Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mini Vacation: Döbrönte, Hungary

We took a short trip to a spa in Döbrönte, Hungary. We spent Thursday-Saturday walking to a castle, playing tennis, laying by the pool drinking mohito's and getting sunburned, eating, swimming, taking a carriage ride and playing cards. A great few days spent with dear friends talking, laughing, sharing and as our friend Bonnie would say...creating new memories. A fantastic trip! We stayed at Hotel Hasik. A fantastic hotel with everything....except comfortable beds...they were a bit too hard for all of us. One of the best parts of this short trip - no one was at this hotel. It was like we had a staff of 20 to serve just the four of us.

Here are a few photos...more coming soon....

Hotel Hasik - view from our room (castle in the background)
the coolest gutter!
the castle
Stevenour very photogenic traveling partners: Jeremy and Zsuzsaaround town

Saturday, May 22, 2010

"I want to rock and roll all night..." in Vienna!

We had fun in Vienna on Thursday and Friday. We drove from Budapest with our friends Jeremy and Zsuzsa. After an extra 2-hours--detour because of a huge hole in the highway--we arrived in Vienna.

We ate at local restaurant which has become a regular stop for us. Delicious German food is on hand and the service is fast and friendly. You feel like you're in a small town diner but you're actually in the center of Vienna right by the Cathedral!

Jeremy and Steven went to the KISS concert. The concert was amazing. KISS delivered on all points. The music was great although not too much from their older albums. Gene Simmons was his typical self. He was breathing fire, wagging his tongue, spitting 'blood,' and had on his huge platform boots.

Diane and Zsuzsa hung-out in Vienna shopping, eating and have a drink at a cute Irish pub. We all met later in the evening for a nightcap in Vienna's Bermuda Triangle district.

Everywhere wild poppies dot the Hungarian countryside.

Vienna is a beautiful city!

Diane finds beauty everywhere.

A hot dog eating Steven...or...Steven eating a hot dog?
He bought this at a kiosk called Wurstland!

KISS! If you can, see them. Even if you're not a big fan, you'll
get to see an amazing, good 'ol fashioned rock-n-roll show.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flooding in Central Europe

The rains keep coming. The wind and cold weather don't help. Major flooding has taken some lives in Hungary and caused serious damage. The last big flood was in 2006. Let's hope we don't repeat that one!

A huge hole in the M1 motorway. The M1 is the major connector between Budapest to Vienna.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Powerful Video!

Steven is focused on accident prevention with his work at United Way Hungary. He often comes across some amazing creative that helps communicate the need to be safe. This video will move you. Made us cry.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Martinis: James Bond or MacGyver?

We like Martinis. Dry vodka martinis with olives to be exact. Steven likes them very dry--just simply pass the bottle over the glass without pouring any vermouth. Diane likes them a little less dry.

We sold our cocktail mixer and have been using a variety of containers to make martinis. Our newest invention is using our French press to mix and then use our whisk to to keep the ice from toppling out.

I don't think James Bond would approve but MacGyver might.

What is worse? Using a French press and a whisk or that we buy our vodka at Ikea? (Vodka is great by the way. We've blind tasted it against some premium vodkas)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Boban Marković Orchestra in Etyek - wow!!

We spent a fabulous Sunday in Etyek which is a small town just 1-hour outside of Budapest. Etyek is a cute wine producing town. It reminds you of California's wine country with its rolling hills and vineyards.

We joined our friends at a festival. The festival wasn't advertised but was intended for local enjoyment. We listened to one of the best Balkan brass bands. Boban Markovic hails from Serbia and leads his orchestra with great energy and skill. He and the band are known around the world. We very luckily enjoyed the performance among less then 50-people at the foot of a vineyard. The sun warmly shown while we drank the fresh white wine cuvée and ate artisan cheeses and ham

The Boban Marković Orchestra (Etyek, Hungary)

Monday, May 3, 2010

"We must cultivate our garden."

Voltaire wrote in Candide that "we must cultivate our garden." Besides being one of Steven's favorite books, Diane spent most of her Saturday this past weekend tending to her garden. Even on May 1st (Labor Day or International Worker's Day), the garden store was open. You can see some of the results of Diane's "labor" below.

Remember..."all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds."

These beautiful purple flowers bloom all summer along the fence line.

Our little garden sanctuary. You can see the lattice in shadow where the roses grow.

Some of Diane's flowers.

One of Diane's favorites:Dahlias