Budapest: A Top World Travel Destination!

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Today when I was reading the news online, I was surprised and delighted to discover a photo of Budapest’s famed Parliament Building on CNN’s home page. Why? This week, TripAdvisor announced its top world travel destinations, and Budapest came in the top 25!  The award-winning destinations are determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quality and quantity of reviews from TripAdvisor users. For more information, read hereContinue reading

The Easter Basket

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When I was a youngster, I’d get up at the crack of dawn on Easter morning to hunt for my basket. It took no time at all to locate it. I’d find my brothers’ and sister’s baskets right away, too. Our Easter Bunny was never very good at hiding. But that was OK with me. I’d lend him a hand. Before anyone else got up, I’d re-hide my family’s baskets in much better spots like the bottom of the laundry hamper, the dishwasher, or the next-door neighbor’s doghouse. When my brothers and sister gave up looking, I’d offer to help – in exchange for a percentage of their candy.  Continue reading

Birth Announcement: Budapest’s New M4!

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This weekend marked the opening of Budapest’s long awaited Metro Line 4. Known as the green line, the M4 stretches 7.4 kilometers and has ten stations. One of the largest construction projects in Central Europe, it connects southwest Budapest (Kelenföld Station in Buda) to the northeast (Keleti Station in Pest). Tickets were free all weekend, and I ran down to the center of town to check it out. It felt like the opening of an amusement park. Parents brought their little ones. The transportation agency passed out balloons. All shiny and slick, the new stations and cars buzzed with smiling, camera-laden locals. I was proud of the city’s new pride and joy. Well done, Budapest! Continue reading

Like to Talk on the Phone? Thank a Hungarian!

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Like to talk on the phone? Thank a Hungarian. In the latter part of the 1800s, after moving to the United States to become a gold miner, Hungarian Tivadar Puskás was working on his idea for a telegraph exchange when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. This led Puskás to take a fresh look at his work. He got in touch with inventor Thomas Edison, and in the 1870s began working for Edison at his Menlo Park laboratory. According to Edison, the first experimental phone exchange was based on Puskás’s ideas. But when it comes to phoning, Puskás may have been responsible for more than that. Continue reading

The Hungarian Fourth of July!

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This morning when I turned on my computer, I was met with a pleasant surprise. On the Google homepage, “Google” was spelled out with a red, white, and green ribbon — the colors of the Hungarian flag! Why? Today commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, which grew into Hungary’s war of independence against Habsburg rule. It’s a national holiday here, a day for celebrating democracy and freedom — the Hungarian Fourth of July. Continue reading

Gerbeaud Slices (Zserbószelet)

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There are certain Hungarian foods that I can’t stop eating, and Zserbószelet (Gerbeaud slices) is one of them. This popular Hungarian sweet created by the famous Gerbeaud Cukrászda (confectionery) over 100 years ago is layered with jam, crushed nuts, and apple then coated with chocolate. Two weeks ago, the neighbor lady brought over a large cookie sheet full. It wasn’t sliced yet. How perfect! I thought. Not only do I have something yummy to eat, but I can blog about it! I’ll photograph the Zserbószelet, too. Well…uh…that was the plan. Continue reading

Love!

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Once at school I wrote “LOVE” in giant letters on a couple of pieces of large white paper. It was the week before Valentine’s Day. “OK boys and girls,” I said to the class. “Today we’re going to decorate the letters. You may decorate them any way you’d like.” I placed the papers on the floor and handed out crayons and markers and colored pencils. The kids sat around the giant letters and began to color away. Continue reading

Mozart Golyó!

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Every school year, I hand out “Done Dollars” to my third graders for following directions, completing their homework, and being thoughtful to their classmates. At the end of the year, I bring in a bunch of stuff from home that I don’t want anymore and auction it off. The kids bid on the items with their Done Dollars. They love it. At last year’s auction, the most coveted item was a bag of small ping-pong ball sized Mozart chocolates. One of the kids kept screaming, “I want Mozart’s balls! I want Mozart’s balls!” Stifling a laugh, I advised that he didn’t need to put the s on the end of Mozart.   Continue reading