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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest April 12th 2014

Dear Blog Readers, After a magical and unforgettable wedding we spent our first two nights of married life in a hotel overlooking the debauchery of Botchergate, Carlisle on a Saturday night followed by an evening in the romantic capital of England - the service station Days Inn at Newport Pagnell. We were almost too giddy with excitement (even with a 4am wake up) to get on a plane heading to Budapest, Hungary...and so, by popular demand (my Gran said she'd been missing my blogs), here's what we've been up to in this magnificent city. We managed to sleep almost the entire flight which was a real achievement given that Wizz Air's leg room allowance meant my knee kept smacking me in the five-head. When I did manage to eek it into the alleyway, the air stewardess ... read more
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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest March 3rd 2014

Three days were spent in Budapest - one rainy, one bluebird and one cloudy. We certainly got an all access pass view of Budapest with weather like that! We arrived late on Thursday from Vienna and our first glimpses of the city were not fantastic - outside the Keleti train station with roadworks and dodgy people everywhere... I managed to convince Matt to get us a taxi which, although registered (you have to be super careful in Budapest) seemed to take us all over the place before finally arriving at our hotel - the Fraser Residence. Once we checked in we were told to go around the corner to Corvin Plaza to get some dinner and came across a beautiful shopping centre similar to what you'd see in Sydney. We later found out that this area ... read more
Inside Matthias Church
Castle Ruins at Castle Hill
Matt's friend

Europe » Hungary » Southern Transdanubia » Mohacs March 3rd 2014

Búsojárás is sort of the Hungarian Carnival. It happens on the first weekend of March every year down in Mohacs, which is on the Danube close to the southern border of Hungary. Men dress up in sheep skin everything and scary wooden masks to chase away the winter demons. Let's go! OH BOY. When I was little I had a sheepskin that I LOVED. I called it a "mysaw" for reasons that still perplex my family. My brothers followed suit and we all had "mysaws" that we ripped apart as we grew older (except for Duncan). I assumed this festival would be a slightly traumatic experience for me with terrifying men dressed in mysaws walking around everywhere. It was traumatic, but in other ways. I met Darcy, Alicia, and Kenzie at the bus station at 8:30 ... read more
Pyre
Us with a Búso!
Nom nom

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest February 10th 2014

This morning we went to Cyrano’s, a restaurant one block from the hotel that we had noticed yesterday. The service was very good and friendly. They brought us a large basket of rye bread and buttered white toast for the table. I have finally exhausted my appetite for smoked salmon, so I had a fried egg with two long, thin Vienna sausages served with a Vienna roll which they called a bagel. We returned to the hotel briefly, in part to get warmer clothes! It was really cold, probably low singe-digits. Then Deirdre and I walked about a block to the underground station. The manned ticket booth was right at the entrance, and we bought two tickets each for 620 HUF (Hungarian forint, about €3). A train came immediately and the ticket inspector nodded when I ... read more
Szechenyi spa
Mainstreet art
St Stephen's Basillica

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Szentendre February 9th 2014

This past weekend, I decided to plan a day trip to Visegrad and Szentendre. Normally Darcy plans things and I navigate, so I'm not the best at planning. After a fun night on Friday, I met Joe, Sam, Chaz, and Niamh at the Nyugati train station at 9 am. We bought tickets for a train to Visegrad and set off. Joe ate his first McDonald's breakfast ever and was so American about it (he's from London). The train was where the insults between Sam and Chaz started. The next 20 hours ended up being about who could insult the other the most. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. We got off the train at Nagymáros where we could see the Visegrad Castle up on a hill. We walked towards it and found the ... read more
The castle in the fog
Foggy hills
Niamh waiting for the ferry

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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest February 2nd 2014

Not much accomplished today, but a bit of rest seemed to be required. We had to be clear of cabins by 9:00 (bags by 8:00). So we sat in the lounge for close to an hour, participating in the long good bye as taxis arrived for some and buses for others. There had to be two buses for all those going to the Marriott to wait for other connections. I went in the first bus, and the rest of our little group waited for the second, to keep in sync with our luggage. In a nice conference room overlooking the river at the Marriott, I waited another hour for the second bus to come. We did have tea and coffee and a selection of chocolate and cream pastries. When the others arrived they were certainly ready ... read more
Market stall
Market butcher
Street art

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest January 28th 2014

Hello! We are about a month into our trip and have seen and experienced so many indescribably beautiful things. We finished our first trip in Prague after seeing the Vyšehrad Castle and it's cemetery, both of which are stunning. We spent our last few days eating and drinking mainly. We found a delicious vegetarian restaurant with a vast menu and cheap prices called Loving Hut along with other cave and dungeon like basement bars and restaurants. In a dungeon bar dripping with rock icons of both hair metal and classic rock, we tried a locally brewed absinthe for the first time. Large portraits of members from Kiss hanging on all surrounding walls watched as we got obliterated. We may not have seen the green fairy, but we had fun trying. The next day we had a ... read more
Statue in Prague
On our way to the Vysehrad Castle and Cemetery
Make a wish!

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest January 24th 2014

At 8:00 we sailed into Budapest – Ian was quick enough to eat breakfast and video our entry. I followed with Deirdre a little while later, after going back to the cabin for a jacket – it was sunny but chilly. The waterfront is stunning on both sides, featuring a magnificent, very large Parliament Building, which we later learned is based on Westminster embellished by a large central dome. (Nora, our guide, had a great store of dry political jokes. “Why was the Parliament built with a dome? Every circus needs a big top.” “If a war starts, check which side Hungary is on - and join the other side.”) Across from Parliament is the huge Palace and Sailor’s Bastion. No royalty ever lived there (Hapsburgs preferred Vienna), and none of it has been used for ... read more
Fishermans Bastion
Heroes Square
Szechenyi Spa

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budakeszi December 20th 2013

Christmas is in schools in Hungary. It's a thing. And not just Christmas presents/trees/Santa. Oh no. JESUS. Jesus is schools goes against everything I ever learned about being a teacher. About a month or so ago, I was told that I had to prepare a song/chant/dance/play for my class. Since I have 2 classes, I asked Claire to take over my 1st grade Christmas show while I concentrated on the 3rd graders. I chose a play about reindeer. It's cute, it's Christmasy, it's innocent. We spent all of our English lessons for a week practicing. Singing songs, dancing, and acting. Tunde (my co-teacher) was really worried about their pitch and synchronization and everything. I was just happy they memorized their lines. I've mentioned this in a previous blog, but it's relevant to this blog too. On ... read more
Hungarian Things
Boldog Karácsony!
Casual Classroom Christmas Tree

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Buda December 13th 2013

It's that awkward time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's the season where I've stopped being homesick, because I'm just really excited to go home in a week (!!!). Half of my kids are slumped over their desks in class, and the other half are out of control. With no Thanksgiving break, the kids have been in school since the beginning of November. Everyone is ready for Christmas. It's also the season of thankfulness and gratefulness. And over this past week, I've been composing a list of the things I am really thankful for, now that I've lived in Europe for three months. Also, my favorite things. 1. The quaint little towns of the French countryside that I got to peek at while on my train from Lyon to Toulon. Rolling green hills, vineyards, and every so ... read more




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