in Budapest

Vorosmarty

The most popular Advent fair in Budapest takes place at Vörösmarty ter from November 13, and lasts until January 6, 2017. This gives city visitors enough time to find handcrafted made-in-Hungary treasures and souvenirs. The light effects show on the facade of the historic Cafe Gerbeaud is mesmerizing and will fascinate attendees of all ages. Besides Vörösmarty ter you can also visit the less touristy Christmas markets like the one held in front of St Stephen’s Basilica, or the market at Bakáts Square, which is mainly popular with the locals. The Budapest Christmas Tram decorated with Christmas lights rides on two lines: 2A along the Danube promenade and 19 from Batthyány tér to Kelenföldi Pályaudvar. Several indoor markets are offered too, including the famous WAMP Christmas Market contemporary design fair.

Christmas Markets in Prague

Christmas in Prague

In Prague, the most popular stop for shopping before Christmas is the Old Town Square, where the Christmas Market opens four Saturdays before December 24, and lasts till the first week of January. A less touristy alternative is the market at Wenceslas Square, which opens about the same time. There are smaller markets at Republic Square, Havel’s Market, on Kampa Island in the Lesser Town, and by St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle.

Christmas Markets in Moscow

Kremlin Winter

From the “Dunyasha” Gift Market to the Journey Into Christmas market held at the Red Square, Moscow has a fair share of shopping experiences in the season. Note that JJourney Into Christma extends beyond the Red Square to all Moscow’s districts, with many venues offering concerts, arts and crafts sales, workshops, cooking demonstrations, street performances, and more. See the huge Christmas ball at Manezh Square (pictured above) with its 9.5 km of LED lights. DI Telegraph, located in the very center of Moscow, is the site of another interesting market featuring design objects by local artists. Dates for this year have not been announced.

Christmas Markets in Bratislava

bratislava christmas

When you visit the main Christmas market in Bratislava at Hlavne Namestie (Main Square) climb up to the tower of the Old Town Hall to take a beautiful picture. The market itself is busy and crowded, offering the usual gifts, souvenirs, mulled wine and punch, and seasonal local foods. A second market takes place at Hviezdoslav’s Square and it is the less touristy destination for Christmas shopping. Here you find an ice rink popular with kids and young adults. Don’t miss the fire show on Fridays.

Christmas Markets in Warsaw

angel

The main Christmas Fair in Warsaw takes place in the Old Town in the Market Square from the end of November till December 23, 2016. There’s also a market in WOLA, with traditional wooden stall, a beautiful Christmas tree, stage for concerts, and a Nativity scene. There will also be festive and traditional attractions for children including a Christmas mini-train and a carousel.

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Kuratorium

Warsaw is different things to different people, and the art lover has a wealth of things to discover beyond the Museum of Modern Art, which is run by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Warsaw City Council. Granted, the museum’s rich collection of visual arts, industrial and graphic design, and architecture is inspiring, and a stop at their EMESEN cafe after seeing the exhibition can be as rewarding as taking in the art, but it is not enough for the art traveler. So the walk continues.

Galeria Sztuki Katarzyny at Świętokrzyska 32, owned by the former director of the Gallery of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers, Katarzyna Napiórkowska, is not far from the Museum of Modern Art. This is a contemporary art gallery, which shows painting, graphics, drawing, and sculpture.

If you walk in the opposite direction from the Museum of Modern Art you find Galeria Stereo at Miedziana 11. This gallery is highly recommended for its carefully curated exhibitions of Polish art, but they also have a well-developed international program.

Galeria Stereo

Galeria Stereo: Kilian Rüthemann “Tools” exhibition in 2014

Another gallery not far from the Museum of Modern Art is Kuratorium at Sienna 43A. It promotes young Polish art, organizing exhibitions of paintings and continually expanding its permanent collection of the works.You will see works by Paweł Słota, Juliusz Kosin, Ewelina Sośniak, Tomek Mistak, Piotr Saul, and many others.

Another fascinating destination for art lovers is Le Guern (Widok 8), an interesting gallery that focuses on the most significant figures of the contemporary art scene, both Polish and international. The gallery space is open to different artistic attitudes and forms of creative activity including photography, painting, sculpture, drawings, installations, film, video art, and so on.

From here, walk to Pies Czy Suka, a design store and cocktail bar at Szpitalna 8a, which also has a passion for contemporary art, organizing all kinds of exhibitions.

Or try THE PICTURES Art Bar Cafe at Chmielna 26 for cocktails and a sensual decor that combines balck and white photography with comfort.

Besides these random stops, Warsaw has many other galleries clustering around the center. It is easy to discover them in a simple walk. There are also many design stores, which sell authentic pieces at fair prices. If you are an art lover in Warsaw you will always find something to do.

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pretzel

Oktoberfest in Bratislava will only celebrate the season of good beer with a two-day program, on October 6 and 7 this year. The beloved celebration will take place at Tyršovo nábrežie, on the banks of the Danube. Albeit small scale, this is an international event, uniting breweries from Slovakia, Moravia, Austria, and Germany. There will be no less than 15 such breweries showcasing their signature brews and seasonal specials. A large selection of bottled beers from all over the world adds a plus of diversity much anticipated by beer connoisseurs. Foods typical to Oktoberfest celebrations all over the world, like large warm pretzels and sausages, will be available as well.

Musical entertainment is the main offer in the program of the festival, with a variety of concerts, including punk ‘n’ roll, punk rock, foxtrot, tango, swing, jazz, indie pop, and hip hop. The festival is part of the White Night in Bratislava 2016 event, which offers visitors an unconventional artistic night walk through the city, full of new experiences and sensations.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see art installations, and a whole range of attractions in a new light: animated unconventional spaces, parks, bridges, embankments, facades, and much more. About 45 stops are planned for the event, which takes place at night, October 8-9, from 7:00 pm until 2:00 am. There will also be interactive games, art installations, and an after party at Ateliér Babylon, the official after party of Nuit Blanche 2016.

Accommodation is usually hard to find during these events, so book ahead. Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava has a special offer for stays of two nights of longer this season, allowing you to save up to 20% off the standard rate. In addition, we’ll pamper you with a milkshake and with delicious cookies. The offer comes with other perks, like free use of the fitness area and sauna.

For those with no preference for beer and pretzels, October offers several other entertainment opportunities. One of them is the Red Bull Flying Bach, a unique show at Istropolis, featuring the dance group Flying Steps with a special breakdance performance on Bach’s well-known work “Well-Tempered Clavier.” You can check out the official Visit Bratislava website for more exciting events during your stay in our city in October.

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oktoberfest

It may be colder, it may be rainy, it may seem dull and gray, but, in fact, October is a very exciting month to visit Budapest. There are many festivals that turn autumn into a season of true celebration.

The month begins with Oktoberfest when Felvonulási tér becomes the capital of beer. Popular breweries, as well as small microbreweries and craft breweries, will line up the stalls at the City Park. This is the fourth year when festival participants can experience the celebration in the Bavarian Paulaner Oktoberfest tent. A 40-meter high Ferris wheel will offer visitors the opportunity to see the city from up high. The festival begins the last weekend of September, on the 29th, and lasts till the second day of October.

Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival is the second festival of the month, brightening the city with a wide range of events, from contemporary classical music to theatre premieres, from popular music to contemporary circus, from dance to visual art and beyond. The venues of 2016 include Müpa Budapest, Liszt Academy, A38 Ship, Budapest Music Center, Castle Garden Bazaar, Vigadó, Akvárium, Millenáris, and Bálna Budapest.

Cafe Budapest

Who could miss the Budapest Pálinka and Sausage Festival, which takes place at the iconic Buda Castle on Castle Hill in the first two days of October? There will be several types of palinka available for tastings and purchase. Palinka is usually paired with sausages, so visitors will also enjoy such regional specialties. Music and live entertainment make this event even more appealing.

Kürtőskalács, the Chimney Cake Festival, is another interesting event that you shouldn’t miss. It takes place in the second weekend of October at the City Park, Vajdahunyad Castle. This festival celebrates the Hungarian kürtőskalács pastries and will present various technique of preparing chimney cakes, over charcoal or fried in oil, in many sizes, and different flavors.The highlight of the festival is the great chimney cake bake-off.

kurtoskalacs fesztival

Art Market Budapest will take place from October 13 until October 16 this year. The international art fair at Millenáris will feature a variety of art and crafts objects for purchase. There will also be an exhibition, CHIM: Children of the War, and other interesting events.

The Budapest Restaurant Week ends this list of festivals with an invitation to gourmet cuisine. It takes place from October 10 until October 16 in several participant restaurants, including our own
La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge at Mamaison Hotel Andrassy. If you plan your vacation in Budapest during the restaurant week, we invite you to check out our Joy of Autumn City special offer, which is available throughout the season, until December 1st, 2016. Booking directly on our official site you can save 15 % of the usual rate when staying 2 nights, and 20 % when staying 3 nights or more. See you there!

La Perle Noire Restaurant and Lounge

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Joy of Autumn

It’s that time of the year again, when the trees turn to vibrant colors shortly before their leaves fall to cover the ground with a comfy blanket of orange, yellows, and reds. Mamaison Hotels & Residences celebrate the season too, by bringing you a special offer with the Joy of Autumn City promotion.

Joy of Autumn City offer

Our new special offer is available in selected Mamaison Hotels & Residences hotels, throughout the season, till December 1st, 2016. Booking directly on our official sites you can save 15 % of the usual rate when staying 2 nights, and 20 % when staying 3 nights or more. Each participating hotel offers different perks with this package.

Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava

Mamaison Residence Sulekova Bratislava is happy to offer Joy of Autumn City with perks like free WiFi, free room upgrade (upon availability), and free use of their fitness and sauna area. You will be welcomed with a fresh milkshake, and homemade cookies.

Mamaison Andrassy Hotel Budapest

Mamaison Andrassy Hotel Budapest will welcome you with hot chocolate and homemade cookies, and their Joy of Autumn City package also includes free WiFi and free upgrades when available.

Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest

Mamaison Residence Izabella Budapest is participating in this promotion too. They welcome guests with hot tea and homemade cookies. Their perks include free WiFi, free upgrades, and free use of fitness and sauna.

Mamaison Riverside Hotel Prague

Mamaison Riverside Hotel Prague will pamper you with a free cup of hot milk, a hot chocolate with amaretto, or a milkshake and cookies upon your arrival. In addition to free WiFi and free room upgrade (when available), they also offer a free 3 hour city tour with an experienced guide.

Mamaison Residence Belgicka Prague

Mamaison Residence Belgicka Prague offers a free city tour too, in addition to all the other perks. You will be welcomed with hot chocolate and homemade cookies.

Mamaison Residence Downtown Prague

Just like its sister residence in Prague, Mamaison Residence Downtown makes you feel welcome the moment you enter the lobby. They have delicious homemade cookies, and you can choose a welcome drink from a duo of hot milk and hot chocolate. Free city tour, free WiFi, and free upgrade upon availability are their Joy of Autumn City perks.

These are the participating hotels that offer Joy of Autumn City packages this season. Remember, these offers are only available on their sites, and only to guests who book directly.