Photo Friday: Budapest’s Christmas Market!


There’s nothing like a European Christmas Market to put you into the holiday spirit, and this week Budapest’s famed Christmas Market opened at Vörösmarty tér. Here, nestled under pompoms of lights and the branches of a giant Christmas tree, rows of …

Hurray! My First YouTube Video about Budapest!


I’m so excited! Today, I just launched my first YouTube video about Budapest. If you knew how non-technical I am, you’d know that this is quite the accomplishment. A giant shout out to my friend Paul Corfield for putting it …

Hunting in Hungary: The Lions of Budapest


Growing up in California, I went to Disneyland just about every year. I loved riding through the canon ball attack in Pirates of the Caribbean, singing along with the toucans in The Tiki Room, and sitting with a ghost in …

All Saint’s Day: The Statues of Kerepesi


In Hungary, November 1 is a national holiday. It is All Saint’s Day, or Mindenszentek Napja, a day to honor those who have passed away. The week before All Saint’s Day, many Hungarians visit the cemeteries to clean the graves of deceased family members, …

Margaret Island: The Best of Budapest!


City guidebooks will often describe the best landmarks, restaurants, views, and food, but rarely will they tell you about the smaller bests – like the best park bench, balcony, or cobbled street. I wish they would. To me, bests you …

International Day: Just What the World Needs


I’m a crier. I get teary when I see a father holding his child’s hand on the way to school. I choke up reading Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree to my students. I can’t read A Hundred Dresses or Crow Boy …

Wednesday Walk in Budapest: City Park


Whenever friends come to visit me in Budapest, I always tell them that they’re going to get a sore neck. So much of Budapest’s beauty is above eye level that you spend a lot of time looking up. One of …

The Faces of Budapest

Photo by Lennart Guillet

If Budapest were a song it would have to be Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me.” All around the city carved faces look down from old facades at those below. Some of these faces look serious, others like they’re cracking up at what I’m wearing. Still others with their tongues sticking out remind me of my students’ poses on Picture Day when the photographer says, “OK boys and girls, now we can take the silly photo.”

The Doors of Budapest


When asked what my favorite architectural detail is, I’d have to say it’s the door. Balconies and windows are nice, but they’re not very fun. At least with doors, you get to push ‘em. I’m particularly fond of old doors, and Budapest is chock full of them. There is something about a tall, heavy door aged with time that grabs my attention. Add decades of paint, an iron handle, and a worn knocker – even better. Such doors have always reminded me of the fancy, detailed covers on old, beautiful books. Both open. Both invite you to come on in and see what’s inside.

Hidden in Hungary

Photo by Lennart Guillet

Growing up in California, I loved going to Disneyland. I liked riding through the canon ball attack in Pirates of the Caribbean, singing along with the toucans in The Tiki Room, and sitting with a ghost in my car at the end of the Haunted House ride. One of my favorite things to do in the park was hunting for Hidden Mickeys. These are images of Mickey Mouse that Disney imagineers conceal in attractions, buildings, gates – anywhere.

There is an animal that hides all around Budapest, too. It’s not a mouse, but a lion. Throughout the city, images of lions appear on facades, doors, fountains, bridges, balconies. Symbols of power and strength, many of these lions are easy to miss. Out of view, they often blend in. And just like at Disneyland, I like to hunt for them.