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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Me on My High Horse- A Visit to Troy

I would love to say that, as a half decent humanities major, I spent some of my profligate youth reading the Iliad and the Odyssey, but the farthest I got was borrowing one (can’t remember which) from the library, then procrastinate reading it, then forget to take it back on time, then pay a modest…

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…

The Nicest Apocalypse Ever- A Visit to Șirince

In case, like most of humanity these days, you live with a constant fear of impending doom anyway, you might have already forgotten about that time the apocalypse was certain as predicted by the ancient Mayans. Opposed to now, when it’s predicted by climate scientists, but that’s a topic for another article altogether. So back…

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…