Blogs from Hungary, Europe


Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest April 23rd 2015

A lot happened at the start of our trip.... so I hope bear with me as I keep writing about all of the initial days and weeks. Soon after we got to Budapest, my friend and colleague from HSU, Tasha Howe came to visit with her family. Tasha did her Fall sabbatical in Croatia, and she decided to spend a few days with us before returning to the US. In addition to wanting to show their family the city, I was also hoping that her boys who are similar ages to my kids would share some encouraging/inspiring things to say about their experiences. (My kids were into their first week of school and decidedly not excited about the sabbatical at this point.)Tasha, her husband Mike, and their boys got here very late at night on January ... read more
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Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest April 19th 2015

Writing this blog has been on my 'to-do' list since week one in Hungary. Writing it has become somewhat of a joke even in my own mind, seeing that I made no progress on it at all. But now that about half of the time here is gone, I realize I better start putting some thoughts down. We arrived on December 27 after a long but uneventful trip. The most exciting thing that happened was that Tyler got hassled a bit when entering Switzerland (which is where we entered the EU/Schengen region). His return ticket is for July 30 but US citizens can only stay for 3 months. So, he had to explain that he'd be applying for a visa once in Hungary. The kids and I traveled with Hungarian/EU passports, so we had no similar ... read more
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Europe » Hungary » Western Transdanubia April 19th 2015

Kirándulás barátainkkal egy áprilisi vasárnapon.... read more

Europe » Hungary » Southern Transdanubia » Mohacs April 18th 2015

We had a good orientation with Hendrik our Cruise Director the night before, and a lovely dinner where we started meeting some of our fellow ship mates. Some had been on the cruise for a week already; starting in Nuremburg, and we had a collection of Canadian, American, Taiwanese, Australian, Kiwi and Indian, a great group totalling 120. Met all the staff (also very multi-cultural) and felt right at home. We realized that the Avalon Cruise isn’t just about the cabins, the meals, the incredible staff, excursions etc. but also the little attention to detail. The turn down service nightly with (a different) chocolate on our pillow; the international newsletters that Hendrik made every day for the different countries on board with the latest news, the maitre’d checking in on our food requirements nightly and ensuring ... read more
Locks of love, Pecs is famous for being the city of love locks.
Beautiful gate in Pecs along the old city wall

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest April 17th 2015

This morning I woke up with optimistic hope; I had to believe that my passport would come in, and I was to call the Embassy between 08:30-09:00 (so, is 08:31 OK??). The previous evening we had gone for a nice long walk along the river; expel some stress energy and continue to explore the beautiful city of Budapest. We walked down to the parliament building (which is an incredible feat of architecture, no matter how many times I see it) and I wanted to get some more photos of the shoes along the riverbed. These shoes are representative of the Jewish individuals who were forced to take off any belongings of any value (including shoes) before they were shot and their bodies fell into the Danube. Yes it's horrible to write that, but we also need ... read more
Mr. Pickles enjoying his dead sea salt scrub
Getting our Hungarian Fissage
Alexandra Bookstore, Budapest

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Buda April 16th 2015

I left America 5 weeks ago, and in 6 weeks from right now, I'll be on a flight over the Atlantic heading home. Since I wrote my paper today, I didn't do much in the way of sightseeing or cultural experiences. But a couple of things happened, and I thought I would share them here on my last night in Hungary. First off, my paper is ... done! Well, almost. This was the rough draft of an 8-10 page paper, and I have 8 full pages, so I'm satisfied. The more I do at this stage, the less I have to do later, right? I'm going to go back in and put in the citations and such tonight, but what a load off. Smooth sightseeing from here! So, remember when I wrote yesterday that my night ... read more
Exterior of Keleti Rail Station, built in 1884
One of the richest glasses of hot chocolate I've ever had
The "Opera" Cake

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest April 16th 2015

Slept through the night (which was a blessing in disguise) got up, showered and off to breakfast. I remember mentioning to Hippie I need to do my OCD organize thing - and he was questioning why? We are heading on a coach for a city tour in the morning, nothing to organize really. Good point, I thought, let's eat! So we had a delicious breakfast, then joined the group to head off on our city tour. Being as this was my third trip to Budapest, I knew I would be familiar with the sites, but always interesting to see it from a different set of eyes, and looking forward to seeing it with Hippie as well. The usual suspects were on the list, Hero Square, Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, St. Stephen's Basically, Vaci street and more. ... read more
Hero's Square
Hero's Square

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest April 15th 2015

That title could be taken so many ways, especially with no context. But if you understand that I'm in Budapest, and that on one side of the Danube River is the old town of Pest, while across it sits the old town of Buda, then maybe that'll help. Today was definitely not as jam-packed as yesterday, as I woke up this morning to realize that I'm still on vacation, and Iget to set my own hours. So I did what I felt like doing, and it was good for me. I slept until after 8AM, which is kind of a miracle. I normally don't sleep that late in hotels, even after being on this trip for over a month. I've got probably the best blackout curtains of the trip, too, so maybe that has something to ... read more
The writing on the wall of the synagogue
The Szent Jobb reliquarium - the mummified hand of St. Stephen all lit up
Interior of the Basilica of St. Stephen

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest April 14th 2015

As this trip progresses, I'm more and more thankful that I changed things up and decided to stay on the ground. That being said, I still plan on visiting Portugal and making my way back to Ireland, which are the two places that I'd planned on going, but my plans changed. Since I deviated from that planned itinerary, though, I have found myself surprised by how much I like the places I've been. Imagine if I hadn't done that... First off, leaving Zagreb was kinda weird. This was my first true rail experience in Eastern Europe, and though I knew what to expect, it never fully prepared me for what happened. I was lucky to find some people to share it with. First off, my "train" turned into train-bus-train-bus-train-metro. The guy at the Zagreb train station ... read more
The only communist memorial left in Budapest - right outside the American embassy
Reagan is on the other side of the communist monument
One of the saddest Holocaust memorials I've ever seen

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest April 12th 2015

Hello dear family and friends Well your niece/friend is off again onto her next vacation, exploring strange new words, to see out new life and new civilizations and boldly go where....oh wait. wrong line ;-) I'm off on my very first River Cruise! I am going with Avalon Waterways, and I'm going for 2 reasons (other than I am obsessed with traveling). 1. I really want to experience a River Cruise for the sole purpose of being able to sell it more effectively as they are a hot item these days; and 2. I can go on a river cruise to destinations I've not been before which got me super excited! This will be country number51, 52 and 53, I will keep adding to that eternal passport stamping. I'm doing an Eastern European itinerary - starting ... read more
Mr. Pickles is of course,  joining us for the vacation.
First coffee shop Budapest. Purple :-)

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