Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekend of Celebrations!

This weekend was full of celebrations.

Saturday was Diane's 'name day.' Name days are a tradition celebrated in many countries in Europe and Latin America. Everybody has at least one day where friends and family can celebrate one's given name.

Names are an interesting thing in Hungary, you can only name your children using government approved names. So if you want to name your little girl Amanda, you are out of luck. You can request from the government that the name be allowed. New names are occasionally allowed such as Jennifer which becomes Dzsenifer.

On Sunday, we also celebrated the "first time we met" anniversary. 19 years ago today, Steven and his best friend, Jim, entered a bar/dance club in Cincinnati where Diane and her best friend, Mindy, were hanging-out. By the end of the night Diane and Steven fell in love...or at least that is how the story is embellished these days. The rest is history!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Budapest International Wine Festival!

This past weekend, we visited Budapest's biggest wine festival. It features Hungary's top wines which by the way are underrated in the wine world. On one hand, this underrated situation benefits us local wine drinkers, but of course for winemakers it is not a desired situation. Even more unfortunate, the wines that often make outside of Hungary are very poor quality.

Here are some photos...!

Festival takes place in Budapest's Castle District.
You can see the Daube River on the left here.

We joined our good friends Susan and Bill.

Hungarian sausage, mustard, bread and a pickle. Yum! This is a very basic and traditional meal in Hungary. Steven sometimes hits the local market for lunch and eats this meal. Cost = 600 HUF or about $3...and it is all freshly made.

Beautiful location for a wine festival!

Too many options! Each little kiosk offers wine tastings.

As we waited for the bus, the Matthias Church stood beautifully by.

Waiting for the bus...that will take us to the metro...
that will take us to the bus...that will take us home!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Year Anniversary!

September 10 was our two year anniversary of arriving to Budapest, Hungary. After several years of planning, we left our home in Seattle in August 2008, drove across the country to Ohio--4-days on the road!--and then arrived in Budapest in September.

Diane said best on her Facebook page:

"It is hard to believe that two years ago we arrived in Budapest with no home, no jobs, and no friends. Now look at us. We have a created a nice life here with a wonderful flat, a successful business and have meet the nicest and most interesting friends along the way. Cheers to Budapest!"

We celebrated modestly by toasting a couple glasses of wine at one of our favorite pubs called Jelen. Jelen reminds us so much of Hattie's Hat in Seattle. It feels familiar...without the fisherman at the bar.

p.s. After a full-month of blogging silence, we will be posting more often!

Photo of Jelen facing the bar. We usually grab a seat the bar.
They have a great kitchen with one of the few places in town offering genuine pub food (finger food).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow!

While in Estonia, we saw a beautiful full, double rainbow. We think this type of rainbow is called a supernumerary rainbow which is a rare sighting. Living in Ohio most of our lives, we seldom saw full rainbows, but in Estonia (and Seattle) they are frequent.

The video is taken from Tiiu & Guido's 2nd floor terrace. You get a good sense for how wonderful their backyard is as it edges up against the Emajõgi river in Tartu, Estonia.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Talking Heads at KUMU

Although the title of this blog might suggest we saw the music group, Talking Heads, while in Estonia last week, we actually visited the Estonian Art Museum also known as KUMU. In one large room, the museum cleverly exhibits several busts or heads of different people ranging from historical actors to common folks. And the heads are talking! Several voices in the room can be heard as if the heads are talking to you or at least with each other. See the video below.

The museum is new only just opened in 2006. Finnish architect Pekka Vapaavuori designed a beautiful building inside and out. KUMU won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2008. The museum is a must-see if you are in the area.

Look closely at the 'head' at the end of the video. The woman's gaze is powerful. You feel awkward for starting at her, as if she is looking back you.

View of KUMU from outside.
Photo credit to Kaido Haagen.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What we bring home from Estonia

As most of you know Steven loves most things Estonian. Diane loves it too especially the chocolate! We thought it would be humorous to take a picture of all of the food we brought back from our recent trip to Estonia. If we could there would be much more food in the picture such as Tiiu's tomatoes (for Diane!), herring, sour cream (Estonian sour cream is the best), porridge, smoked fish, blueberries (they are plentiful and much cheaper then in Budapest), Tiiu's fresh dill pickles and the list goes on.

The "Must" bread is Estonia's delicious black bread. We can buy German-style black bread at Aldi in Budapest but it isn't the same. Lots of chocolate! Of course some Estonian vodka. And over 2L of Vana Tallinn which is a yummy liqueur.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Check out Diane's blog for France photos!

Diane is posting photos from France over on her blog. Check it out: