Karen Schaler is the three-time Emmy award winning journalist and the creator of Travel Therapy TV. Her message of empowering travel is aired nationally on US TV on a weekly basis, and her find your bliss mission has taken her to some of the world’s most stunning destinations. Here she shares her experiences in the Hungarian capital, made all the richer by a unique 360-degree virtual reality tour.
What was your favourite part of the Portraits of Budapest tour?
There were so many special things about the tour it’s hard to pick a favourite! I really loved the walking tour and learning about Budapest’s unique and diverse neighbourhoods and beautiful architecture. The behind the scenes tour at the Hungarian State Opera was truly magical, and one of my favourite spots to take video and pictures was from Castle Hill and Fisherman’s Bastion where the view of Budapest is fantastic.
Did you learn anything new?
I learned so many new things during my stay and that’s my favourite part about travelling! I was surprised to learn about all the unique world-class Hungarian wine and truly enjoyed trying traditional Hungarian dishes. Budapest’s architecture is a story in itself. I was also fascinated with the history of [the hotel’s] beloved Royal Spa, originally built in 1888, that some talked about turning into a parking lot, before Corinthia was able to lovingly renovate and bring back to life.
What was your ‘therapy’ in Budapest?
In Budapest I found my Travel Therapy® tasting Hungarian wine with the locals, relaxing at the Corinthia’s Royal Spa, and ending the day with an inspiring speedboat ride down the Danube when Budapest is breathtaking, bathed in gold light.
Best thing about staying at Corinthia?
Honestly, for me, the best thing about staying at Corinthia was the kind and genuine staff that made me feel so cared for. Staying [there] I felt like a princess in my own fairy tale, surrounded by history, beauty, fine dining, and a blissful spa. No wonder I didn’t want to leave.
How did being part of the Portraits of Budapest tour enhance your experience of the city?
What I appreciated most about the Portraits of Budapest tour is that I found it an ideal way to start exploring. With the 360 videos you get an authentic feel for the city from the locals (an architect, a ballerina, a restaurateur and a singer) who shared their favourite things about Budapest. This very unique, personal perspective allowed me to see the city in a way I might have missed before and gave me my own ideas of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see.
How did you find filming your own segments in 360?
In addition to my Travel Therapy® TV segments I also shoot a lot of unique Travel Therapy videos for my social media channels and I’ve just started doing 360 videos. My viewers have really loved seeing things in 360 because when it’s done right it can give you a complete, immersive travel experience that will be truly memorable.
Best thing you ate?
One of my favourite Hungarian dishes was The Chicken Paprika with Stuffed Pancake at the Corinthia’s Brasserie & Atrium restaurant, with Hungarian red wine, and the Toth Ferenc chocolate that was waiting for me back in my suite.
Best thing you saw?
Seeing Budapest at night, glowing in gold, reflecting off the river, was so romantic and a memory I will cherish forever.
What’s your travel philosophy?
Travel Therapy ® is my travel philosophy because it’s all about inspiring and empowering you to pick the trip that’s right for you based on what you’re going through in life, and opening your heart and soul to new cultures, people, places and experiences, to help you live your happiest, healthiest life.