Paris and Hungary

Once again, as we do so often being half way across the world from family, we had visitors. My father-in-law Steve had to come to Paris for business, accompanied by my mother in law, coming along for the ride.

I was more than happy to go to Paris. I loved Paris the first time, and this time all the more endearing.

Fabulous place, fabulous people, and the food was, well, fabulous. I tried out my palette with snails this time, for the first time. We had lunch in a little restaurant over the quieter side of the hill at Sacre Coeur. The snails were to die for. I had a half dozen, I could have had another serving without another thought, but left room for the Argentinean steak that followed, cooked to perfection, soft as cotton. Delicious! Oh what pleasure!

Paris is a place to go and immerse you self in culturally. I was more than happy to see it once again. This time with the new camera in hand. Last visit I had an instant film camera. The weather was not kind, so i concentrated more on street photography and targeted the unsuspecting public. I quite enjoyed the change of style in photography, and enjoyed the challenge.

We went home to London, worked for a few weeks, and we were off again. This time to Hungary.

When we get away we like to spend a few days in a city, and get out a small town for a few days. Traveling by train. This time in Hungary we stayed in Budapest and then into the heartland wine region, Eger.

Budepest has quite a past, mainly one of Russian domination and suppression. For these reasons I presumed: One, that not many people would speak English. Wrong! Two, a free spirit. Correct! Not a rude person among the people we met. Not a one. A bit eclectic maybe, but that is what I have come to expect of each European county I have visited.

My mother in laws main complaint about Budapest, was the graffiti. I will agree there was a lot. But in a country where freedom of speech has been suppressed for so long, graffiti, I assumed, was a sign of freedom. Messages like a symbol of free speech. As long as the graffiti is there, the right to be your self and to say as you please exists alongside. I tell a taxi driver my thoughts on the graffiti, on the way to the airport. He tells me my thoughts were interesting and most probably correct.

The Danube river flows right through Budapest separating the east (Buda), where we stayed, from the west (Pest). Buda castle was just up the road from our apartment, and the Royal Palace further along from there. Buda is the hillier of the two sides therefore it has a wonderful lookout point from the front of the palace. Pest is more the business, luxurious side of town, with plenty of shopping, if you are into that sort of thing.

To cut a long story short, so what is Budapest all about? What is every place we have been to about? The people, food and drink, with some history for good measure. I have not seen so many couples sharing intimate moments in my life. They say Paris is the city of love, but Budapest must have overtaken by a country mile. I have not seen so much heavy petting since my days at high school. We were very warmly welcomed (meaning a European welcome, not a USA or Australian type welcome) everywhere we went. The food was great, even at the cheaper pubs that we visited. The beer was good and the wine was especially nice.

It has a buzz of Paris with the steady staunchness similar to Prague. But the people are a lot more welcoming than in Prague. If you had a choice, and were to ask my opinion, out of the two towns which to visit, I would tell you Budapest with up most confidence.

After a few days wandering the city, we take a train to Eger.

Eger is a little town with a great reputation for wine. There is a wine tasting area called the Valley of the Beautiful Woman, where you will find many wine growers, selling their wares. They can be purchased in large plastic containers, or bring your own. They fill you up straight from the casks. We spent the only whole day we had in the valley. We just popped in and out to all different cellars, slowly but sweetly, getting intoxicated. We had a great day with some beautiful wine, and a great homely atmosphere.

Before we headed home, we stopped in Budapest to have lunch at Gerbeaud Ház. If you visit Budapest, this place is a must. Not cheap, but very nice beer, food and the best sweets in Budapest.

I have been quite happy with my efforts with the camera of late, although there is always room for improvement. I am making an effort to capture people as well as places, and people in places. I enjoyed the challenge and was able to capture some really nice images of people.

You can view my images of Hungary and Paris, in my portfolio by clicking the images below.

Cheers all.

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  • Mel Brackstone
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