What We Do in the Lockdown

It’s been a year now of this liminal state, when walking in the bright sunshine of the deserted city feels like the odyssey of a vampire sneaking in the dark, alone with ghosts and shadows. The dark itself doesn’t even seem to exist anymore; we’re locked out of it by the night curfew. We’re locked…

Ode to a Muddy Stream- A Year of Walking by the Rákos-patak

It came in waves, like the sea, but the unpleasant sort, a cold sea with mud and plankton. Wave one, the paranoid days. Cases in Hungary were still low in spring, but as lockdown loomed, we stayed inside and, quite unnecessarily as per the latest studies, disinfected doorknobs and beer cans. Wave two, the second…

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…

(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…

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…

No Forest for Old Wolves- A Visit to Farkaserdő

Farkas-erdő (Wolf Forest) is not really a forest and obviously does not have wolves. Its most canine touch are the distant barks occasionally to be heard from the Rex Animal Shelter (actually called Rex Animal Island, though it’s not an island), situated at the Ócéanárok street end of Farkaserdő. Óceánárok means ocean ditch, but it’s…

Complainer Meets Hope: Best of Budapest 2019

The year started in the cold corridors of the Adria Palace, its fading beauty on display in the eerily dazzling Blade Runner 2049, and now also to be glimpsed in the Black Widow trailer. Finally, a film where Budapest IS Budapest, not just a prop pretending to be some other random city, though I’m also…

This is Not the Golden Age- Olof Palme House and Párizsi Udvar

I occasionally (as in, frequently) have questionable ideas, and one of these was jogging to the polling station a couple of weekends ago, keeping my fingers crossed that the chilly weather would allow me to be fairly presentable, both visually and odour-wise. I either succeeded, or the ladies in the electoral commission have by now…

Autumn Lament for a Lost Budapest

One of the reasons why I love going to the baths at ungodly hours of the morning is that it’s the time of The Locals. The Locals are generally late middle aged to ancient, mostly men (a typical group would be four male friends or a group of three men and one woman), with a…