Photo of the Week – July 12, 2015

A dining experience

In the centre of Budapest, yet a class apart from the city’s ruin pubs and roadside restaurant-bars, the hall of the New York Cafe is illuminated in shades of gold by dozens of wall lamps and chandeliers so high that they might as well be suns.

Within the classical walls and beneath the frescos of the New York Cafe, I tasted what was arguably the best dessert I’ve ever had. This, despite my weakness for hyperboles, is not an exaggeration. I urge you—and not only those within earshot—to pay this wonderful establishment a visit.

Barrelled Thoughts #56 – Buda By Day; Pest By Night

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It took me more than a month to experience for the first time Budapest nightlife. I mean not bars, clubs, and kebab joints—although those, too, are aplenty—but rather strolling the city after sundown, after the darkness descends upon the ever sunny Budapest.

Certainly I’d been out in the city after dinnertime? Why, of course. But with sunset closer to midnight than dinnertime, I often find myself heading home at around 9:00 p.m. to rest in order to begin the next day with the same zest.

To stroll a city late at night, I believe, is what weekends are for.

For the first time since my feet touched the sacred land of the Magyars, I was out and about bustling Pest—east of the river Danube—ignoring bar after bar as I arrowed towards the waterfront.

At a night-time glance, Buda and Pest are to one another a contrast of what defines city and suburb. On one side you have Buda, which at night is inky, still, and calm; its only illumination the impressive Buda Castle and the majestic Matthias Church beside it.

Continue reading

Photo of the Week – July 5, 2015



A ferry passes under Budapest’s Szabadság híd—Liberty Bridge or Freedom Bridge—in the late afternoon. Ferries are a great way to tour the city’s beautiful bridges while also enjoying a cool breeze atop the Danube.

Liberty Bridge also happens to be one of the best places to catch the sunset over the Danube, which, during the summertime, can be quite a wait.

Barrelled Thoughts #55 – Balcony Baloney

Friday, June 19, 2015

It’s Friday, the third last day of the week and the final day of a productive work week. I’ve successfully adjusted my working hours to a day that begins at 6 a.m. and ends in the early afternoon, from which I grasped that a routine is easy to plan and even easier to execute, but it’s consistency that really counts.

If a habit takes 21 days to form, then it probably takes a tenth of that time to break it.

During Arsene Wenger’s 19-year tenure at Arsenal Football Club, the one word we’ve hear over and over in his pre- and post-match press conference is “consistency”. The man known as “Le Professeur” values above anything else the ability to achieve the same goals over and over again—consistently.

Despite what many view as almost a decade of failure for an obvious lack of silverware, Wenger’s overseeing of the construction of the Emirate Stadium—Arsenal’s new home since 2006—as well as his impressive record of bringing the best out of the players he has are immeasurable achievements, unquantifiable and impossible to correlate solely with the number of trophies he’s brought home.

Continue reading

Barrelled Thoughts #54 – Grand Budapest Hospitality

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I was told two things about Hungary before my arrival—both were wrong. By non-Hungarians, I was told that I would be arriving in a country filled with old-fashioned Eastern European ideals, and that the land of the Magyars was nothing but a landlocked, recluse of a state that generally kept to itself.

I wondered why Hungary gave off such an impression, despite my intention to stay in Budapest regardless, but then I realised that most of the people sharing these opinions had not visited the country.

While the country does indeed stand out in terms of its unique language and culture, being the only one amongst its neighbours to speak a Finno-Ugric tongue, which is one of the only languages I know that doesn’t use truckloads of borrowed words; however, it is by no means old-fashioned or outdated.

The university communities in Budapest are perfect for visitors like myself, who arrive with little or no proficiency in the Hungarian. The staff of cafes and restaurants communicate comfortably in English, which goes a long way to help newcomers settle in the country.

Continue reading