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…

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…

Travels with Books- Part One

On the first of January, holed up at home with what, I now realize, was a moderate case of the ‘nice flu’, I wrote up a list of things I look forward to this year, including, naturally, travels. For more than a decade now years have been framed, punctuated, divided by travels. I have never…

Cellini’s Saliera and the Mo Salah of Beer- A Weekend in Vienna

On an unseasonably warm February morning we strolled through the Belvedere park, among joggers running out of steam on its gentle incline and Asian ladies snapping selfies with bare legs (it was not THAT warm, but the Asian resilience to cold in touristy situations never ceases to amaze me). A few hours later, we were…

Refuge by the River- Visit(s) to Szentendre

It recently dawned on me that, shockingly, I haven’t written anything about Szentendre here, though I’ve probably been there more than to any other place in Hungary besides Budapest, which figures, since it’s a leisurely 40 minutes away by HÉV line number 5, which gently rocks upstream along the course of the Danube. (An extension…

Year of the Wunderkammer- Best of Travels 2019

A Day at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. This year has been, strangely (or not so strangely, given the current state of affairs in the world) that of the Wunderkammer. Every now and then something related to cabinets of curiosities would pop up, most recently in Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. Initially, I thought I did not like cabinets…

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…

The Roofs Have Eyes-Daytrip to Sibiu

To stop Romanians from ruling the world, God gave us a geographically perfect country. With no highways. And the chronic inability to build them. Yet when we set off on our short but sweet daytrip to Sibiu, we decided to ignore this dark curse and pretend that the 50 kilometres still lacking from the by now…