Illustrated Travel Journal

Since, as an illustrator, I can execute my customers’ projects regardless of location, I have been working from abroad from time to time since March 2023.

My boyfriend Christoph and I spent four weeks in Athens in March and two weeks in Budapest in April. I regularly document my everyday life in my sketchbook. If you’re interested in sketchbook illustrations, short travel reports and recommendations, you’ve come to the right place!

April 2023

Historic Buildings
Friday, May 5

For me, the most impressive thing about Budapest is the great architecture throughout the city. Everywhere you go you will find beautiful buildings. And not just as individual houses, but entire streets full of imposing buildings.

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Hummbusbar ​Food
Thursday, May 4

On my first day in Budapest, when got off the bus from the airport and walked to my apartment in the city, I noticed the many Israeli restaurants everywhere. It wasn’t until the next day that I understood that our apartment was in the Jewish Quarter, just one street away from the largest synagogue in Europe. That explained the amount of Israeli cafés and why their menus sometimes were written entirely in Hebrew.

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Pickles at the Central Market Hall ​Market
Wednesday, May 3

A popular sight of the city is the Great Market Hall (Nagy Vásárcsarnok) in the IX. District. The building consists of a steel structure and is reminiscent of a basilica. The special architecture makes the market hall a real excursion highlight in the city. If you only come here to shop, you will find fresh vegetables, meat and sausages or one or two souvenirs from your holiday in Hungary such as paprika paste, duck liver or Hungarian liqueur.

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Chimney Cake ​Food
Tuesday, May 2

When walking the streets of Budapest, there are mainly two different types of street food stalls that you come across again and again: First there is “Langos” (savory): Fried yeast dough topped with sour cream, garlic oil and grated cheese. The other food you’ll find everywhere is “Chimney Cake” (sweet): Sweet yeast dough wrapped around a tube, baked and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.

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Dohány Street Synagogue ​Historic Site
Sunday, April 30

We are currently spending two weeks in Budapest and our apartment is in the Jewish Quarter. At the heart of the neighborhood is the Dohany Street Synagogue — the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world.

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Arán Bakery ​Food
Friday, April 28

As soon as I arrive in a new city, one of the most important things for me in the first few days is to find out where the best bakeries in town are. Since I love good bread and baked goods, I am happy to travel a long way to find a particularly great bakery. Luckily I found out on my first day in Budapest that one of the most acclaimed bakeries in the city was just down the street from our apartment.

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Gettó Gulyás ​Food
Thursday, April 27

First time in Hungary — for me that means I have to try Hungarian cuisine! Here in Budapest, a modern European city, you will of course find restaurants from all over the world. Pizza, burgers, gyros or pho are certainly delicious here, but before I eat my way through the city’s international restaurants, I would like to try typical Hungarian dishes first. In our district of Budapest, “Gettó Gulyás” is the first address for this.

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March and April 2023

Central Market ​Market
Thursday, April 6

I love markets of all kinds and how beautifully and carefully fruit, vegetables and other foods are set up and presented by the stall holders. One type of market I have mixed feelings about is fish markets. To all Hamburg residents who are now having a little heart attack while reading: I’m not talking about the Hamburg fish market, which is basically a farmer’s market, but rather the real, somewhat coarser fish markets in huge market halls.

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The Tasty Corner ​Food
Wednesday, April 5

Christoph and I have seldom eaten the same dish as often in four weeks as gyros in Athens. You can actually find it on every corner here and it is super delicious!

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Tinned Fish, Tzatziki & Olives
Tuesday, April 4

Anyone who has carefully read the texts on my previous travel sketchbook pages knows by now how aromatic, delicious and cheap the olives are here in Greece. Not only do we love the olives, but also various other products that we discovered in Greek supermarkets.

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Monday, April 3

A detail in the cityscape of Athens that I particularly like is the amount of plants and trees. There are orange, lime and lemon trees everywhere, the blossoms of which make the streets of Athens smell good. Most apartment buildings in Athens have balconies, some of which are large, many of which are filled with beautiful plants.

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Oxo Nou ​Food
Sunday, April 2

“Oxo Nou” is a restaurant in our Exarchia neighborhood specializing in Cretan dishes. Christoph had read about this restaurant in a travel blog about Exarchia, in which the (Athenian) author wrote that it was his daughter’s favorite restaurant and that he absolutely recommends it. So one evening we were walking the streets of our neighborhood and happened to come across the “Oxo Nou” restaurant.

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Acropolis ​Historic Site
Saturday, April 1

After we had already visited the great Acropolis Museum in detail a few days ago, we finally had time to visit the “real” Acropolis. Basically, the word “Acropolis” generally refers to a castle hill that belonged to an ancient Greek city. The Acropolis in Athens is now so famous that the word “Acropolis” usually means the mountain and the associated temple complexes in honor of the goddess Athena above Athens.

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Friday, March 31

Christoph and I decided to work from Athens for a month because we simply wanted to get to know a city that was completely unknown to us. Since we both work during the week and only have time for big trips and activities on weekends, we wanted to stay in the same city for a full four weeks. So when we don’t have the energy to do something big after a long day at work, we usually just stroll around our neighborhood, get another can of coke at our local kiosk and admire the beautiful and interesting houses in the city.

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Talking Breads ​Food
Thursday, March 30

Since Christoph and I are not on vacation here in Athens, but work from Monday to Friday from our home office as usual in our jobs, we only have time for larger excursion in and around Athens on weekends. During the weekdays we like to go for a walk in the evening and explore the many small streets in our neighbourhood. We often find great cafes and restaurants that we really want to try.

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Wednesday, March 29

Anyone who has ever booked a hotel or Airbnb in a foreign city knows how difficult it can be to judge distances and the coolness of different neighborhoods. If you’ve never been to a place yourself, you just don’t know what the best neighborhoods are. Since we chose our Airbnb based more on looks and feel-good factor than location in the city, we ended up in the “Exarchia” neighborhood more or less by accident.

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Tuesday, March 28

One of the great things about our new everyday life in Athens is the delicious olives that are everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether they are green, brown, black or purple — all the varieties we’ve tried so far simply taste much more intense than we’re used to from Hamburg.

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Our Airbnb
Monday, March 27

Since we wanted to spend a full four weeks in Athens, and also wanted to cook and do laundry, we rented a very nice Airbnb instead of a hotel. The great photos of the apartment convinced us online.

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National Archaeological Museum ​Museum
Sunday, March 26

Probably the most beautiful building in our district is the Archaeological Museum. The impressive row of large columns, the wide staircase to the entrance and the spacious forecourt of the Archaeological Museum can be seen from afar. The elongated building looks particularly great at night — then it is brightly lit and looks even more majestic than during the day.

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Acropolis Museum ​Museum
Saturday, March 25

The Acropolis Museum is located at the foot of the Acropolis and opened in 2009. Only objects found on the Acropolis are exhibited in the museum. Through the glass facade of the museum building, visitors also have the perfect view of the Acropolis mountain above the city. Since its opening, the museum has won several architectural awards, which is one of the reasons Christoph and I wanted to see the building.

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Kora Bakery ​Food
Friday, March 24

Anyone who read my post about “Black Salami Bakery” a few days ago now knows that I love good bread and baked goods and am therefore always on the lookout for great bakeries. As part of my internet research on special (sourdough) bakeries in Athens, I not only came across the “Black Salami Microbakery”, but also discovered the great “Kora Bakery”.

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Neighborhood Cats
Thursday, March 23

Four black cats staring at the camera.

Anyone who has been to Athens knows that Athens is the city of cats. Nowhere else in the world have I seen this many street cats.

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Le Greche ​Food
Wednesday, March 22

Sketch of a gelato from Le Greche.
A cup of ricotta gelato from Le Greche.

Since Christoph and I quite spontaneously decided in March to travel to Athens and work from there, we didn’t have much time between booking and departure for travel preparations and research. One of the few internet searches I did beforehand related to great cafés in the city. One name that popped up in all the lists on the internet was “Le Greche”, which isn’t really a café, but a more upmarket ice cream shop.

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Black Salami Microbakery ​Food
Tuesday, March 21

Sketch of a pastrami sandwich from the Black Salami Microbakery.
The interior of the Black Salami Microbakery.

After almost a week here in Greece, where I really like it so far, there was one thing that I was missing more and more: German bread! All over Athens and also right in our neighborhood, there are a lot of bakeries that offer different kinds of bread, which also taste very good. Most of the time, however, it is a very light, somewhat softer yeast dough bread. Super tasty, but after a few days I just felt like eating heavy, crispy sourdough bread again.

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behold theman ​Coffee
Monday, March 20

Sketch of a cappucino from behold theman.
The interior of behold theman.

Today’s picture was taken again in my favorite café “behold theman” in our Exarchia district. The colorful and alternative café never ceases to amaze me with its unique interior, the wonderful latte art on the cappuccinos and the bright yellow cups that they designed themselves.

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Glyfada Beach ​Nature
Sunday, March 19

A sketchbook showing a sketch of colorful pebbles laying on the beach.

After we did a great guided tour of Athens on Saturday, we wanted to go to the sea on our first weekend here. The city center of Athens is not directly on the sea, but the coast is only a few kilometers away and very easy to reach. We arrived in the Athens suburb of Glyfada in less than an hour by subway and bus.

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Orange Blossoms
Saturday, March 18

An orange tree with many fruits.

One detail that probably surprised me the most about living in Athens is the large number of orange, tangerine and lime trees in the middle of the city. To my surprise, these trees are not only found in well-maintained parks in the city center, but also on the side of the road on almost every street!

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behold theman ​Coffee
Friday, March 17

Sketch of the counter of behold theman.
People sitting in front of behold theman.
The counter of behold theman.

During my first walk late in the evening on the first day in our district, Exarchia, one coffee shop in particular caught my eye: the “behold theman”. Although it was already closed that evening, I could guess the colorful and modern interior through the large glass facade and really wanted to go there.

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Philos ​Coffee
Thursday, March 16

Sketch of a cappucino at Philos coffee shop.
The exterior of Philos coffee shop.

After a first day of arrival on Wednesday, when Christoph and I moved into our Airbnb and went shopping for groceries, we had our first real working day in Athens the next day. Since we both also work from home in Hamburg, the move from our desks in Hamburg to our Airbnb in Greece was not particularly difficult for us.

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