Fainting Chairs and Russian Spies: The Villas of Mátyásföld

The best thing about going on a city walk with a historian is that they will enthusiastically convey anecdotes about the places you’re visiting, throwing in a couple of juicy details for good measure, and then, with a much more matter of fact tone, they will also inform you that your exciting trivia is just…

Blues for a Black& a Tabby Cat

I always felt a tremendous sympathy for black cats. Just imagine how all that bad press gets to you, trying to peacefully cross a road, minding your own convoluted cat business, and some crazy person looks, well, as if they’ve seen a black cat crossing a road, running away, moving backwards, willing you to cross…

To Be Or Not To Be A (Wash)Bear: A Visit to the Budakeszi Wildlife Park

One of my favourite books as a child was a beautiful shiny orange hardcover by the Hungarian name of Mosó Masa Mosodája– its alliterative beauty will obviously be lost in a direct English translation, which would be Masha the Raccoon’s Laundrette, but one might alternatively undertake some linguistic acrobatics along the lines of Washy Wooshy’s…

A Chessboard with Perfect Coffee: Turin Guide Part Two

What to see. The best starting point to an exploration of Turin is to just simply set off and wander along its expansive network of colonnades- while many Italian cities treat visitors to fancy porticos, Turin has a whopping 18 kilometres of them, of which 12 are interconnected, thus being perfect shelters from the scorching…

Northwestern Promises- Turin Guide Part One

People usually question my sanity (perhaps I should have put a full stop here, but never mind) when I tell them that Turin is my favourite Italian city. But surely you could have gone for a sexier choice, something like Rome with every bit of it designed by none else than Michelangelo (and buses on…

Safe as Houses- The 2018 Edition of Budapest 100

  The main disclaimer to our Budapest 100 experience this year is that, no surprise here, we were lazy. Not to go, of course, but to register for the events which had a fixed schedule, and this obviously included some of the fancier houses, such as as the Magda courtyard in Mátyás square and the Gutenberg…

The Sea is on the Other Side: Genova for the Clueless

The first reason for our presence in Genova on a pleasant spring day was as straightforward as it was silly: it is close to Turin. Actually, most major towns in Northern Italy are close to at least a couple of other potentially interesting locations, often at distances of around 150 kilometres, which in Trenitalia language…

Confessions of an Impulsive-Obsessive Reader: Book Diary April 2018

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Madeleine Thien have featured together in another edition of the book diary, in last September, and seeing them on my list again so soon reminded me how I am what I usually call an impulsive-obsessive reader, namely someone who, when discovering an author she likes will not rest until she gets hold…

Considerations on an Evening Walk on Margaret Island

Last summer was a traumatic experience for Margaret Island’s tribe of runners: after having heroically made it through the reconditioning of the track, which at least held the promise of a great reward at the end of the suffering, persecution began again in the build up to and during the swimming&other splashy sports world championships….

The Rules That We Break: Editors @ Barba Negra

In the run up to this Monday’s Editors show I was harbouring one of those ‘important’ existential concerns that envelop me every now and then with basically no sense or clear outcome either to myself, or the wholeness of being in general: I have written so many ecstatic reviews of the Editors, both of club…

Gardens and Recreation: A Day in Füvészkert

Writing about the cherry blossom festival held annually in ELTE’s Botanical Garden (or Füvészkert in Hungarian) is perhaps not particularly timely, as this year’s event was held on the previous two weekends of April but recommending it without the pictures is somewhat of a Catch 22 situation. Sure enough, we do have pictures from previous…