The historic city center in Sibiu is lovely but quite small. We spent two nights in the city but we could have spent one day and easily wandered through the Old Town. But because we had the extra time, we kept wandering and really enjoyed ourselves. Sibiu seems to have a lot of festivals and city events going on (at least in September when we visited). We were able to attend Cibinfest which is their local version of Oktoberfest. The website for purchasing VIP tickets was very confusing so we just went and grabbed a seat in the open section and had an amazing time. There was also a theater festival going on as well as a street music festival which was highlighting ragtime music while we were there. The town of Sibiu gives visitors a lot to do and see which is why I recommend spending a few days there if you have the chance.
We stumbled across a great little tapas bar in Barri Gotic called La Cala del Vermut, Carrer de les Magdalenes, 6. It’s not far from the Cathedral de Barcelona, but it’s tucked away enough that the tourist crowds can’t find it. We had a small lunch of a few tapas and a drink which cost about €6 per person. The staff was very friendly, answered our questions, and tolerated my poor Spanish.
La Bodegueta, Rambla de Catalunya, 100 is a delightful little tapas place usually full with patrons. It’s too small for standing so grab a table and order something wonderful from the menu. We really liked the Manchego cheese, the tiny pimientos de Padrón (grilled peppers) and the pan tomàquet (bread rubbed with tomato and garlic, then drizzled with olive oil). We ate here twice and both times the bill was under €10 a person.
Taktika Berri, Carrer de Valencia, 169 is a great pinxtos bar. At €1.45 per pinxtos, it can get expensive if you eat a lot but you can also try a handful of great items and keep it under budget. The general rule is to let the bartenders serve you unless its very crowded; then you can take what you’d like for yourself. Also, remember that when you are ready to pay, your toothpicks will be counted (usually at the register) and you will need to tell the bartender who many drinks you had. It will all be tallied up. Side note: It seemed that most people did not tip at pintxos bars. I’m not sure if it was because you kind of serve yourself, although they are filling your drinks and bringing around new pinxtos. We decided to tip when we felt that the service was exceptional.
I recently spent a few days in New York. I wanted to wander the city but also see some of the major sites.
I went to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Now, I made the mistake of thinking that since summer had not started, that I would have no problem walking up, buying a ticket, and getting on the first ferry to the islands. Boy was I wrong. So, I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time so you won’t have to wait in the same line as the rest of us poor schmos who waited in line for a full hour before getting on a ferry. Reserving tickets is no more expensive. You just have to know what day and time you will be there to use your tickets.
I also went to see a play on Broadway. Instead of paying full price, visit http://www.tdf.org for discounted theater tickets. One of the ticket booths is on the South Street Seaport. There is another ticket office in Time Square but I recommend avoiding that booth along with the area at all costs. It’s way too crowded. There will be a board with all of the shows that offer discounted tickets. There will also be people you can ask questions of and get descriptions on what the plays are about. Get there early, at least 30 minutes before the booth opens to try and ensure you get tickets to the show of your choice. See the website for more information.
Last, but not least, I went to New York to eat. I highly recommend checking out the food trucks in the city. Food trucks are not the same as the street food vendors. Food trucks are usually trendier foods with better ingredients (think braised beef tacos with pickled onions). But, since they are competing with the food vendors and nearby restaurants, their prices are very affordable. This is a great way to eat something tasty and keep your costs down. It’s also a nice way to enjoy all of the public parks New York has to offer. Assuming the weather is good, you can sit outside and enjoy the view while eating delicious food. If you have a smartphone, look into downloading one of the many food truck apps that are available. Also, you can follow most of these food trucks on Twitter.