Vincent D. Pisano

Vin Pisano

Vincent D. Pisano

I am an American educator and an aspiring writer, born and raised in New England, who is trying to see as much of the world as he can. For me, travel is not just about exploring the world, but also about discovering new things about yourself.

Countries traveled thus far: U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Bermuda, Ecuador and The Bahamas.

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine

"Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind." - Seneca

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Europe » Hungary » Northern Great Plain August 23rd 2009

The next morning Gabe tells us that last night was Józsi’s birthday, though he hadn’t known until he had arrived at the bar, and Józsi celebrated by getting piss-drunk and trying to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Had I known it was his birthday, I would have joined them. However there is a bright side – dreading trying to fit our inexpensive tent into our luggage, we decide to gift it to Józsi, as it was he who originally suggested we buy one in the U.S. as they tend to be much more expensive in Hungary. We spend our final day packing, cleaning and searching for a way to safely transport our horse-bows, settling finally on thick cardboard tubing, plastic pipe caps and zip ties – all purchased at the large Home Depot-clone hardware store – ... read more

Europe » Hungary » Southern Great Plain » Bacs-Kiskun August 22nd 2009

Kristen and I are awoken from a deep sleep by a group of men who have decided to erect their tents right beside ours, in the dark and hopelessly drunken. The longer their absurdly loud conversation goes on the more I wish I knew Hungarian. But language and cultural barriers being as they are, we decide to wait out their commotion and it is shortly before dawn by the time we fall asleep again. The daylight begins pouring over the Great Northern Plain. “Wake up, Magyars!” comes the call, in Hungarian, from the man in the powered parachute as he flies over the campgrounds, his buzzing fan providing the background noise. Gabe is already awake, packing up his tent. He warns us to avoid the closer Port-O-Potties and use the ones near the entrance, but the ... read more
Kurultaj 2009
Kurultaj 2009
Kurultaj 2009

Europe » Hungary » Southern Great Plain » Bacs-Kiskun August 21st 2009

Still in ecstasy over the previous evening’s discovery, we pile into the car to follow Jozsi, Feri, Klara, Edit, Pista, and Laci (Gabe’s cousin) along the narrow back roads, heading west to the town of Kunszentmiklós. We plan to camp out at the “Kurultaj 2009” festival being held there to see some Hungarian horsemanship and horse-bow demonstrations. The roads are relatively free of traffic, with sparse sunflower fields and buildings offering scenery - and dead dogs. Stray dogs are common in the Hungarian countryside, and while New England road-kill consists of mainly squirrels, skunks, and deer, here can be found the bloated corpses of familiar breeds littered along the roadside. The dog-lover in me cringes, though the sadness is lessened by the likelihood that there are no caring owners missing and crying over their loss. Nevertheless, ... read more
The absurdly long trek
Getting closer...
Still trekking...

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Buda August 19th 2009

By 7 a.m. we are again drifting and wading in the tranquil pools of the Széchenyi Medicinal Baths in City Park, and again we are the youngest among very few patrons. We openly wish that we could begin each day in this relaxing manner - indeed, it will be an element we will miss most when it comes time to leave Budapest. We take the metro back to the apartment to wash up and then begin the trek across Margaret Bridge to the Buda side. To our right we can peer down to Margaret Island and see topless sunbathers soaking up the already formidable rays, and already people appear to be gathering along the bridge and riverbanks for the Red Bull Air Race which will be raking the Danube later in the day. We intend to ... read more
Crossing Margaret Bridge
The Danube
Sunbathers on Margaret Island

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Buda August 18th 2009

Our alarm goes off before dawn and it is not long before Kristen, Gabe, and I are riding the metro back to the Széchenyi Medicinal Baths in City Park. We arrive shortly after they open and change in the locker room before dipping in the indoor marble, Turkish-style thermal baths. This facility is a favorite of both tourists and locals, and was the first to be built on the Pest side. It is difficult to imagine the enormity of this neo-Baroque complex, built in 1913 and one of the biggest in Europe. The outdoor pools of varying temperatures are truly palatial. It is easy to lose oneself in the grandeur of the fountain statues and marble columns, as it brings the bather back to times of exuberant splendor, real or imagined. There is a hot bath, ... read more
St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica
St. Stephen’s Basilica

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest August 17th 2009

As we prepare to catch the train to Budapest in the morning, Gabe says he can still feel the previous night’s absinthe. We drag our luggage along the village’s uneven sidewalks and buy our tickets at the Kengyel train station, which unsurprisingly also serves as a bar. The station is rundown, and once again I am in awe over relatively simple things that Hungarians do not invest in, such as seats for benches. (We later learn that the EU, which has granted money to widen local roads, is also in the process of refurbishing and upgrading train stations, and Kengyel is among those on the list.) Klara will be accompanying us to Budapest to pick up her friend, who will travel back to Kengyel with her for a few days. We switch trains in Szolnok and ... read more
Kristen, Klara and I at Kengyel Station
Leaving the Great Plain behind
Train to Budapest

Europe » Hungary » Northern Great Plain August 16th 2009

It is after noon when my eyes finally open and I am able to pry myself from the bed. Kristen is in the kitchen and tells me that Gabe has begun excavating in the garage. About twenty years ago Gabe’s brother had dug out a nearly six-foot-deep hole in the garage in order to more easily work beneath the cars he was fixing. The last time Gabe was here he decided to do some digging of his own in the hole and found pottery fragments, which he brought home and we took to be ancient. While we are far from being archaeologists, we both have degrees in history and the field has been a mutual hobby of ours for a very long time, so our assessment is not entirely naïve. I join him and we spend ... read more
Bagi Manor Windmill
Bagi Manor Windmill
Kristen and I

Europe » Hungary » Northern Great Plain August 15th 2009

In the morning we awake to a nearly cloudless day and Gabe, Kristen and I drive to Jozsi’s house to practice with the horsebows. Just as we feel we are beginning to get a handle on shooting and aiming, Jozsi shows us just how much farther still we need to go by firing his arrow into the target from four times our distance. Regardless, we are finding that the horsebow requires less effort to shoot than English longbows, as they are both easier to pull back and to aim. Noon approaches and the sun begins to bake our backs. We will be attending Anikó and Krisztián’s wedding this afternoon, and so, not wanting to become too sweaty before changing into our formal attire, we retreat to back to the house to prepare for the day. Klara ... read more
Making the kill
Horsebow practice
Waiting for the bride

Europe » Hungary » Northern Hungary » Eger August 14th 2009

I was passed out as soon as I had lain in bed, and was confident that I would finally get a full night’s rest. Hell no. It is hours before sunrise and Kristen has awoken me, panicked out of sleep by the large bug she sees crawling on the ceiling. I stumble to the light switch across the room wait for my eyes to adjust to the incandescent barrage. I soon can see that it is just a very large grasshopper and I stand on the bed, trying to grab it. Being what it is, it leaps across the room each time I get near, and it is about five minutes before we finally catch it and open the door, letting it free into the night. Energized and awake, it is even longer before I can ... read more
Eger graffiti
Eger street
Eating Turkish food

Europe » Hungary » Northern Hungary » Eger August 13th 2009

It is 3:30 a.m. and I am lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. Kristen has somehow managed to remain asleep beside me, but as the roosters and dogs begin anew their incessant calls, I admit defeat and head out to the kitchen. Jetlag has won again. I find that Klara left the small radio atop the freezer playing before heading to bed, so to a curious Hungarian cover of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” I set up my netbook at the small dining table and type until the sun begins warming my back. By the time Gabe awakes and blurry-eyed begins brewing a pot of coffee, I already loath Hungarian radio. Europop, most of it in English, reigns on the airwaves, and my skin crawls with every joyfully soulless, generically programmed beat. It is made by Europeans for ... read more
Castle gate relief detail
Kristen and I

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