Based on the fantastic recommendation from fellow American ex-pat and Spanish sojourner, Kelly Holland, and the folks @Tripbase, I’m presenting #My7Links. Well, that’s not quite true. I’m actually presenting my 14 because I have a difficult time following rules (fallen Catholic + poet MFA). The truth is that three years abroad has opened my bones. In the last few months I have been longing for America, suffering a little travel fatigue. But this project helped me realize just how much wonder expresses itself in travel, and how much I love where these years have taken me. I broke the rules, true, but I have chosen 7 in-country Hungarian links and 7 posts from other travels.
And I will also have to nominate fellow Ohioan Sarah Tracey for #My7Links who is currently translating her way through Firenze! As we say in Hungarian: Jó mulatást! (Have a great time!)
1. On Not Being a Tourist Anymore. Budapest in its quietest form. Curling between the neo-gothic arches are the aching gypsy melodies. Domes, spires, dolomite ramparts as common as carbons.
2. Nograd. You slowly wake and dress, leave the guesthouse for the main house, where the mother, Marcsi, has set out a beautiful breakfast of breads and cheeses. There is goose liver and ham to spread, a variety of juices and teas. You’re not used to drinking 2.8% milk, and enjoy the smooth texture of the hot chocolate.
3. The Flood. On Saturday the Danube finally spilled over the rakpart and inched its way toward the banks of Pest
4. Tokaj: Wine of Kings and Queens and You and Me. Nota Bene: Reni did NOT short glass us (this is something my parents will be very glad to hear). And though we were taking lots of notes and asking good questions, by the time we hit our 8th pour, we were pretty sauced.
5. Old 5. As the famous Hungarian bard, József Attila wrote, The chatter/ of their teeth they give to the winter. On the outskirts of town, just beyond the limits, you’ll sometimes see prostitutes signaling for truckers, or even worse, the big British corporate grocery chains that have bullied their way into even the poorest villages.
6. Summer Rides. I have a feeling that throughout the history of Budapest, the square in front of the basilica probably hasn’t seen that many Marin Co. California beach cruisers like the one Györgyi rides. It looks good here, though.
7. Budapest Zoo. (Györgyi’s favorite post). So here’s the deal with the Budapest Zoo: Whatever animals probably won’t kill or chew on you, you can pet and feed.
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia: “The outside/ can catch you child./ Hurry.” It wasn’t really until then that this region had a form.
2. Ireland: City bus tour, the Guinness Storehouse and a delicious pint at the gravity bar. We skipped the tour at the Jameson distillery but didn’t skip the bar.
3. Salzburg: I mean how many thousands and thousands of dollars went into that MFA, and “fairy tale” is the best I can come up with? But it’s either that or blank page. And blank page won’t suffice either because I want to express clearly how incredible our weekend was in Salzburg. So it will have to do: Salzburg was a fairy tale.
4. Stuhleck, Austria: Sun so bright you almost couldn’t feel the freezing temperatures because your skin was too busy filling itself with rays. From the lifts, the trees looked exactly how I would imagine them in ancient, northern forests. These evergreens look hardy, for sure, survivors in temperatures and altitudes where other plant life just can’t make it.
5. Marbella, Spain: We left for old Marbella at about 10 a.m. It’s a short ten-minute drive west down the Costa del Sol, which is lined by luxury homes and palm trees. We got there early enough to find a good parking place in town, probably because it was a solid four hours before the Spanish like to eat their lunch.
6. Bovec, Slovenia:We ate lunch halfway down on the stoney riverbanks. Brown bread, salami and paramasan sandwiches with lemon and peach tea. We discovered cookies later in the trip, which Györgyi asked Vrana to give to her midway threw the rapids (she likes cookies).
7. Tuscany: Florence isn’t just shiny cars and ice creams as little boys think. It’s the human form divine. The body beautiful. And you – yes, you – could be part of that world. To make, to create. To live as those old artists did… is to share a part in the divine plan.