Guess in which city I am right now!
I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since I last posted in this series. That tells tales about my circumstances lately. I’ve failed miserably with my New Year’s resolution of sharing more of my life here anyway – not that I don’t have a life because I rather do, but it seems I’m not good at getting personal. What I’m good at is taking photos of buildings and flowers, so this place has inevitably became kind of a travel blog, but without the joys and excitement of actual travelling. You know, something like an unofficial Budapest Guide for Weirdos (and for all who enjoy looking at dead butterflies and old medical instruments). This is a lose-lose situation, I’m afraid.
But there are still the small things, like…
…this super cheap waffle place and their raspberry mousse that tastes just like I remember it from my childhood.
…pretty bees on pretty flowers.
…doing small trips.
…thrifted summer clothes. Too bad I’m seven kilos overweight (oh well, waffle place, hello).
…the first outdoor swim of the year at Vadaš Thermal Bath in Štúrovo, Slovakia. (Okay, it happened more than a month ago. I’m actually writing this post since
years weeks. I hope one day – if life allows me – I can get back to real-time blogging.)
…going on a holiday! I haven’t been on a summer holiday since 2009 (ten days at the Bulgarian coast. I’m still dreaming about it). (I usually do budget travelling, that means Venice in February, Prague in October and that epic Moravian road tour in December. I haven’t felt a cold that freezing in my entire life than I did at a bus stop in Moravske Budejovice at 22.30 pm last winter.)
The river Danube forms a 143 km long natural border between Hungary and Slovakia. There are three bridges where pedestrians can cross over the Danube and pass the border: the Erzsébet bridge between Komárom (HU) and Komárno (SK), a (noname) bridge between Vámosszabadi (HU) and Medve (SK) and the Mária Valéria bridge between Esztergom (HU) and Párkány/Štúrovo (SK).
The Mária Valéria bridge was built in 1894-95, and was blown up two times: in 1919 by the Czechoslovakian army and in 1944 by the fleeing German troops. It wasn’t reconstructed again until 2001.
I started out in beautiful Esztergom, which is one of the oldest Hungarian cities. Its history goes back to Celtic times, and it’s also the birthplace of the first Hungarian king, István.
I walked over the bridge…
… while admiring the architecture…
…and some picturesque shadow patterns.
The basilica of Esztergom is beautiful…
…and so is the Danube.
I arrived in Štúrovo (or as it was originally called for some hundred years before Socialist times, Párkány).
Slovakian people are ready to give you some ancient life advice.
I passed the harbour (shall we call this tiny dock harbour?) and looked back at Mária Valéria bridge…
…and over the Danube. Hi Hungary!
… and walked over the bridge again. Goodbye Slovakia, until next time.
For the very busy June I had, I consider four books as an extraordinary accomplishment. Let’s talk about them, because that’s something I’ve never done on this blog before.*
Ambrose Bierce: Lügengeschichten – a collection of short stories. I’ve read Bierce before but his seaman stories were new to me. I liked them.
William Paul Young: Die Hütte (The Shack) – Okaaay… So this book is the reason I’m actually writing this entry. It was recommended to me by a German female protestant prison pastor, five years ago***, in Taizé. I was
armed prepared to like it. I wanted to like it. I really did. But I can’t help myself. I so hated this book I can’t even express my feelings about it properly. Because this book is just so. bad. Cheesy theology. Bad writing. Too much unnecessary emotions. Clichés with clichés all over the place. I mean, God as a big, good-natured black woman that sings religious songs? Jesus as a – surprise! – Jew with a – surprise!! – big nose? Is it just me or does this really hurt? Anyway. It is a bad, bad book and/or I’m a bad, bad Christian. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Arthur Schnitzler: Casanova hazatér (Casanova’s return to Venice) – I have a heart for everything (everybody) miserable, for broken things and for people who failed at life. Poor old Casanova, he was such a rat.
Pier Paolo Pasolini: Amado mio/Tisztátalan cselekedetek (Amado mio/Atti impuri) – The biggest part of this book I read while waiting at the dental emergency clinic, between 10 pm and 1 am. It definitely did not make those stressful hours of waiting for the inevitable pain any sweeter. Maybe I’m incorrectly influenced by the fact that I’ve never been a teenage boy with homoerotic feelings towards other, preteen boys, but I found the paedophilic aspects of this book deeply disturbing.
* I once had a literary blog to keep track of my readings (remember, those were times when I read 150 books a year. Now I’m proud if I get to 30). It had exactly two and a half followers and went down together with my Hungarian blog provider two years ago**
** never trust a Hungarian blog provider. Never trust anything Hungarian. Our biggest pride is still in our endless suffering about things that happened a thousand years ago
*** yes, that’s really the speed I’m accomplishing things with. I need five years to get to a book. You don’t want to know how late I’m with movies. Clue: I still haven’t seen Harry Potter 2 yet.