I admit, I am not a morning person, despite which I love breakfast. Especially when I find a hot breakfast while traveling. The feeling of night time hunger being take away by a plate of scrambled eggs and the sense of the whole day in front of me.
Breakfast is really one of the meals that travelers should not forget. If you pay attention when booking you can often get buffets included in the price of the room just by picking the right hostels and hotels. Breakfast is my time to slowly get into my day, plan out what I want to do and sometimes just chill and read for an hour. It is a relaxing time and also a great time to meet people.
Culture and Friends and Self-time
The culture of a place shines through in almost every aspect of life. How people start their day shows often a lot of how they go about the rest of it. Depending on where you are it is a nice time to talk to people. Morning is before most people get stressed (or drunk) and since there is a day to get on with the conversations never really seem to drag on. Not to mention, new friends made in the morning breakfast room can be traveling companions by lunchtime. Some of the best traveling companions are people I met at breakfast.
As mentioned above, I’m not a morning person. So I use the time to start up my engine and plan out my day. On days that I have designated as ‘rest days’, sometimes I sit at my breakfast place for hours just reading and watching people. Getting food early means you avoid being hungry and can stop in better cheaper places for lunch as opposed to succumbing directly to the high-priced places that cluster around sights.
Being in Dublin for several weeks was some of the best times for breakfast. My hostel was awesome, but charged a few euros to get some cereal and yogurt. I did it one day and then struck out to find better. I found a cafeteria on O’Connell street that had a pay as you go buffet. The picture above is from that cafeteria. You just put on your plate what you wanted and the lady rung up everything based on a list of prices. Don’t feel like sausages today? No worries, and you don’t have to pay for them. So it let you have both variety and control over prices. Once I found it I only skipped eating there once. The one time I didn’t go to the cafeteria was to a place in Temple Bar that had Pancake day. Mmm pancakes and waffles…..drool.
The typical Full Irish as I understand it contains fried tomatoes, white and black pudding (not my thing), hash browns, eggs, beans, toast, sausage and sometimes cheese and fruit. It is hearty and filling.
The German breakfast is an interesting animal. In most hotels you are given a few brötchen (hard rolls with soft insides). I usually make a mess when cutting these open, crumbs everywhere. They depending on the place there is a wide variety of things to put on these rolls. Jams, honey and nutella are the sweet options. Remember to put a layer of butter under these to be real German. Then for the savory team is a selection of sliced cheeses, salami and ham. Sometimes you even see spreadable sausage paste (not my thing either). Coffee or Tea are the drinks of the time. I have seen scrambled eggs or softboiled eggs as well, but most hostels and hotels provide just the cold stuff, which is fine to me. It sometimes feels more like sandwich time than breakfast.
The last thing I think of at a German style breakfast table are the table-trash cans. These are small plastic containers for you to put all of your plastic scraps and such into. It keeps the table cleaner and in order as is proper.
Italian breakfast for me will always be what I remember from Bologna. A room with only standing places. Espresso is a Euro and usually brewed as fast as the bar tender can make it. People come in drink their cup, pay and leave almost all in one motion. Look for a place with the word “bar”. They have sweet pastries to go with the espresso called “brioche”. I like either chocolate or apple jelly. In contrast to those that rush in and out are the few people that read the pink tinged pages of the newspaper and sip cappuccino, which is only a morning thing, don’t try to order it after lunch. It is a different feel from the hearty Irish or more orderly German, but fits perfectly in Italy.
As breakfast memories and places go Prague holds a special place in my heart. That place is called Bohemia Bagel. There are several in Prague, and it feels more like a typical American place than anything I would feel is local. Despite that I loved it. I spent many hours over Easter working on the concept for this blog there. As for the food, wonderful to me. It made me feel like home. In the mornings you can get an egg and bagel sandwich with refillable drink for only a few euros worth of crowns. They also have bigger platter including piles of fresh pancakes. Mmmm more drooling. So even if it isn’t a cultural view deep into the Czech soul, I still went there every day and have no regrets.
So breakfast stories? How much are you willing to pay? What constitutes a “good breakfast”? Ok, I’ll wait for you to swallow that bite of croissant.