Best of 2017 Travels

Sightseeing. The year began with an Arctic snap, which meant the Balaton was almost completely frozen over, and thus just in the perfect state for my tastes- its summery outing as a sea instead of a sea will stay forever alien to someone who grew up with an actual sea- it’s dark yes, and filled…

Accidental Strudels- The Compulsory Pre-Christmas Visit to Vienna

I realize all too well that I have by now exhausted anything new or interesting I could say about Viennese Christmas fairs (that’s last year’s post, and even the links work with Germanic precision), except that I still like them a lot, and yes, I bought that damn mug from Karlsplatz again. This although the…

People Sitting on Terraces in Paris

The other day, as I was walking through the blunt early evening fog of late autumn in Budapest I had a grand revelation. Before diving straight into it, let me just specify that these days we are having four types of weather around here: milky morning fog, opaque noon fog, blunt early evening fog and…

Belgrade Off the Beaten Track

  You might argue that Belgrade (in spite of hosting the Sagrada Familia of the East, as quoth American Vogue) is still mostly off the beaten track itself, but just like any other city of a certain size, it does host a number of locations which can be called its traditional tourist attractions. Often enough,…

A Day in Kalemegdan

The best way to become familiar with a city is through a baptism of fire. Being left alone, to your own devices, meagre as they are, just you and the city, and the ultimate goal is to find your way. With Budapest, it’s Blaha Lujza square, the square I could not figure out for the…

A Very Short Belgrade Dictionary- Part Two

Smoking. An American tourist walked into a bar: yes, I had to do this, but he really did, and then somewhat sheepishly asked the waiter whether he could smoke inside, to which the answer was of course you can, this is Belgrade, the capital of smoking. And indeed, in a landscape where even the last…

A Very Short Belgrade Dictionary- Part One

Brutalism. If you’re feeling particularly poetic, you might go as far as to call Belgrade the only ugly city that is beautiful. There are of course hideous examples of Socialist architecture out there, the former Soviet states are festering with them, but the great thing about Belgrade is that although its skyline is dotted with…

A Very Short Viennese Dictionary

Blue Danube. Actually, not to be seen during 90% of Viennese day trips, because, unlike in Budapest or Belgrade, where the Danube steals centre stage, in Vienna it flows off the main axis of the city in decidedly sleepy and unspectacular suburbs. Thus, an unassuming but fundamental presence, like air and taxes. Grosser Brauner and…

The Incompetent’s Guide to Wining Out in Etyek

Veering off the main road towards Öreghegy, we made our first stop for some light whites at Fetzer pince- the blog’s industrious co-photographer found the svábbor to be very much to his liking, but sadly he also lacks the sophisticated vocabulary to explain how and why, fresh and fragrant being words he might use, if…

Accidentally in Etyek- The Bit with (Almost) No Wine

So Etyek had been hovering at the edges of my consciousness for quite some while as that place next to Budapest where wine buffs go on sophisticated outings along some sort of picturesque trail, and after long minutes, hours, days spent carefully rotating the divine beverage first in their glass and then along their palate…

Six Cats of Zakynthos

Breakfast Cat, feline in residence of Argasi’s Family Inn hotel and bar. General traits: dignified demeanour, underlined by a gracious but insistent limp: I am wounded, help me, minion. Will materialize out of nothing like a Hellenic Cheshire cat at the first clink of a plate in the morning. Food of preference: bacon, ideally dislodged…