People are learning my secret. Budapest is awesome. Tourism is booming and for good reason. But now I have a new secret.
I have a new travel companion to accompany me to the city of my childhood summers. And this travel buddy, hailing from 56 degrees north, is also seriously awesome.
The TT_01.1 IPAD/TABLET Traveller Bag is dead handy, a little travelling PA that has everything you need at your fingertips, making flying particularly easy. An array of different pockets means everything has its place and nothing gets lost in the shuffle. It’s a nice change of pace from my normal lady handbag that becomes a dense jungle of things I don’t need. Rather than a big cavernous space that can fill with all sorts of unnecessary items, the TT_01.1 knows just how much space I really need and tells me how to pack.
A phone pocket, pen sleeve, two mesh pockets that can fit keys, earphones, ear plugs, even a small wallet, a padded sleeve for my tablet that even fits a notebook and glasses case as well, and an opposite mesh pocket for a book/make-up/wallet/eye mask, whatever you need. All easily accessible but secure so when you open your bag as you wait at departures or on the plane nothing falls out and everything is easy to reach.
But if this weren’t enough to make travel super easy, there’s also the thin, outer back pocket for passport and boarding passes. And how smug can you feel as you easily whip out your travel documents as those around you flail about in a flash of panic for their passports. And so the TT_01.1 ensures that everything is accessible, that you have all your essentials, and can wiz through security, on and off planes, through customs and passport control, and out of the airport smoothly and efficiently. One of the best parts is that because the bag is square and so solid, it can sit happily on top of your suitcase (ideally the new Road Warrior!) as you stride out of Budapest’s Ferihegy Airport and make your way into the city of grit and glamour.
Having spent a quarter of my life in Budapest, I can easily navigate the public transport from the airport, taking the bus to the Metro 3 whose dingy, blue metro cars from the 1970’s are slowly being retired for the sleek new ones featured on the Metro 2.
This is a city in transition as you will see. The mighty Danube pulses through this vibrant dual city of Buda and Pest connected by nine bridges, the most famous and glamorous the great Chain Bridge with its watchful lion statues at either end. To the one side sit Buda’s quiet hills, grand castle, and freedom statue on Gellert Hill, gazing down over the commercial hive of Pest that boasts the gorgeous Parliament and Basilica. At night these grand monuments are illuminated in a city view that is so breath-taking it hurts.
In Pest the Jewish quarter is exploding with activity, bars, cafes, and boutique shops providing a Bohemian-style party culture that is fuelled by cold lemonade and pleasingly affordable beer and cocktails. Be sure to try a frocs, a wine and mineral water spritzer that is summer’s refreshing drink of choice in this party capital. I’ve watched the 7th district steadily become the hub it is today over the years with newly paved streets and new bars popping up every few months.
But wander outside the city centre a little into the sketchy streets of the 8th district and stumble upon the numerous construction sites all over town that have unearthed the city in an act some of the locals bemoan as a siege – and you will see that Budapest is in transition.
And this is something I love about the city of my summers. It’s not Vienna pristine and imperial; it’s not curated. It’s beautiful, dreamy, romantic, and down-to-earth.
And it’s pretty cool to have a bag you can happily take to any extreme. Sleek, refined, stylish mixed with tough, solid resilience – I was pleasantly surprised to find in the TT_01.1 a little travel buddy who can cope with the vibrancy, the grime, and the absolute wonder that is Budapest, Europe’s hidden gem – not so hidden any longer.
And now there’s my second secret out of the bag. The TT_01.1, a bag for a real lady James Bond, taking on Eastern Europe and all its delicious gritty marvels it has on offer.