Archive for November 2009

On my travels

I haven’t posted anything for what seems like ages, sorry about that. Anyway a few weeks ago I went to Hungary so here are a few thoughts about the place and a few photographs of Budapest.

As soon as I got there I developed a pretty bad case of flu / swine flu / bird flu / man flu / or maybe it was just a cold, whatever, it made me feel crap. Actually looking back at it, it made me feel even more crap than I gave it credit for at the time. I put on a brave face of course (I’m such a hero, not.) but looking back at it I didn’t feel anything like my usual self until the last couple of days.

There are some wonderful things in Hungary, I’ll tell you about two of them. The first is Bogratch, a kind of stew made in a big cauldron that is suspended over a fire. I’m sorry I thought I had a photograph of it but apparently not. What a wonderful name though, the apparatus is called a bogratch as is the resulting dish so one can invite people to a bogratch in the same way as saying “come to a barbecue”. We had a bogratch on my birthday and the guests brought some Hungarian wine which didn’t get opened that day so it was put it in my bag to bring back to Turkey. Once back here I tried it and spread the drinking of it over two evenings, it was very nice indeed. Very similar to a lovely oaky Burgundy, thank you very much to the guests, I might come back for some more sometime.

While on the subject of drinks the other thing that I wanted to mention is Palinka, a sort of home made alcoholic spirit that keeps everybody warm on a winters’ night. I’ve drunk similar things, I just can’t remember when! I’ve always advocated drinking the locally made brew or distillation wherever I’ve been, I’ve found that nothing suits a place better than the stuff made on the spot and Palinka is no exception. It can be made from various fruits and apparently it can legally be done at home but the finishing must be done at a government regulated distillery which limits the alcoholic strength so that buildings are put up straight and white lines stay in the middle of the road. Some people do use it as a winter heart-starter at breakfast so providing you don’t work with dangerous machinery and the guy next to you doesn’t either you have a fighting chance of coming home from work in one piece.

I went to Budapest on the day before my flight back to Turkey so that I could do a little sightseeing and take a few photographs. Budapest straddles the river Danube with Buda on a hill on the west side and Pest on the plain on the east side. It has a long history and plenty of impressive old buildings, a lot of which were damaged and have been rebuilt since the last world war. This one is the Royal Palace built for the Habsburgs but apparently never lived in by them.

From up on the top of the palace you can see across the river Danube to Pest and the countryside beyond.

On the way back to Turkey I was a little disappointed to see LOL written above the windscreen of the aeroplane. Wonder what that’s all about.

My guitar playing friend Rob stayed in my house with his dog Pancho to look after my dogs while I was away and I was pleased to see that he still had all his hair and was capable of smiling when I got back. Thanks for that Rob.

Continuing my travel month I went to Izmir to see some friends and had a very good weekend. Izmir city is very busy and noisy. Approaching it on the motorway I came over a hill and saw that the complete landscape was covered in buildings. I was sure I’d have trouble finding the place I was supposed to be staying. For a bloke living in a little village used to seeing perhaps a dozen cars passing my house in a day it was a bit of a culture shock to say the least, crowded and very busy.

I did like going across the bay on a ferry….

….. and the one that we caught was timed just right to get a nice sunset shot.

I also visited Çesme, a small town to the west of Izmir where a lot of people have their summer homes. It is a tourist place really and is very quiet out of season. A nice relaxing place that I’m much more suited to. On the way back from there I took a couple of shots to show you how crowded the motorway is.Ahead…..

and to the rear…….

The road back to Kas gets gradually worse the further east that you come until the last few miles along the coast where the road is clinging by it’s toenails to the cliff rising steeply out of the sea. In the winter storms the sea spray can cover your car in a couple of places.

Posted November 9, 2009 by cukurbagli in Uncategorized