- 14 Apr 2012 9:00 AM
It was actually a 24-hour truck stop, which sounds like it should be really seedy but it was beautifully done in wood with a pond and waterfall outside and fresh tulips and hyacinths in vases beside the walkway to the front porch. There’s an embarrassing picture of me digging into my chicken breast fried in egg batter and smothered with grated cheese and sour cream (hey, at least I had a salad instead of fries with that), but I’ll spare you the sight.
8. Location, location, location.
This goes with the “crossroads” idea I mentioned before – Budapest is a little bit wild Eastern Europe and a little bit civilized west. And something very much its own, of course. But what I wanted to say is that it’s two hours to Vienna, three to Alpine skiing or hiking paradise, five hours to Prague or Belgrade, and six or seven to the rocky, sun-drenched Croatian coast. And now that Hungary’s national airline, Malév, is no more, it looks like we’ll have more “wooden-bench airlines,” as they call them in Hungarian, to whisk us off to points beyond…
Before moving to Budapest, I lived in some of the world’s biggest cities, in every sense of the word “big”: Toronto, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Amsterdam. And of course I’ve visited countless others. Budapest, at the gentle curve of the broad and majestic Danube, the hills of Buda rising on one side, and the expanse of flat Pest on the other, has by far the most dramatic setting of any city I’ve been to. The Seine, with Notre-Dame de Paris, has nothing on the Danube with the spires and cupolas of Parliament. I try to appreciate it no matter which bridge I’m crossing, though I’m partial to Margaret Bridge…
10. The people.
With a Hungarian husband and two half-Hungarian kids, not to mention dear friends and in-laws, what else could be #10? Hungarians may be melancholy and Mediterranean, as I mentioned in my last post, but they are also truly welcoming, generous, hospitable and inquisitive. They are also genuinely thrilled when you attempt to speak Hungarian, unlike the natives of two other European countries I’ve lived in (see #9 to take a guess). That’s been one of the main reasons I’ve managed to learn the language and stay in this country, crazy as it may be. Thank you, Hungarians!
Have a great weekend, and stay tuned next week for a new Top 10…"