• europe

    Pest to Buda: The Road to Yesterday

    From the busy bohemian affair that is Pest, Buda is a world away. It is as if the Danube which bisects these two cities injects the air with a change that is palpable as you make your way to the capital of medieval Hungary. The good Welsh folk would declare us tup to have opted for a walking tour on a morning that proceeded to get distressingly foggy and frigid. But we will run with Kurt Vonnegut here. That “bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.” There was drama on the square outside St. Stephen’s Basilica. A bomb scare. Police arriving officiously and dawdlers scuttling equally hastily. We had left…

  • europe

    Portraits from Pest

    In the flat plains of Pest, which the Hungarian calls Peshth, we took over the city on foot. It drove our friend Vee up the wall, those long evening walks by the Danube when the fingers ached with a strange intensity, startled by the piercing cold of the night when even breathing seemed like a bad idea. Lights twinkled through the fog that sat thick upon Gellért Hill high above us as we crossed the Liberty Bridge, the bridge that looks like it was fashioned out of turquoise metal and ebullience. The kind of ebullience that comes with freedom, freedom from the Nazis. But then the smothering of that very…

  • Travel

    The Sassy Winter Spirit of Budapest

    I overheard a conversation at a Christmas stall in Bryant Park in the first couple of weeks in December last year. No darling, I do not make it my business to stand around people earwigging, but in this case I was hovering near a stall of fairy lights wondering if it was the owner who was gabbling rather animatedly with another woman about the dilemma between choosing Budapest and Prague. I was tempted to squeak in with my two bits about both but it seemed then that the other woman had a handle on the situation. She noted: ‘For me, it is Budapest.’ Those five words settle Adi and mine…

  • Travel

    Bring Out Those Candy Canes and Hop, Hop, Hop

    It’s Christmas! Our table at home is all ready to be laden with the goodies. There is mulled wine and chicken roast, roast potatoes and sticky wings, lots of Prosecco and a cheeseboard, the stars of which shall be aged Dutch sheep’s cheese and a garlic and herb Gouda. The quintessential Christmas fruit cake is always the nucleus of our Christmas celebrations – because the goodness of a rum-soaked cake cannot be overlooked – and some pecan-nutella Christmas tree puff pastry and salted-caramel gingerbread men. What is your table going to look like? Since there is lots to be done, I shall go about it and leave you in the Christmas mood with the…