All Them Lovely Beaches- Where to Swim and be Reborn on Hydra

At seven in the morning in early September, the light over Hydra is more of an impression than reality, a fluid veil of burnt orange sneaking over the hills. The port is hidden from the rising sun, like a pearl inside its shell, by the barren, burnished cliffs that run across the island, like the…

Looking for Leonard-A Pilgrimage to Hydra

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of the most misunderstood and misused songs ever written. Just recently, it was played during a rally by Donald Trump’s campaign team. It has a special charm with purportedly religious people, because they misinterpret the hallelujah. Understandably, Cohen’s estate put out a few words making it clear that they had…

Slow Train to Mosquito Kingdom: Daytrip to Rácalmás

Coronavirus times notwithstanding, Déli station was aflutter with activity on the morning of a bank holiday Friday which promised undisturbed summer sun. Many in the crowd were setting off on university freshmen camps, broken down into the mandated, colour coded, smaller groups, yet still converging into a rather sizeable gathering that clogged access to the…

Suburban Waterworlds-A Walk by the Danube on Csepel Island

About a couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon an article describing the wild charms of the Kolonics György walkway, nestled away in lush solitude on the eastern shore of Csepel Island. What a lovely proposition, I cried out. Alright, I didn’t, everything happened at a mental level only, but I felt like dramatizing this…

There and Back Again: Day Trip to Zebegény

I really didn’t want to begin yet another piece with MÁV related adventures, but I must. I will blame it on the weather. Just as we’d made up our minds to visit Zebegény, one of the Danube bend villages that had until now eluded our explorations, I discovered that heavy rain had damaged the rails…

(Post) Lockdown Budapest Rambles

This talk about locals reclaiming their cities now that the throngs of tourists are gone, well, it is real. Forced by circumstance, we took exultingly and frankly excruciatingly long walks. No public transportation and, in a first phase, no restaurant pit stops involved. Up and down the hills of Buda, into the long straights of…

More Notes from a Budapest Lockdown

We may have reached some sort of turning point in the crisis. After about two months of fruitless quests, my favourite hand sanitizer is back on the shelves, albeit only the purple orchid scented version, not the flamingo one. It’s not flamingo scented, of course (I wonder what that would be like, salt marshes and…

Procrastinator’s Log Stardate 0420

RANDOM STUFF. This may turn out to be an even randomer than usual post, as it is cobbled together from little snippets I wrote throughout the month. I also insist on mentioning that the autocorrect function insists, every time, to fix stardate into startdate.  Pedro Almodóvar has been writing a diary of the COVID year…

Notes from a Budapest Lockdown

I crack open my front door and inspect the immediate proximity. My possibly Ukrainian neighbours, often prone to unsettling fits of what I hope is merely smoking induced coughing, are not around. This releases my tension somewhat, I do a last careful inspection of my pockets: sanitizers, handkerchiefs, my ID, just in case the authorities…