Summer Travel and Vacation

by Linda Capeloto Sendowski on June 30, 2011

Tomatoes in  the Shouk Ha Karmel

Hi all, Michael and I  have been on vacation since the beginning of June.  We left Los Angeles had a 12 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany and then landed in Tel Aviv on June 10th.  We spent time in Tel Aviv and using our hotel there as a base, we visited Herzalia, Hod Hasharon, and Yafo.  We went by private car up to the Galil and the Golan and stayed over one night at a kibbutz, Ha Gushrim and visited the Banyas (the head waters of the Jordan River).  Mostly we visited family and ate fantastic food.

Druse lady making laffa bread in Shouk Ha Karmel

Tibun, Laffa made in a special oven

Spice Store on a kibbutz

Baklava in the Shouk

Appetizers at cousin's house

Arabic Milk Pudding with berry sauce, Muhallebi

Dinner at Kibbutz in the Golan

coffee in Herzalia

We left Tel Aviv in the middle of the night on the 14th or the morning of the 15th and flew to Rome. In Rome we walked the city from our hotel near the Piazza de Popolo, up the Via del Corso to the Via Condotti. Continuing up to the Spanish Steps, we climbed them and made our way to the Piazza Barberini eating Pizza, drinking espresso, pasta with Porcini and Fiori del Zucca or stuffed zucchini flowers, all the way. Oh don’t forget the sorbetti.

Pizza with arugula and porcini mushrooms

Gelato and Sorbetti


We shopped, looked, and stopped to rest along the way and as soon as it was 7:30 and restaurants opened up for dinner we ate. Dinner included artichokes Roman style, more pasta with Porcini mushrooms, and dessert.

Ruth's Kosher Restaurant in Florence

Beautiful Produce in Florence

The next morning dawned hot and bright, after a great hotel breakfast buffet, fresh baked goods, jams, marmalades, cheese, fruit and eggs we were fortified to walk some more. In the afternoon we braved the Rome train station and hopped an express train to Firenze or Florence. Today was the 16th. Sorbetti, fresh rolls, cheese, pasta and vegetables, we toured this fabulous city during fashion week in fine gastronomic fashion and even took a short train ride to see the leaning Tower of Pisa, a very tacky tourist town but nevertheless interesting.

After a little mishap in the train station we returned to the Rome Fumicino Airport on the night of the 18th. By mistake we boarded the local instead of the express and a one and one half hour train ride turned into a dinnerless 4 and one half night mare. On June 19th we caught a Czech airline flight to Prague.

Grapevines and View of Prague

Prague is a picturesque jewel, left relatively unscathed by the bombs of WWII. It is small enough to negotiate easily. We ate at least 3 meals a day with plenty of espresso and dessert breaks for good measure. Our hosts wined us and dined us at wonderful venues all over the city including a restaurant terrace with and overview of the city and a black tie ballgown evening at the presidential palace entertainment provided by the Prague philharmonic.

Lunch on the Terrace, Salmon with Fennel, Ahi with Marinade

Roasted Dough with Cinnamon and Sugar, Trdelnik

Chocolate Salon night, Chocolate covered piano

Chocolate Salon

Dinner in the Presidential Palace

Our Private Street Fair

On the 22nd we flew to Budapest and spent a couple more days eating and touring. Budapest is recovering its former beauty, spaning both sides of the Danube river.


Unlike Prague it was bombed during WWII and after the war 40 years of communism further ruined the urban landscape. The city prides itself on its beautiful and flavorful culinary tradition.  Again, our hosts created memories with unbelievable events, inlcluding a private street fair and dinner and a visit to a famed Hungarian horse farm for a Hungarian style farm dinner.

Hungarian Horsemanship

Dinner at the Opera House

Dinner at the Horse Farm

Breakfast at the Hotel

Cherry Strudel at the Fair

Late Night Dessert in Room

A dinner at the famed Gundel restaruant that has survived through every king, despot, WWI, Nazi’s, and Communists was impressive , as well as a private cooking class the next morning at Gundel made my day.

Cooking with the Pastry Chef

Sunday Brunch at Gundel

A drive to the countryside and lunch on Herrand porcelain at the factory, and last but not least a black tie evening at the Budapest Opera House , dinner dancing and entertainment by the Hungarian Philharmonic, the Budapest ballet and opera companies rounded out the few days in Budapest. It was unbelievable!

Budapest Opera House Evening

Crepes a la Gundel

Our Private Street Fair

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorena Martinez July 4, 2011 at 8:26 AM

Una Maravilla de Viaje !!!!!!! Excelente escogencia,realmente la comida en Tel aviv e Italia….deliciosas !!!!!!. me despierta todos mis recuerdos gustativos…he disfrutado de ellas y nunca las olvidare son mis preferidas…….Soy de cocina sencilla,donde los productos frescos locales y la “cocina de casa” o trattoria se unen y forman ese maridaje que nos ha deleitado los paladares a muchas generaciones …….y nos proporcionan salud y bellos recuerdos……

greek girl from queens July 7, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Wow! This was no doubt an extraordinarily incredible and wonderful holiday. Such amazing sights, sounds, people, history, architecture and of course, food! I’ve always wanted to go further east than we had done (the furthest east we got to was Vienna and Munich), both of which were of course beautiful and incredible and steeped in so much incredible history and culture, but I wanted to explore still further east), the last time we visited contintental Europe. I would love to one day visit both Prague and Budapest.

I think you’ll most likely need a post-holiday vacation, to ‘recover’ from all the amazing sights and incredible journeys you experienced. Which country and which city (and which village) was your favourite (if it’s at all possible to choose just one)? And of all the foods and sweet treats you tasted, which was the most amazingly delicious of them all? I’m still smiling after merely glimpsing at the photo of the chocolate covered piano! That street fair looks so wondeful, too. And the cooking class in Gundel! Oh, I’d have been in culinary heaven.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Linda. If you’ve got any more photos or anecdotes of your travels, I would love to read and see more.

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