To the Shire and Back with the Blue Wave Express- A Visit to Szigliget

The guesthouse owner looked incredulously at us as we dismounted from the minivan and it became clear that it wasn’t ours. We’d gotten the same slightly suspicious glances a few years back when we’d arrived in Giardini Naxos, Sicily, in the same carless state. Crazy, crazy folk. We’d approached Szigliget by train, on the slow,…

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…

The Land of Pigeons and Wild Boars: The Hapless Guide to Kușadası

The first rule of Kușadası is that no one talks about the ineptitude of Google maps when it comes to Kușadası. For if they did, no one would ever go there. Jokes put aside, if your accommodation is in the old town, loosely referred to as Kaleiçi, basically the area surrounding the bazaar and the…

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…

High Life over Vienna: The Donauturm (and other Observations)

Having found ourselves in Vienna on a particularly lovely summer’s day, we decided to do some things we’ve done before: briefly visit the Hundertwasserhaus (glad to report people are still posing with empty looks on their faces in front of the fountain), have cakes in Demel (glad to report the waitresses are still the same…

To Tourist or Not to Tourist: Day Trip to the Floating Village of Bokod

Experts in day tripping as we are, we set off on a sunny bank holiday morning with that generally ill-advised Top Gear/Grand Tour confidence of what could possibly go wrong only to be immediately confronted with the first thing that most definitely went wrong. As Hungarians are almost irrationally staunch about sticking to bank holiday…

A River Runs Through It- Day Trip to Mostar

Mount Velež oversees Mostar from a height of 1969 metres, bearing the name of Veles, the Slavic god of many things: earth, waters, underworld, and deceit. Veles is the trickster god. For those more familiar with Norse mythology, or its Marvel corruption, Veles is Loki. Yet the one thing Veles could not achieve is protect…

A Somewhat Practical Guide to Sarajevo- Travel Diary Part Two

Having waxed lyrical in the previous installment, it’s time for some actual intel for those who want to visit Sarajevo, beginning with the thorny issue of how to get there. Flying is probably the best bet for everyone approaching from outside the former Yugoslavia, as the country’s roads and railways still have some post-war infrastructural…