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…

Why Go To The End Of The World, When You Can Go To Kőbánya

Kőbánya has always been mysterious to me, exotic and perhaps also slightly scary, exiled at the fringes of my Budapest existence, a land of imaginary brigands and flesh and bone people frozen into exasperated waiting on the platforms of minor stations my train hurtles through on its way home. Kőbánya-Alsó, Kőbánya-Felső, Kőbánya-Kispest. I know this…

Rocks, Saints, Rivers- A Visit to Ephesus

Present day Ephesus lies stranded inland, about 5 kilometres away from the coast. As with many ancient sites, one could hardly notice its presence if it wasn’t for the road signs. The closest settlement is Selçuk, a sleepy provincial town on the road from Izmir to the seaside resort of Kușadası. Most visitors also come…

Black Eagle, Blue Palace: A Day in Oradea

Growing up, one of the main tenets of our gang, often translated into footballing passions, was that out of the triad of neighbouring western Romanian cities ours (Arad) was the best. This was frankly contradicted by everything: Arad was the smallest, the economically least efficient and the one with the least spectacular architecture. Arguably, ours…

Geometries in the Rain- In Search of Bauhaus with Budapest 100

Once upon a time on an almost unbelievably rainy May weekend I set out in search of Bauhaus in Budapest- why it has taken me two months to write about it, I cannot really tell, let’s just say that procrastination is one of the few things in life I know inside-out, if not the only…

Budapest corner with Istanbul: Gül Baba’s Rosegarden

Humans are seldom happy with what they have. Say you’re offered a bank holiday right in the middle of the week, and in a more positively disposed moment you do admit that this arrangement could perhaps function in the long run, making people more focused on the tasks they have on the four working days…

The Commie IKEA of Rákóczi Boulevard

Rákóczi boulevard must definitely be the first glimpse I ever took of Budapest, as it opened up in front of Keleti railway station, rushed towards the mysterious Blaha Lujza square (I tend to get lost in its underpass to this very day), passed Astoria, the hub of my life while studying in the nearby ELTE…

Sailing Through 117 years of Budapest History: The Adria Palace

The Adria Palace (of which I of course did not yet know the name) had been the backdrop to many a mundane undertaking of my Budapest life: I would give it a passing glance on my way to Iguana’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, peer at it aimlessly while queuing at the mobile bathroom during the…

Garden City of the Octopus People: A Walk in Wekerletelep

Having explored the villas of Mátyásföld a couple of weeks back, we decided it was now time to investigate another leafy peculiarity of the city: Wekerletelep, lying in district XIX, and easily accessible from the blue metro’s Határ út station. Provided the metro is running, which on the weekends it is not, so we ambled around…

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…