April 22, 2009

A million miles

Well, more like twenty kilometres, but who is counting? I was today, when I cycled down the Danube to Szentendre. For those of you who actually partake in some sort of fitness I am sure that the pretty much flat twenty kilometre ride out among the blossoms and sunshine seems like a dream, when you consider that you could be stuck in an office instead. Well, you are partly correct. The skies were the kind of blue that you use as your computer wallpaper in winter to remind you that there is a summer in this world. The cycle path veers alongside the Danube under the most fragrant trees, wafting a soft pink scent towards you as the breeze cools your face. It was idyllic, and even though it was hard, I was very proud of myself when I was all done and sat in Szentendre for lunch with A.

It was about the time that we arrived back in the city and had to cycle through the traffic that I could feel my knees and the seat of my pants weaken and ache, and not in a good way. Now I am home and off to bed at the unseemly time of 8.00 PM, as that may be the only way that my legs are able to cope with the pressure of being attached to my body. All this has taught me one powerful lesson. I should either exercise more often, or not at all.

"I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happy with buns of cinnamon." Ellen DeGeneres

April 20, 2009

In four years time...

Where do I think that I will be in four years time? It will be 2013, and I will be 37years old. This month, my blog is four years old, and is made up of 769 posts (including this one!). If I go back to the start, I lived in Warsaw, then I moved to Paris, after that I went on holiday to Canada, before going back to Warsaw for a few months. That was followed by six months in North Yorkshire, and the move to Budapest, which is where I currently reside. It does not feel like I long time, four years, but I seem to have squeezed a lot into there.

When I contemplate the fact that I have been writing on here for four years it makes my head spin a little. I suppose that the larger part of myself is imagining that I have just been living away from England for a few months. I still don't really consider myself to be an 'ex-pat', in any sense of the word. Moving around so much has made every choice feel like a crossroads, and even now I feel the feet itching once again.

In four years time, I would like to think that things would be different all over again. New faces, new challenges and new cities. The idea that I will be 37 is freaking me out more than a little though, as like so many people, I feel 26. All the change breathes new life into me and the altering landscape blows away all cobwebs. Will I still be blogging in four years time? Of that, I am least certain of all things.

"Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out"
Vaclav Havel

April 19, 2009

In this city

It is Sunday and the sun is officially out to stay. A came round at half one and we spent a few hours this afternoon wandering and watching Budapest wake up after the long, dark winter. We started at the Design market that happens once a month. Being so close to my district, I often have a walk down there on a Sunday. Today I felt the heat of the sun on my skin and watched the crowds and clouds float by in a haze of weekend relaxation. I like the idea of supporting local artists and I bought a gorgeous print of a watercolour of Matryoshka dolls, being totally obsessed with the things as I am.

The rest of the day was spent in quiet reflection as we watched the thousands of bikes toot past our little cafe on their way to the Critical Mass, seems like it is all happening in Budapest today. A salad, a cappucino and a little sunburn later and I am back at home. I am finally starting to feel normal. It usually takes me a week of holidays to start to feel like myself again, the rest of the time is a blur of work and attempts at getting enough sleep. Gloriuos work free days stretch ahead and I have much more the city that I never got around to seeing before.

April 18, 2009

One week

I have had exactly one week of my holiday and I now have another one to go. I have travelled through four different countries and spent so much time on the road, or on trains that I can't quite believe that I am sitting still with the view out of my window unchanging. Highlights include a day alone in Krakow, the snow still on the mountain tops of Slovakia and a gorgeous day of food and thermal baths in Budapest.

One week is all that it takes to get yourself completely out of your normal work routine, and this change has been just what I wanted from my holiday. Budapest is better in the sun and there are a million places in the city to make you happy to be outside. It has all happened so fast, green sprinting its way out of the branches on trees. We seem to have missed Spring altogether and the weather is so gorgeous that I need to keep telling myself that it is only April, and that the summer holidays have not started yet.

4 countries in 7 days - Austria

April 16, 2009

4 countries in 7 days - Poland

4 countries in 7 days - Slovakia

4 countries in 7 days - Hungary

Here are a few images from my day at Lake Balaton. Also coming, Poland, Slovakia and Austria. A lot of miles, hours on the road and looking out of train windows.