Europe

 
19Juli
2017

Hungary - Budapest

Before I continue my blog: Yes I am quite a lot behind, so by now I am back to Germany and I will be back in Hamburg in the beginning auf August, trying to “settle down” again, so everyone who want to visit is very welcome!!!

The blogs still to come will be about:
Sweden
Norway (Bergen)
Shetland (probably several)
Edinburgh
Germany (probably several places again)


I’ll try to write them as soon as possible ;-)
 
But now I continue with Budapest:

In my family we have since some years ago the tradition to draw a lot with a name. You are supposed to give that person a present, so everyone gets one present. Last Christmas I drew my youngest sister Jana and gave her in present to spend a weekend somewhere with someone sometimes. Off course I offered myself as a company as I had a lot of time – and she chose me :-)

To be honest so were my thoughts that she would pick a city in Germany, but she thought different from the beginning, so we talked about Helsinki, Lisbon and in the end it became Budapest, so I stayed in Hungary ;-)

We had a great time together

- lot more than just a weekend, which made it possible to see a lot of Budapest – and that's worth it! We lived first in an apartment in Pest and then in Buda, so we did experience both sides of Budapest but fell most for the Jewish quarter and spent a lot of time there. With the first apartment

came two bikes, so we learned Budapest by riding a bike and I'll suggest that is one of the best ways! 

Budapest has a lot of old fascinating buildings and I could have taken thousands of pictures, but that's what Jana thought about me taking pictures:


But I took quite a lot anyway and I think every single one was worth it ;-)

 

(Okay, selfies were never my best pictures... (-;  )
In Budapest is the biggest Synagogue in Europe, so we visited this one as well – impressive and interesting as it was build by three non-Jewish architects, including three different styles.   


Typical for Budapest (as well for the tourists as for the inhabitants) are the bathes – some really huge and majestic (and touristy)

others smaller and less renovated (and less touristy, which made that one our favourite)

– and the  “kerts” , the best known the “szimpla kert”.

These are bars in “ruins”, means old not renovated houses, backyards and parks – all of them highly used by tourists and inhabitants, depending where you are.

 

All of them have a very laid-back atmosphere and very simple constructions AND home-made lemonade – all different, but all very tasty!


Buda is the side of Budapest which is more green and has a lot of options to go for a walk, so that's what we did.

We went along the “children’s railway” – a relict from socialistic times. It is served by children, aged 10-17  (connected to the scouts), just the engineer and the  train driver are adults. It was a little wired to see them wearing uniforms (which did not fit) and that they greeted each other by lifting their arms in a military greeting.

 

We even tried to visit some caves but that time we were without luck – the electricity broke down, so we had to return after just a couple of minutes. We were more lucky when we looked for a langos-place – we found an absolute exquisite one ;-)
 

As I wrote before Budapest has a lot of very beautiful old buildings depending on where they are they are more or less renovated. What they are realy good at is to turn "broken things" into something new - my favourite were the painted broken pavement. It is a way to protest, but I actually think it is almost more beautiful broken and colourful as in a good shape...


 
 
 
 

07Juli
2017

Hungary - Pécs

When I asked around who would like me to come and visit, Adrienn was one who took the chance ;-) We met actually ten years ago when we both were language assistants in Sweden and it is amazing that we still keep contact and even if we see each other once every five years it seems to be yesterday we met. I stayed at her and her husbands Lackós place and I really enjoyed it! It is just one of the best ways to travel a country – to know some local!  


The first weekend we drove to the Balaton, where Lackós family has a summer house. We came there and I got introduced to a very special and traditional way of coping the cold: Palinka! A spirit made of fruits – and even if I normally don't like spirits – the home made ones in Hungary are really tasty!  


We even celebrated the birthday of Lackós niece there – with a big cake and a lot of presents ;-)


Most of the time I spend in Pécs, looking and strolling around. Pécs is a beautiful old city and has a lot of beautiful old (and mostly renovated) buildings.

 

I even visited the Synagoge there as there are very few chances in Germany to do so. It's a quite impressive building and l liked the atmosphere.

 


One evening I got the chance to attend a party of one of Adrienns and Lackós friends, who is a hunter and who cooked a traditional Hungarian dish at a fireplace in the backyard. It was very tasty and I felt very welcome!

By the way: I really like the Hungarian food!


The Hungarian language is so incredible different to all other European languages, so once again I just learned some words... Here the weekdays, to get an impression:


 
 
 

28Juni
2017

Germany: topping-out-ceremony and meeting old friends

As I was back in Germany I had the chance to take part in the topping out ceremony of my best friend Gunders new house. It was actually the first time I ever have been to such a ceremony and I didn´t know anything more about it than the fact that it´s celebrated when the construction of the roof is finished and that is was traditionally a party for the workers.

Nowadays it´s a party for those who built the house and neighbours and friends who want to have a look ;-)

Traditionally the food is quite simple and so I baked some muffins with the girls

and then there were “Leberkäs-Wecken” – meat loaf in a bread roll - and beer of course! ;-)

 


But the craftmen made sure that the traditions were kept alive, so the master craftsman hold a speech (in rhymes!),

all of us had a small glass of  schnapps,

he drank directly from the bottle and threw it into the house.

 


Another tradition is to leave something behind in the wall for further generation. In this case it was a kind of tube-can which got filled with a list with the names of all which were at the party and their relationship to the family,

a newspaper of the day,a 1-Cent-coin and a 1-Pfennig-Coin.

And then one of the builders sealed it in the outer wall.


It were quite a lot of families with small kids around and the best playground you can think about is a building side – so they had a lot of fun, running around, building with mud...


As told before I take the chance to see and meet friends, so I visited Christine and her family. It was just for a couple of days, but it felt as being a part of the family and I really enjoyed it! So we did, what you do with children – rode a pedalo boat,

ate special shaped pizzas at a restaurant,

 

(I really loved it!)

and icecream

went to a ceremony at a catholic church,

... and had a good time ;-)

27Mai
2017

back home / Eastern in Germany

So I came back to Europe in the end of March, spending the first 10 days at my parents home – doing NOTHING. I helped a little bit in the household, went out with the dog

and my mum or dad and otherwise I was just relaxing. And obviously I needed that very badly. I came home to Germany in spring and to see the nature freshly green and all the trees and flowers flowering was fantastic.

My parents live in Singen, in the south of Germany quite close to the Swiss border.

Well okay, one thing I did was decorating my parents house with (almost) all the Easter decoration my mum had collected (a lot of them made by my sisters and brother and me)

One weekend we went to Engen, a small town, close to Singen which is known because of its old inner city. They had an Easter market and I wanted to attend it and once again I was fascinated by the artwork of painting Easter eggs :-)  

 


As I had come back after a long time travelling we had a big happy family meeting in Heidelberg

– and yes with a lot of children ;-) It was so nice to see that my nieces and nephews recognised me and it took just a short moment for them to get familiar with me again – very happy feeling for me!


After spending some time with my parents I spend time with my brother and his family, and being there on Eastern itself I attended the traditional Easter-egg-searching-procedure :-) In Germany there is the tradition of Easter eggs (or more precisely Easter nests) hidden by the Easter bunny – if possible outside in the garden, otherwise somewhere in the house. Normally the nests contain a lot of sweets but I´ve heard about families where Eastern turned into another Christmas with a lot of quite expansive presents as well... So my niece and my nephews looked for their small surprises (some travelled as long as from Taiwan (-; ) in the garden and got super happy as you can see :-)  


My sisters children got a little delayed Taiwanese Easter bunny, but were happy to look for surprises once again ;-)

Some more impressions - a visit at IKEA ;-)

As my sister Julia and my brother Sebastian are living quite close to Heidelberg I even visited some old friends and took a stroll through Heidelberg

 

 

and had a look at my "old university" and the small villas where they tought special pedagogics.

 

Somhow that visit turned ot to be typical for my travels in Europe - I visit old places where I have lived,see old friends and meet those ones I met while I was traveling. A kind of connection between the old and the new- and I enjoy that a lot!


Then I even visited my youngest sister in Mainz as she had moved since I had visited last, so I got to know her new room mates and had the opportunity to go to the final rehearsal AND the  premiere of a dance theatre which she had been assistant to. I don´t know a lot about dance theatre but I liked that one a lot and was really fascinated because it were young people between 11 and around 20 who danced. Even more interesting for me was all the background information my sister gave me about all the changes about almost everything which took place the last minute – I wasn´t aware of that as I am just used to “classical” theatre where no changes take place (unless very small ones) around the final rehearsal. So I could even attend the premiere party and I enjoyed it a lot – I didn´t realized how much I had missed the special atmosphere around theatre and it was so nice to see all these happy faces – my sisters one among them.


 Mainz is a really nice old city and around are a lot of small nice old villages which we passed by when we made a bike tour along Rhein.

 

To my big surprise we stopped at a place where a lot of turtles live – quite big ones! I had no clue that there is any place in Germany where turtles live in a river!  

 

 


After such a long time it was nice to come home and to meet my family again – I had missed them!