Daily Journal: Monday, 27 February 2017

I wonder how many other retired people deal with changes in their sleeping patterns after they retire. My sleep schedule was a little off when I was working, but now it seems like it is out of control – or maybe that is the new normal?

When I was working, I would get up around 4:00 a.m. and sometimes get to the gym by 5:00, or get a jump start on email or projects at work. And if I stayed up too late, I would get between 4 – 5 hours of sleep. Now, I have time for naps (which I like) and think that this makes it difficult to get a full night’s sleep. Think I’ll just go with the flow and sleep when I want and let nature take care of the rest. (No pun intended using the word “rest”.)

In any case, after I got up and ate my bowl of Greek yogurt with raspberries, blueberries, grapes, and a banana, I worked on my cousin’s invoices and related paperwork. By the time I got to the gym it was after 1:30, but found the gym practically empty again. Nice! Also, didn’t wear a coat to the gym for the two block walk there given that it was nearly 50 degrees.

After my workout, I showered and did some grocery shopping. When I got back, I decided to work on organizing some pictures. There was one file (actually a group of files) that were a composite of photos from various sources. I determined my approach and went for it. It took a couple of hours, but think I can finish up this phase in another 2 – 3 hours.

I decided to return to Heros’ Square (Hősök tere) after it got dark. I had heard that seeing the square and the surrounding area after dark is worth the trip. So, after dinner, I walked over to the Metro 3 station and took the train to Deak Ferenc ter station then transferred to the Metro 1 line which dropped me off at the Hősök tere (Heros’ Square) station.

Below are some pictures of the square after dark. I noticed the column wasn’t fully lighted. Still looks impressive after dark. The hero statues the stand behind the Millennium Monument really stood out.

I walked over to Vajdahunyad Castle and found a number of people taking pictures of the castle’s reflection in the still water of the lake, which was once a skating rink a few days ago. The lighting of the castle was perfect and added to the overall affect.

Think I’ll plan a few more night time adventures. Budapest really takes on a special look after dark. And a good way to get in some additional walks too.




Daily Journal: Sunday, 26 February 2017

Another sunny morning in Budapest. Maybe I should have gotten up earlier to enjoy more of it. Though I did enjoy getting more sleep.

I heard there was some other stores to buy groceries. So I thought it would be a good outing to go check them out. I’m looking for places that generally carry more than basic food items. Maybe some imported goods – something like that.

The first place (SPAR) was nice and highly recommended. It did have some items that I didn’t see at stores nearby to me. The next store was smaller but was packed with higher quality items and every available space was filled with something unique and interesting. I found some Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and grapes that I purchased. I’ll be back…

After the shopping expedition I headed over to the river and found myself next to the Parliament buildings. Didn’t realize where I was. I walked along the river before heading back home. I’ll enjoy more walks like these as the weather warms up.

I did manage to take a couple of pictures of the Danube and the Buda side of Budapest in the distance. Also, I took a video of the M3 subway (which I find interesting) because it is very sturdy with no frills (pre 1989). Posted on YouTube.  https://youtu.be/tVarMildvcw

Fixed some pork steaks and used the remaining paprikash and some boiled potatoes.



Daily Journal: Saturday, 25 February 2017

Beautiful morning! Nice to wake up to some sunny weather. Really helps to get me going! The picture below is from my balcony.

Very quiet at the gym this morning. Many people out for a walk and enjoying the sunshine. Because I was in the gym with only one other person, easy to take my time and add more sets to each workout. Boy, I was tired when I left the gym.

After a shower, I decided it was my turn in the sun. I hadn’t been over to Heros’ Square (Hősök tere) – the largest square in Budapest. The square features the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, statues of the Seven Chieftain of the Magyars, Milenium Monument and statues other national leaders. Bordering the square is the Art Galery (Kunsthalle) and Museum of Fine Arts.

After taking some pictures in the square, I walked over to the Jaki Chapel which is next to a large public ice rink. I was watching the zambonis prepare clean and smooth the ice along the way. At the chapel, a number of vendors were selling a variety of food and gifts.

Pictures from Heros’ Square.

Jaki Chapel and the zambonis.

On the way back, rather than take the bus, I decided to take Metro 1, the oldest part of the subway system and the oldest subway on the European continent – dating from 1900. It was like stepping back in time riding this line.

For dinner, having the leftover Chicken Paprika. I’m really enjoying this recipe.

Bon Appetite!

Daily Journal: Friday, 24 February 2017

Last night, the wind howled most of last night and, as a result, I didn’t get much sleep. I eventually woke at 10:30 and tried to get my day started. The wind was still gusting and it looked like a good day to stay indoors. Except I needed to buy groceries.

I was prepared to get my cupboards and refrigerator re-stocked so took two bags with me to hold the groceries. Not sure if I mentioned, but most places in Europe assume you will bring your own shopping bag(s) and will charge you a small fee to use one of their plastic bags.

Mainly, I needed some supplies to make Chicken paprikash (Chicken Paprika) for dinner. I’m also trying to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet. As a result, my two shopping bags were full, but since I didn’t workout today, it was good that I did a little heavy lifting along with a 15 minute walk back home.

Called my cousin Donna today and checked in with her about Bobby’s funeral on Wednesday. From what I hear it went well and it was a fitting tribute to his life. She said she couldn’t have been happier with how it turned out. I also updated her on the status of Bobby’s donation to the Shriners Hospital for Children and other matters regarding his estate.

Was happy with the way the Paprikash turned out. Though, Csabi said he would like to come over a personally supervise when I make it again. I’m always open to suggestions. We will see…

I’ve also been corresponding with another cousin about exchanging family historical information. It inspired me to add more pictures and documents to that family line then share the link to Ancentry.com with her. A very tedious process to do these updates, but it needs to get done.

A quiet evening tonight. Will try to get to bed early again.


Daily Journal: Thursday, 23 February 2017

Rise and shine! Was up this morning and looking forward to a sunny day. After a quick breakfast, went to the gym for a workout.

Got back home, showered and started looking for a place to stay when I return to Budapest at the end of March. I’ve been toying with the idea of staying on the Buda side of the Danube. (Hint: Buda is on the west side of the Danube River and Pest is on the east side.) The stay in August and my current stay are on the Pest side. The Buda side has more hills and trees while the Pest side is flat and urban.

Since my primary objective, for my Budapest stay in April, is to see many of the annual Spring Festival events – good transportation will be helpful. The location in Buda that I selected is minutes away from one of the transportation hubs and also located in a quiet neighborhood. The flat is cozy (small) but is newly remodeled and furnished. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16108590

I also selected a place to stay in Athens. (Refer to 21 February posting.) My goal was to find a place that is accessible to transportation, good for walking, quiet, and well-maintained. Found a place that is total minimalist. I had narrowed my choices down to two places, but I saw a review that mentioned something about a very comfortable bed. From that point on, I was hooked. Check this out: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12864326  The TV swivels from living room to bedroom.

After booking the place in Buda, I got on the Metro and went over to check out the Buda neighborhood. It was just as it was described in the listing. Very quiet and convenient to the nearby train/metro station.

I then met up with Csabi and we had coffee at Cafe Frei. I took a picture of our coffee selection. International free trade coffee and the menu is extensive. Took us almost 15 minutes to decide what to order. Csabi (left) had a couple of cookie in his coffee and was kind enough to share one with me.

Next we went to a nearby clothing store (Reserved) to do some window shopping. Good prices and I found a shirt that I liked. Boring to keep re-wearing the same clothes and is nice to have something new. I was able to wear the red coat today that I bought a couple of weeks ago at H&M.

It was getting late and Csabi want to get home and go for a run. I was getting hungry and wanted to get home to eat. (Guess who is in better shape.) We caught the Metro 3 train and he got off at his stop to catch a bus to his flat and I stayed on the train to the Duna Plaza stop.

Had a hard time staying awake after 10:00 tonight. So was an early night for me.




Daily Journal: Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Was up early to be ready for my Airbnb host, to be here at 10:00, to fix the kitchen sink. Of course I had make sure the place was in good order before he arrived. Also showered too. He was here right at 10:00 and had the sink’s drain problem fixed before 10:30. While here he showed me the bike locker in the garage so I can go bike riding – maybe tomorrow.

After he left I got ready to visit the laundromat, grocery store, and find a place to get a haircut. As a result, I needed to skip my workout today, but perhaps all of the walking will be a good compromise?

I really enjoy the nearby (sort of) laundromat, which is about a 20 minute walk away from the flat. Since I like to use my excess change to pay for the washer and dryer, I grabbed my stash of coins before I left. As it turned out, I was slightly short of the needed denomination to pay for the wash – though the person in line behind me offered to cover the difference. Nice!

While the wash was running, I had 35 minutes to get over to the nearby Tesco and buy my favorite greek yogurt. It was a good 10 minutes each way to the store, and including the time to get checked out, I was back just before the wash was finished. While the dryer was running, I got in a couple of games of pinochle on my phone.

A little side-note regarding the pinochle game installed on my phone. I use the game to pass the time while waiting in lines, on planes or trains, and sometimes before going to sleep. Very difficult game to play with the computer since it remembers all of the cards played – so I have to be in top form if I’m going to stand a chance of winning. A good game to keep my mind active.

After getting the laundry done, I headed back and stopped off at Duna Plaza to find a place to get my haircut and also to visit the grocery store there and pick up some of their excellent bread. Duna Plaza is getting to be my home away from home.

The place I selected to get my haircut seemed to be a flat rate shop where you get the basic cuts for a fixed price. Which was fine with me. The person who cut my hair asked about length and I said that I generally have the shaver with a #2 guide. I asked if he used guides in millimeters. He said he would use a #2 and started cutting. I noticed right away that it was much shorter than I usually get. He was using a 2 mm shaver – not using a #2 guide. So, now I have a short, but well-trimmed, haircut. Just in time for summer! And it will grow out in a week or so. Lesson learned.

Got home and immediately took a nap. Not sure why I was so tired, but the nap was just what I needed. After I woke, I started working on dinner – and to keep it simple, just prepared baked chicken. While the chicken was in the oven, started to finish up another section of photographs and got a huge batch organized.

A very productive day! Now to get back to the gym tomorrow!



Daily Journal: Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Was up early this morning (7:30 a.m.) but went back to sleep. Was up again at 9:30. As I was making some tea, had a problem with the kitchen plumbing (clogged drain) that I tried to fix and now my Airbnb host need to fix tomorrow. Lesson learned – let the host try to fix – don’t do it yourself!

Got back to the gym today. Had a good workout – considering I haven’t been working out for the past 4 days. Felt good to get moving again. Also nice that my mini-cold is now “history” after 5 days.

Success! I now have the files and photos backed up on my other external hard drive. Today, I made some good progress getting a number of files in order on the primary external hard drive and deleting duplicate files. Next step is to get all of the documents and photos in the correct folders. The “fun” part will be to label everything so they can be cross-referenced for easy access.

Also did some research on places to stay in Athens (Greece) when I visit there towards the end of March. I’m traveling to Hurghada (Egypt) on March 12th for some R&R by the Red Sea, then will head up to Athens for a week’s stay (or longer) on my way back to Budapest. I’m still planning to stay in Budapest until April 30th.

This evening I went to another InterNations gathering for new residents of Budapest. There were about 30 of us there and had the opportunity to talk with several “newbies” and longer-term residents. One of the event hosts was from Bologna (Italy) – a place where I’d like to visit – known for an amazing variety of Italian food and many local restaurants. Also found a new market that sells higher quality food (like a Zupan’s).

Got home at 9:30 and watched some Next Generation before heading to bed. Though, I got up at 1:00 a.m. to finish this journal posting. I’ll press the “Publish” button and head back to bed.

Daily Journal: Monday, 20 February 2017

This morning started off sunny and we almost had blue skies. Then around noon the clouds rolled in. I took a look at the weather forecast for this week and it looks like we may get up close to 60 with some clearing on Thursday. Being from Oregon, I’ll wait and see…

I didn’t make it to the gym today. Still have a stuffy nose and thought some extra rest would be best. Instead, I’m tackling the file and picture backup project today. It has to get done sometime. My strategy is to get the major file folders organized on one external drive, then copy these folders to the backup external drive. I can then work on the files and pictures on the primary external drive and know that my backups are safe. Easy, right?

Once I have each of the major categories organized, I’ll upload them to my OneDrive and let Microsoft maintain the backups. It would be helpful if the OneDrive application made it easy to organize files – still a little “clunky” to do that.

Tonight will be the last of the beef stew for dinner. Not sure what I’ll make next. I’ll have to think about that. I’ll be at another InterNations gathering tomorrow night, but it doesn’t start until 7:00. In any case, whatever I make, I’ll need to be finished by 6:00.

Hope I don’t have another dream about work. Has been a long time since I thought about having a job. This dream was about getting people to attend a weekly meeting and explaining why these meetings would be important to the success of the project. Today, while going through some of my files, I came across some work documentation, job descriptions, and meeting notes – nice to know that that all of that is all in the past.

Pleasant dreams!



Daily Journal: Sunday, 19 February 2017

My morning started off with someone at my door – who wouldn’t stop knocking and trying the latch to get in. Security said he was drunk. At 7:30 a.m.? Thankfully I was able to get back to sleep. I had my suspicions that Hungarians like to party through the night – this might be a clue that I was right? Anyway, all is well…

After getting a couple more hours of sleep, I made some coffee and got ready for my InterNations lunch at 12:30. We met at an Indian restaurant near the West End shopping center, near the center of the city. I arrived early so walked through the shopping center and checked out the stores. It is quite large and has all of the major stores with a impressive food court on the ground floor.

At Haveli Indian Restaurant in Budapest. (Note sure why the quality of this picture is so poor.)

Thought it was interesting having Indian food in Hungary. Hey, why not? Met new people today – some from Hungary, but also spoke with people from the UK, Australia, France, Belgium, and Romania. There was about 17 of us. I had asked if anyone knew if this food was anything like what you’d find in India and the consensus was that it wasn’t. Too many meat dishes.

After lunch I walked through the West End Shopping Center again and went into Media Mart to find a new cord for my backup external hard drive. Found what I was looking for and left for home. The cord will help me transfer the files from one external drive to the other.

Took a nap also and left a message with Paula to see if she had time to talk with me today as planned. We found a good time for both of us and proceeded to have a good hour long talk and got caught up. Good to see and hear her again. We used Messenger’s video call feature – which worked out very well.

Feeling fairly good today. Getting rest and drinking liquids really help. I’ll return to the gym tomorrow. Just need to get into bed early again tonight.


Daily Journal: Saturday, 18 February 2017

Well, if finally happened. I’m officially claiming that I have a cold. Not a bad one, but have a runny nose and sneezing here and there. Now to get more fluids and some rest and I’ll be good as new in a few days.

When I woke up, I flipped a switch and saw a flash. Then realized that the power was off in the kitchen. My Airbnb host had it fixed within a hour. Good that I won’t starve. Ha!

Speaking of starving, I had in my mind, since I found some Worcestershire Sauce a couple of days ago, was to make another batch of beef stew. After my morning nap I went up to the Tesco Express and bought the remaining ingredients for the stew.

While the stew was cooking, I started to organize my pictures and documents between my OneDrive (cloud) and external hard drive. I’ve been transferring the files to the external hard drive so they are easier to organize. Not to worry, I have a second external hard drive where I will copy over what I have – so if one fails, I always have a backup.

The beef stew turned out perfect and decided to have a second helping – though a smaller portion. Had some toast for dessert.

Was early to bed for me. Get some rest and hopefully the cold symptoms will start to go away in a couple of days. We shall see…