The capital with the eye of an expat

Scary stuff

It’s the time of year when ghosts, ghouls, and goblins roam the fringes of reality scaring the living daylights out of kids and adults still in touch with their inner child. TV channels, movie platforms, and cinemas screen their horrors of horror. Christian graveyards the world over are at their busiest as relatives make their annual pilgrimage to visit their dead. Carved pumpkins decorate doorsteps. Black and orange bunting vies with fake cobwebs, witches on broomsticks, and floating spectres as houses, pubs, bars, shops, and cafés get into the holiday spirit, pun intended.

The capital with the eye of an expat

An opportunity to change

The villages of Bag and Dány in Pest County lie about 26 km apart, both a little more than 40 km from the country’s capital. Both have populations of around 4,000 with sizeable, segregated Roma settlements.

The capital with the eye of an expat

The only certainty is uncertainty

Well, the past couple of months in Hungary have certainly been eventful. The demise of the Kata taxation system has sent many budding entrepreneurs to the wall and killed the efforts of many more to supplement their already meagre incomes. The fall-out won’t be ...

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The capital with the eye of an expat

Who’s Margaret?

‘We’ve never been to Margaret Island.’ It was a simple statement of fact, not a complaint. My many-time visitors had never, ever, been down to Margitsziget. I’ll admit to being a little taken aback. How can you come to Budapest and NOT visit the ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Kids and what they can teach you

I have issues. My issues have issues. But I have no issue. Don’t you just love the English language?

The capital with the eye of an expat

Tut-tuts no more at The English Garden

Sam Cartwright arrived in Budapest in 2002 with two small kids and a husband. Fed up with life on the hamster wheel in Liverpool, she didn’t think twice about moving to Hungary when her husband, Andy, got a job at the Central European University ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Isten hozott

Many lifetimes ago in Edinburgh one Sunday, I made for the nearest cathedral to get Mass. I thought all cathedrals were Roman Catholic. I knew no different until the giveaway – the tell – that part of the service where I realised that the ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

How about them apples?

Way before I learned to appreciate a glass of wine, cider was my drink of choice. I’d get particularly excited when friends came back from Normandy with 750ml bottles of the local cider bearing the label methode traditionallee. Clear. Crisp. Delicious.

The capital with the eye of an expat

Buildings tell tales

I fell in love with Budapest the first time I visited. I was gobsmacked by its wrecked beauty, the vestige of former glory that still clung to the cracked facades and dilapidated courtyards.

The capital with the eye of an expat

A way out, one gherkin at a time

As we launch into 2022, I’ve shelved New Year’s resolutions in favour of what I’m calling life resolutions. Time has been Covidised. It’s taken on a whole new meaning. 2021 alternated between feeling like a month or a decade depending on my mood. One ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Giving without a thought of getting

This time last year the world (me included) was going mad shopping online. People seemed to be making a concerted, albeit subconscious, effort to make up for not being able to travel home. To reach out and be closer to friends and family who ...

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The capital with the eye of an expat

Where there’s a need…

One of the silver linings in this whole COVID-19 phenomenon is that we’re all slightly more aware of the fortunes and misfortunes of others. Life as we know it came to a standstill and is now limping forward, trying to regain some semblance of ...

Translating a need

COVID-19 has brought out the best in us and the worst in us. After five months of lockdowns and reopenings, be they full or partial, we’ve begun to adjust to the new normal. But our world is divided.

The capital with the eye of an expat

Ireland in Hungary

The internet has probably been the biggest game-changer for diplomacy since Lord Palmerston heralded the first telegram as the death of diplomacy back in the 1850s.

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The capital with the eye of an expat

My Budapest

Hardly a week goes by without someone asking me for advice on where to eat and what to do in Budapest. Usually it’s friends asking for friends or colleagues with different interests and requirements. In anticipation of a raft of questions coming as the ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

The only certainty is uncertainty

Well, the past couple of months in Hungary have certainly been eventful. The demise of the Kata taxation system has sent many budding entrepreneurs to the wall and killed the efforts of many more to supplement their already meagre incomes. The fall-out won’t be ...

The capital with the eye of an expat

Ireland in Hungary

The internet has probably been the biggest game-changer for diplomacy since Lord Palmerston heralded the first telegram as the death of diplomacy back in the 1850s.