Daily Journal: Saturday, 29 April 2017

Woke up early this morning. Today is when I tour the Hungarian Parliament building. Actually felt really awake and ready to go, so I did.

The GPS route to the building involved some transfers, so since I was early, I took the Metro #3 to a nearby stop and walked. Found an interesting fountain along the way, then got a picture (again) of the outside of the Parliament building. It is one of the most beautiful and grand buildings in Budapest. (But I still like the U.S. Capital Building better.)

Inside, I joined a scheduled tour in English. Being part of a scheduled tour is the only way to tour the building. We saw the main hall, one of the Parliament chambers, and took a picture of one of the many figures displayed in one of the hallways and a cigar holder (no longer used).

At the end of the tour, found a replica of the building. Difficult to get the whole building in one picture.

The tour was a little less than an hour. Glad I went! So much love, pride, and attention went into this building. During WWII, many of the fine details were saved and re-installed after the war.

On the way back to the flat I ran out of data, so had no roaming internet. Stopped by Vodafone and transferred some funds from my account into 1 GB of data.

When I returned home I continued to get ready for the big move tomorrow. Finished off the chicken noodle soup and watched Star Wars Episode IV – the first movie that was released in 1977. (Seems like yesterday.) Then watched the next episode too.

Hope I’m ready tomorrow. Still need to pull everything together and leave by 1:00 p.m.


Daily Journal: Friday, 28 April 2017

Making my list and checking it twice. I’m finding that I go in “lock down” mode when leaving a city – especially one where I’ve lived for over a month. “Lock down” means I don’t plan many new activities and stay close to home and making sure that I am packed, no open errands in Budapest, and my travel list has been made. This guarantees a successful transition to the next city. The shorter the stay, the easier the transition.

On my list for today was to get a spray tan because I’m going to a beach resort in a few days. From there I stopped by a Vodafone store to add money to my Vodafone account so I can call my brother and finish our call from yesterday which was cut short because I ran out of money on my phone.

Nothing to buy at the store. I’m finishing up on my food supply and planning my meals carefully. I can always go by McDonald’s, my go-to place if I run out. I rely on the consistency of McDonald’s as I travel. Good to have a little consistency along the way.

Then requested my Airbnb flats for the trip to Dubrovnik. Both accepted. This was the last major item to confirm.

Still have chicken noodle soup to eat. Don’t have butter remaining for the bread, so using peanut butter instead. I’m getting this down to a fine science – using up my food supplies. Good that I like basic food and enjoy my cooking.

Tomorrow, I’ve made plans to tour the Hungarian Parliament Building early in the morning. Don’t know why I left this to the last day, but I did, so there it is. “Bob’s your uncle.” (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob%27s_your_uncle) I still use this phrase from time to time. For whatever reason it still make sense.

Next Star Wars movie tonight: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones


Daily Journal: Thursday, 27 April 2017

Looks like springtime is here in Budapest. Every day I seem to see more green and the weather is consistently warmer. A far cry from when I arrived around the first of February and found snow and ice on the ground.

Getting ready for the next move, or should say moves, that are planned for this next month. Looking forward to Ireland too and will be there in a few short weeks.

Did a little shopping today and bought enough food for the next few days. Got a ticket for touring the parliament buildings on Saturday. The garden tour scheduled for Saturday was cancelled, so had time to made other arrangements.

Phoned Cousin Donna and Brother Rick this afternoon. My conversation with Rick was cut short because I didn’t purchase enough time on my SIM card. I’ll top off my card and phone him again tomorrow.

Making chicken noodle soup (again) for dinner. Will watch another Star Wars movie tonight, Episode II. Nice to just relax and watch a good movie. Hope to make to bed earlier tonight. Have some french toast soaking in egg batter for tomorrow’s breakfast.



Daily Journal: Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Yikes! Almost made a travel mistake. Was checking over my itinerary and noticed I hadn’t booked a flight from Cairo to Larnaca. I was to arrive, I thought, in Larnaca on the 11th. I had already booked the stay from the 11th to the 17th. Given my choices of airlines, it would cost a significant (100’s of USD$) more to arrive on the 11th. Checking around and using some miles, I found a flight that I could pay for with my accumulated miles. Of course, it all depended on my Airbnb host being able to move the arrival and departure dates to the 8th. He was! Disaster avoided!  Lesson Learned: Check, check, and double check.

In addition, I did more research on places to stay in Dubrovnik. Now, as it turns out, since I need to be in Larnaca earlier I have more time in Dubrovnik. Was deciding on staying at two different places in Dubrovnik, now I can reserve both places.

Over the next couple of day, will be taking care of remaining errands before leaving Budapest. On Saturday, I’m joining InterNations people on a trip to the Budapest Botanical Gardens – which will take up most of the day since it is two hours out and back.

Tonight, I’m starting to watch the Star Wars movies. Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.




Daily Journal: Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Overnight I had an idea how to organize my travel in May. Start with the leg of the travel that I must confirm firm first. I had already confirmed travel from Budapest to Cairo (need to be out of this flat in Budapest on 1 May) and I need to be in Dublin on 1 June – so I found a good price on a flight from Dubrovnik to Dublin. Done!

Once I got that settled, I went for a workout at the gym. When I returned, I started to make some Chicken Paprika and look at Airbnb options for Larnaca (Cyprus) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Found a great place in Larnaca – just need to find one in Dubrovnik.

Tried a new method to make Chicken Paprika, which seemed to work out well. Looks like I’ll have this for the next three meals. After completing my journal entries and eating dinner I watched a movie and went to bed.

Glad when the pieces to my “travel puzzle” fall into place!


Daily Journal: Monday, 24 April 2017

Another quiet day in Budapest. Time to focus on my travels in May, which starts next Sunday when I leave for Cairo. I still need to confirm where I’m staying in Larnaca (Cyprus) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Whatever I do, I need to commit to plan by later today or tomorrow at the latest.

Just had a couple of errands to do today. Always a good reason to check out some new neighborhoods. One of the errands was to find a place to make a clothing donation. This would be easy in the U.S. or the U.K. because I’m familiar with the process in those countries. I Googled where I could donate in Budapest and found suggestions to contact a church with one suggestion about a location near Kalvin ter (near a Metro 3 station) that might have a place. And off I went.

As it turned out, I couldn’t locate the donation spot once I got there. Decided it was a good time for a cup of coffee. Saw a sign of a cafe that offered Illy coffee and went in there for a double espresso. Illy is my go-to brand when I travel, if I’m not sure what to order. Also, I purchase Illy when I’m in the U.S. or traveling for home use.

In this same area I found a pharmacy. This is where you purchase over-the-counter medication like aspirin or fill prescriptions. Places that look like a pharmacy or drug store will carry non-grocery items that you’d find in a Walgrens or Rite Aid. I needed to buy aspirin, Aleve, and Imodium (for my travels to Egypt).

Final stop was at the grocery for items to make Chicken Paprika tomorrow.

Now more research on Airbnb locations and plane reservations…


Daily Journal: Sunday, 23 April 2017

I must go shopping for some new shirts! That was the first thing that came to mind as I got out of bed. Spring is here and summer will be here before I know it. Plus, going to Sharm El-Sheikh next week, I’ll need some short sleeve shirts. After having some breakfast and getting ready I was out the door and on my way to Mammut Mall.

Once in the mall, that covers two city blocks on four floors of retail space, I had a good time walking around the stores. On one of the floors there was an event (couldn’t translate the name or why) of people putting using Rubik cubes to create a display. Each cube needed to be rotated so that it would fit the design. Then it dawned on my later that the inventor of the Rubik cube was from Hungary (Ernő Rubik).

I found a couple of light weight shirts at Marks & Spencer that I liked. Good to have something new to wear.

Got home in time to grab 40 winks and get ready for a chamber orchestra concert at 7:00 p.m. The venue was way out beyond the Metro system, so I got brave and hopped on the #2 line to the end and found the bus that dropped me off close to the performance hall. Having learned my lesson from prior adventures, left early just-in-case. And glad I did. The performance hall was in a community center in the Budapest suburbs. I saw at least one other person wandering around trying to find the building.

The hall looked like a converted gym, but had a nice stage and lighting for various types of performances. The following I pulled from the Spring Festival website since there wasn’t a program furnished with the concert.

Anima Musicae Chamber Orchestra
Venue: Corvin Community Centre – Erzsébetliget Theatre

Program Notes:

The Anima Musicae Chamber Orchestra was founded in February 2010 by students and graduates of the Liszt Academy. Its first independent concert was a sell-out event at Óbudai Társaskör. They have performed at such prestigious concert halls from that start as Budapest’s Liszt Academy, the Hungarian Radio’s Marble Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Kodály Centre in Pécs, and the Teatro Verdi, Sardinia.
They have given successful concerts in several cities in the country, being frequent guests of Győr and Pécs, as well as of the Brunszvik Castle in Martonvásár and the mansion in Miszla. Since 2011, they have regularly been featured at the Budapest Spring Festival and the Ars Sacra Festival, and have taken part at the International Kodály Festival, the Pécs Summer Academy, and the “I grandi interpreti della musica 2013,” held in Sassari.


   Ivana Stefanović: The Tree of Life
   Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D minor
   Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence

The encore was: Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni (one of my favorite pieces that I played on the piano)
          YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OvsVSWB4TI

The orchestra did a brilliant job and was glad I decided to make the journey to see them. Nice selection of music.

Getting back was fairly easy. Though was now dark and in an unfamiliar neighborhood. Just needed to find the bus stop to get back into the city. Arrived at the bus stop a few minutes before the bus arrived. Easy!

Got home around 10:30.

Daily Journal: Saturday, 22 April 2017

Woke up, drank some orange juice, then went back to bed. Some days I just want to be a retired person without a daily agenda. Later in the day I found myself texting with a friend and feeling anxious because the conversation was mainly a critique of what I’ve seen and where I was planning to visit. I explained that I was first a retired person who happens to be living in Europe and traveling. Enjoying my retirement is my primary objective. If I choose to make a trip somewhere, then that is what I will do. For me, retirement is doing what I want to do. Working for a company or being a volunteer – I had obligations to others. Now, my only obligation is to myself. I do what I want to do. Later, at a time of my choosing, I may want a part-time job or take on a volunteer position. First, I need to figure out what I want to do. Okay – think I’ve made myself clear. Good to put this in writing.

Chicken Soup

Homemade chicken broth, then add: chicken, carrots, celery, egg noodles, and seasoning.

Today, I did not want to work out at the gym. The only thing I wanted to do was make another batch of chicken noodle soup for dinner and enjoy a Star Trek movie later in the evening. Somewhere in the middle of this, I wanted to continue to explore some places to visit over the next few months, which I did. My major “a-ha” moment was a commitment to drive a car in Ireland – possible all the way around the island. Before today, it was just an idea. Now I’m getting serious. Was concerned about driving on the other side of the road and where the steering wheel and stick shift were located, but now I have no concerns. I’m just going to do it. There is also a stretch of road in Scotland that I’d like to try as well.

Now to figure out what I’m doing in May. I have confirmed plans to stay in Sharm El-Sheikh, another Red Sea resort. Then to Dubrovnik (Croacia) and Larnaca (Cypres) before being in Dublin by the first of June where I have a confirmed Airbnb reservation for the month of June through the first couple of weeks in July.


Daily Journal: Friday, 21 April 2017

Always nice to wake up, open the blinds and see sunshine. It is common in many flats in Europe to have exterior blinds that you pull down in the evening – and if the window is facing the afternoon sun, in the afternoon too. Some of these blinds are so effective, it can be nearly pitch black in the flat – even at noon. So if I’m in a flat with these blinds, it is generally a surprise when I open the blinds and see what kind of weather is waiting for me.

Not too much to write about today. Went to the gym this afternoon for a workout then to the grocery to pick up food for the weekend. (Many store are closed or are open limited hours on Sunday.)

Still has some leftover Skinny Lasagna soup, so had that for dinner. Took care of some paperwork, then watch the movie, “Being There” – a movie that I’ve watched many times. Then finished the last episodes of TNG. Tomorrow I’ll plan something else to binge watch on either Netflix or Amazon Video.


Daily Journal: Thursday, 20 April 2017

Good to be back in Budapest. Over the past few days I have experienced more rain than when in Oregon. Really! I’ve been lucky to have had nice weather most everywhere I’ve traveled. Guess my old friend from Oregon “rain” is catching up with me.

Rested most of the morning and then in the afternoon went to the grocery to buy the ingredients to make the Skinny Lasagna Soup. While writing my journal entry, I waited for the chicken broth to finish – then put together the remaining ingredients. Thankfully, I really don’t get tired of eating this healthy soup.

I took a quick nap before heading out for my first real European (or first rate U.S.) opera. This is true, I’ve never been interested in attending an opera. Sure, I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera and when I was with the Portland Chamber Orchestra we produced an opera, but never one the classics. Tonight I see Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”.

Venue: Erkel (Szinhaz) Theatre

Program Notes:

Hungarian conductor Henrik Nánási has been general music director of Komische Oper Berlin since 2012. His first production in this capacity was Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which was enthusiastically received.
Australian director Barrie Kosky created, with the British theatre group 1927, a special world for the production, which The Guardian’s critic described as “a mixture of Alexander Rodtschenko and Tim Burton, Charles Dickens and Fritz Lang, the silent films of the early 20th century and the comic novels of the 21st century.”
This production of Mozart’s opera was “the most exciting and most colourful premiere of the season,” wrote a reviewer, “as is evident from the fact that almost all tickets were sold for the season the day after the premiere.”

Link: Click Here for Link (Once you click on the link, find the video that shows a sample of the production.) All of the scenery was projected on a backdrop and the performers used the backdrop as a way to enter and exit the stage. Images were something you’d find in a Tim Burton film. Also this: Link 

Took a picture of the lobby and the audience. Was interesting to see there wasn’t a rush to be seated. It was 7:10 when the overture began to play. Once the performance started, the audience was well behaved.

I enjoyed the production very much. Think the art direction kept my attention and of course the music. The subtitles were in Hungarian and the opera in German – thankfully there were some German titles displayed on the backdrop that helped me understand the storyline.  There were three curtain calls. So glad I went and will try to see more.

A Sad Goodbye (Retirement)
It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my mouse. The mouse, along with my laptop, have partnered with me to create my daily blogs. The mouse clicker just wore out and needed to be replaced. While in Vienna, I found a shop that sold computer supplies and bought a cordless mouse.  This mouse I first used at work since it had a retractable cord and was smaller and therefore easy to carry between meetings. As I was writing this I realized I can’t throw it in the trash. I’ve now decided to add to my travel collection. The first picture shows the old and the new mouse. The next picture is my updated travel collection.