Goodbye Budapest

As I was going in the taxi to the Budapest airport, I passed the historical austrohungarian buildings, the soviet style apartment blocks, the modern commercial constructions and the industrial complexes, I reflected on how much I enjoy this mix between history, culture and modern society that I see in Eastern Europe. I feel at home as myself and my ancestors share the same history but also feel like an alien as we have certainly moved on, unwilling to live in the past.

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Buda & Pest

Today I learnt that Budapest is split by the Danube river into 2 parts, the posh Buda and Pest that was where the servants of Buda’s royalty used to live and where currently lies the more lively part of the city.
We crossed the bridge to Buda to visit Empress’ Sissy’s former residence, which affords a magnificent view over the city.
I also discovered the Faust Wine cellar, which is mysteriously located in the tunnel under the Hilton Hotel. Apparently it used to be part of a Dominican monastery and when the Hilton management bought the property, they decided to keep it.

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Budapest, Me is impressed

After lovely Lisbon, I didn’t have too many expectation of Budapest, which I knew very little about.

So far I must report that I have been floored by this amazing city, which I would liken to Paris or Prague, my two most favorite European capitals.

First, I am a sucker of coffee culture and Budapest is full of cute, stylish, traditional, homely coffee shops (kavehaz), everywhere you look.

Second, the architecture of the empire times is gorgeous, especially when lit at night time (I loved strolling around the Danube).

Third, I cannot get enough of the walking outside culture that takes people into the streets until the wee hours, even with the cold (reminds me of my Russia times).

Desserts at SugarShop
Desserts at SugarShop
Desserts at SugarShop
Desserts at SugarShop
Dessert menu at SugarShop
Dessert menu at SugarShop
Dessert menu at SugarShop
Dessert menu at SugarShop
Bridge over the Danube
Bridge over the Danube
War World memorial
World war memorialThermal baths

Thermal baths

one of many palaces
one of many palaces
Book Cafe
Book Cafe
Art museum
Art museum

Making air travel pleasant

Utterly impressed by Lisbon airport with its well organized layout, great shops and nice restaurants.

Who would have thought that Starbucks (or 7 reais filter coffee only option at Rio’s Galeao) could be replaced by Harrod’s Cafe?

Another brilliant idea I never saw anywhere else: a sleeping lounge! I would pay for that..

I think it is time that other airports start coming out of the stone age. (And you know which are those that I am talking about…)

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Marketing a commodity product – Toilet paper

In business school we always learn about differentiation and cost efficiency as two main sources for competitive advantage. For commodity products, the focus is normally on the former as there is virtually no differentiation by definition.

In Lisbon, I was very impressed with Renova toilet paper marketing campaign after running into their sponsored centrally located public toilet at the Praca de Commercio. Those guys proved that IT is possible to be creative even with the most commoditized product!

It was impossible not to follow the sign “the world’s sexiest WC” and find out what was inside.

Today, I ran into the same ad, only at the Lisbon airport. I am now feeling the sudden urge to buy some brightly colored toilet paper for my own home. Well done, Renova!

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