Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Steven at work

Steven and András (a great volunteer!) were staffing the United Way Hungary table at the American International School of Budapest. About 2,000 people attended the school's annual International Festival.

Steven and András were giving away reflective safety bracelets (see photo below) as a way to promote safety in Hungary. Sadly an average of five children die in Hungary each week because of an avoidable accident. The bracelets were the hottest thing! Every kid wanted one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

What to do at Lake Balaton? Eat a whole pig!

We were visiting Lake Balaton this past Saturday with our friends Zsuzsa and Jeremy. This was our first visit to Lake Balaton which after 1.5 years in Hungary is horrifying to Hungarians.

You will see below pictures we took of each other at Tihany (north shore town on the water). We ate a meal that will certainly clog an artery or two. The restaurant was grilling meat (yes!). They offered pork knuckle and saslik (shish-kebab). We ordered both and was served a plate piled high with onions and enough meat for 6-people! There were some token vegetables.

You will see another photo below that looks out over the lake. This photo was taken from a high-point in Tihany next to a beautiful church. The color of the water is aquamarine because of the limestone in the lake

We had a great time! ...and Steven fell asleep in the car on the way home because of so much pork in his belly!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time Change in Hungary!

Lake Balaton pictures coming soon...

Just a reminder that we set our clocks 1-hour forward today. So we are back to the standard 6-hours ahead from Cincinnati, 9-hours ahead from Seattle and 1-hour behind from Estonia.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where are we today?

If you are reading this then we are in the village of Tihany (photos below). Tihany is located on the north shore of Lake Balaton. We'll post some of our photos tomorrow!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Little Lizards = Spring is Here!

We love when we start seeing little lizards shooting around in our garden and scuttling about as we walk around the neighborhood. We take seeing these lizards as a "sure sign" that Spring is here. Yesterday, we reached 71 F (22 C) yesterday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Birthday wishes sent across the globe

Happy 80th Birthday one of my favorite people.

Diane and her Grandpa KappaI raise my glass and toast to you. May you have a wonderful Birthday filled with laughter, love, and happiness. We love you.
-Diane and Steven

Saturday, March 20, 2010

1st Day of Spring = 1st Warm Day in Budapest!

It is officially Spring and right on cue it is finally warming-up here in Budapest. Today's high temperature was 64 F (18 C). Everyone in the city is running in circles with joy not knowing what to do with themselves.

We are planning a road trip next Saturday to Lake Balaton (largest lake in Central Europe) with two of our good friends, Jeremy and Zsuzsa. We have never really spent any time at Lake Balaton which by Hungarian expectations is a major offense. The lake--sometimes called the Hungarian Sea--is a well loved treasure of Hungary. We posted a few 'stock' photos below as a "teaser." More to come next weekend...

How is the weather where you are?

p.s. To our Estonian friends: Hang-in there! We see that it is still snowing.

The lake looks small here, but it is the largest the lake in Central Europe. In comparison, however, Lake Erie in the US is 43x larger and Lake Peipsi near Estonia is 6x larger than Lake Balaton.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meat. Hús. Fleisch. Liha. Carne. Мясо.

How many different ways can you "meat?"

We visited one of our favorite German's restaurants, Paulaner Beer House, here in Budapest. We ordered the 'meat plate for two' with a cucumber salad. We were a bit surprised by how much meat was served. ...and of course we had a couple of Paulaner's Oktoberfest beers.

Hungary is not a vast beer drinking nation. Hungary more then makes-up for their lack of beer by producing excellent wines. We just wish there was some more energy put into the beer-making or at least a better selection of imported beers. Germany and Belgium are so close!

Epilogue: After this meal, we went to see a movie, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lighting Thief. We reeked of raw onions, meat, mustard, vinegar and beer. The theater was filled with kids and parents. We misjudged that the movie was more adult-orientated. The movie was OK, but parents must have wondered about 'those two smelly adults sitting in the middle row.'

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

High Tech Pasta Sauce

Our good friend Kate Weber sent us a useful website where you can build recipes and menus interactively. We like this site because you can build a menu from what you have in your kitchen already compared to running to the store and buying more ingredients. It is a frugal solution in these frugal times.

All you do is throw ingredients that you have on-hand into the virtual bowl on-line. The clever little web tool then shows you what portions to use. This adds some science to the art of cooking.

Try it out! We did...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our Rose Garden the Snow Garden

Like many of you, we have had a long, snowy winter. We have thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course we don't have to drive in it, so it is easier to enjoy. Here is another snowy view from our flat. Soon, however, we will be looking our into our garden with roses blooming.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today: memorial day of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848

Today in Hungary--Monday, March 15--is not the start of March Madness nor is it the Ides of March. Hungary memorializes the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 which grew into a war for independence from Austrian Habsburg rule.

On this day there are usually political speeches, marches, and music pieces performed. Many people wear a cockade with Hungarian's national colors. Below is a cockade we purchased from a lovely grandmother selling her handmade cockades on the street. She cleverly convinced Diane to buy the more expensive cockade.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Return of The Blog!

When we wrote the title of this post, we were reminded of the 1950s American sci-fi, horror classic featuring Steve McQueen (his debut!). If you haven't seen the film, it is about a big amoeba that lands on Earth. It terrorizes a small community eating anything it touches. The Blob is like a big ball of fly-paper. Everything sticks to it and eventually meets it demise.

We originally viewed our blog as reflection of our own 'Blobbing about.' Our blog would show others everything that was "sticking" to us in our daily lives. Unfortunately, life became a bigger Blob and we were consumed (eaten!) by the silly and boring things that make-up your day, week, month...

Are you following this analogy? Please don't take us wrongly. Life is good, we are happy and our positive outlook is unshakeable. We contribute the silence of our blog to the end-of-winter-blahs or also known as cabin fever.

So get ready! Our blog is returning. We have planned some exciting entries with fantastic photos. And just like the movie, The Blob, our blog will be: "Indescribable...indestructible! Nothing can stop it!"