Sunday, July 31, 2011


The children have recently gotten a family car and after more than a little effort Victor has become accustomed to his carseat ( I know it's like prison but it's the law)!
As the sky was clear blue and the breeze was brisk,it seemed like a perfect time to get out of the city and into the famous Buda Hills!
I am not partial to hills. They force me to walk tilted and they are likely to be nowhere near an ocean, in my experience, which for me is a prime criteria in picking places to go, But we are nothing if not adventurous so off we went to the hills

After discussing this or that unpronounceable possibility we decided to just drive to a place that G suggested for lunch and see if it would work for us. The kids were really good, playing quietly in the prisons, AKA carseats, as we found our destination
Gabrielle got out of the car,with Moe,( did I mention we took the family Havanese, Mosie, with us on this outting?) to make sure the restaurant was open.
As she walked away from the car holding Moe's leash, it was as though 1000 demons from hell decended on us. Miriam was screaming and sobbing and of course that set Victor off. Luck was with us and the restaurant was hosting a private party so Gabi and Moe returned before the kids set off sonar alarms. We were all really surprised at this reaction and guessed Mimi thought she was being left behind and her Mom was going to have all the fun. As Gabi got in the car, Miriam breathed a sigh of relief and with a hugh smile on her face overshadowing the tears, she said Mosie Mosie. It seems her concern was that her puppy might get lost and once she was assured he was his regular goofy self and tucked in at Mommys feet her world became round again!
We then set off for choice number two which I was not so optimistic about after the previous experience. We drove through beautiful woodland and hills dotted with 19th century restored mansions and hunting lodges and kind of turned onto a gravel path that might or might not have allowed cars. The reassuring sighting of a parking sign was all we needed to find a spot and unload and unfold us all out of the car.

A short walk of about 20 yards through a beautiful green glade took us out into a gigantic flat grassy area that was replete with kids exercise equipment. All kinds of slides and climbing nets, even a zip line that some of the Dads were trying out, filled the space. There was even a toy train you could ride on! We dutifully trod the circuit with Moe marking his territory and Mimi doing the same ( Just not in the same way of course) until we realised it was way past lunchtime and we were all hungry.
At the end of the gravel road we found a beautiful country inn with pensiones ( for future reference) and a large traditionally covered outdoor dining area, which coincidentally was right next to the kids playground. Moe settled in under the table to do his dust buster
routine under the Kids chairs and lunch was ordered. I don't want to dwell on food so I'll just say there was a 25 page menu and everything we ordered was delicious and plentiful.

It started to get a little chilly as we were high in the hills, but as every seat was equipped with a fleece throw/shawl we stayed warm and enjoyed the perfect October weather in July. We even had a delicacy for dessert called "Birds Milk with Golden Dumplings".That's worth mentioning because as Miriam is acquiring language skills in English she plays with sounds and one of her favourite recurring phrases is " CHICKEN MILK". Maybe it's not what Mimi had in mind but it was good enough for me.
So at the end of the day, we were full of fresh air and REALLY good food and happy to be together!
Thanks for the memory!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Well after much seeking and fretting about finding just the right place for Shabbos, a messenger was sent and guided me to where I needed to be. I shouldnt be surprised by this any more. Im just surprised at my self for my lower than acceptable level of emunah that it would happen.

Yesterday, as Jason and I were returning to his building we encountered a pleasant man with a nice smile waiting for the elevator.  The man began to play with Victor in English and as he had a kippa on, I asked him where he prayed. He told me that he prayed in The Great Synagogue, (Dohany Street Synagogue) and that Shabbos evening services were at 6 PM and morning services where at 9:30AM.  After I thanked him and went up with Jason and boychik, time got away from me when I was putting the babies to sleep  and I didnt leave for home until  about 7:30 in the evening.
Of course it was no coincidence that I ran into my new chavair coming back home. He wished me a good Shabbos and I told him I was sorry I missed Kabalat Shabbat. As he was so nice and since he's Jason's down stairs's neighbor, who I am sure to run into again, I decided to show my face at The Great Synagogue for Shabbos Morning just to be sociable.
Once again, as I approached the synagogue, a guard named Deja Vu told me that it was closed. I told him I wanted to pray and he explained that since he didnt know me ( and his eyes said "and you dont look Jewish") I would have to go through a security check, which I was happy to do. And I was certainly happy to comply with every request and any security precaution anyone asked of me. Im from the better safe than sorry crowd and now that I understood that they weed out the usual suspects by trying to discourage them from entering I felt a whole lot better about the previous weeks fiasco as well.  I think the fundamental difference between the 2 experiences is that the guard this week spoke some English!! A helpful tool for questioning English speaking suspects. But no matter. The sun was out and I happily entered what may be one of the most stunningly beautiful synagogues Ive ever had the pleasure of being in. Aside from the fact that everyone was seated on the same level, ground level, and I had no stairs to climb, I was simply overwhelmed at the stunning beauty of the place. (More to follow on the subject  at a later date)And again, by COINCIDENCE (HA) on the bima, in the rabbis seat sat my friend from the elevator, Jason's downstairs neighbor, who I later found out is Rabbi Yisrael Froelich, Chief Rabbi of The Great Dohany Street Synagogue, Budapest.  After I took my seat the rabbi, my newest chavair, caught my eye and mouthed "Welcome" or in Hebrew Brachim Habayim literally may your coming be blessed and I felt like this one really was.
As I turned around in my seat about 50 lovely,young women entered and filled in several of the rows of seats behind me. When they asked me for the page number I asked if they were American and they told me they were from Russia. My heart was so filled with joy to be able to share this time with them and be able to pray together to Hashem in peace and unity on this sunny Shabbos morning. There was also the woman and her husband from Englewood NJ. She had grown up in Budapest and rmembered when the synagogue had been used as stables for the third reich .May their name be blotted from history.
In so many ways and for so many reasons I was so happy to be there with such a clear awareness of being a tiny piece of a larger eternal, mysterious and sacred entity, The Jewish People
I know I will want to do this again and I hope that I can.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Over the last several months I've made a serious effort to shed some pounds for the sake of my knees and my long suffering sacrosanct-iliac joints (this was from spell check but I couldn't resist the truth of it!)I knew being in Hungary would pose a challenge to my commitment but,undeterred by memories of my dear mother-in-laws palacsinta (crepes) with ground walnuts and home-made Chocolate sauce, or "Golden Dumpling" cake with chocolate fondant and cream sauce, I was sure I could stand up to the challenge! Well at least most of the time. This was the land of the Famous Gerbaud coffee house,Dobos Torte and Gundels world famous restaurant, where when last we dined there, my late husband ordered not one, but 2 items from every course on the menu and upon retiring for the night told me he had eatten so much, the food was flowing to his brain when he lay down.
I was prepared to be sensible when it came to my daily encounters with the understandably world famous culinary traditions of this somewhat obscure Eastern European country,but to my great relief and surprise more than the politics of the old guard here have changed.
On my first outing of any serious challenge, I found myself in the food court of a mall with my kids and grandkids. The predictable offerings were McDonalds and Starbucks and maybe the not so predictable TGIF, but also GURU. Guru is a modern sleek chain of cafes that is meatless and prides itself on heathy and, dare I say, natural organic ingredients? REALLY? Really! Here in the land of carb overload where fat and potatoes are their own food group? Well friends on a hot summer day I had perhaps the most refreshing and thirst quenching beverage I have ever enjoyed, made to order from fresh lemons, mixed Forrest Berries and mint with sparkling water. Coming from a place where getting lemonade with no sugar either means squeezing a lemon into a glass of water or being served a mix with poisonous chemicals masquerading as a sweetener, I was astounded at how good this Guru was.
My drink was accompanied by a terrific salad and there was a kiddy corner complete with stuffed animals, paper and pencils and child sized table and chairs. All this and reasonable prices too. Couldn't get much better than this could it?

Well maybe it could?! Spinoza cafe, is much like the the great and heretical Jewish iconoclast of the same name. Spinoza cafe serves traditional Hungarian food such as the ever popular Goulash but also the equally popular, Hamburger and French Fries. Its not exactly this and certainly not altogether that but somewhere in between what could be found on someones grandmothers table and at the local corner fast food tourist take out. On Friday night,Spinoza also boasts a Klezmer band to give it that complete and rounded experience,which is part of its general overall appeal I think. The food is OK  for a commecial and trendy restaurant but certainly nothing I would write home (or blog ) about.

As so often happens, just 20 steps to the right of my doorway, is the often observed but never tried Godot Kafehaz. It always looked too local to try or to trust but the other night after a long day as I approached my doorway I saw the light still on and  realized that Godot is waiting for ME,

I had an incredible 3 course traditional Hungarian meal for about $20 including beverage, and was able to eat and enjoy with a clear consience, until desert. See Picture above.  This treasure is called Turo Gombosz or Curd Cheese Balls dressed in chantilly cream, wild blueberries and garnished with toasted bread crumbs and sugar.  I only ate one (REALLY!) and took the other 2 home. 

This was fresh authentic and delicious food from a chef who came out with each course to ask if it was alright and was there anything you might want with the next course that he could prepare for your pleasure.It was replete with vegetables from the local green grocer and cautious about the unhealthy and unnecessary addition of too much fat, carbs and sugars. This is what I had been hoping to find.  I was waiting for Godot and it was worth the wait.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


After almost 4 decades of traveling to Hungary for everything from extended family visits to sightseeing/culinary cultural overdrive, it has recently come to my attention that I can't speak a half dozen meaningful Hungarian sentences. Yes of course I know a couple of dozen words. I know MELEG from the summer of '73. We were staying in a 19th century flat with old fashioned floor to ceiling windows and 2 year old twins. If we opened the windows for air we had to put ropes around the kids waists so they wouldn't fall out the windows to the ground 3 stories down. We opted to keep the windows closed and I soon learned that "nagyen meleg" accompanied by brisk fanning motions meant its very hot.

Of course the fact that I never had anyone to speak with is not an excuse nor a deterrent. The party line has always been " this is so hard so let's just speak English" and so we did.

So I am now the newest and oldest student of the Babylon school of languages on Dohany Street. Through the iron gate, up 6 steps and then the elevator to the fourth floor where I and my fellows begin our unraveling of the problems created at the fabled Tower of Babel. ( hence the name of the school for those of you who thought it had to do with the Babylon of Talmudic fame

It isn't much consolation but I take solace where I can. One of my classmates,a 25 year old from Tunisia who's been here 6 months and doesnt know one word of Hungarian has a great deal more at stake than I do. He has a new wife and the need to find a job. I only have to contend with my own ego but each of us has his own dragons to slay. We conversed in French and he told me this is his second go round at language school. Doesn't bode well but everyone has told me consistently over the years that Hungarian is the hardest language to learn because it's not one of the Indo-European languages but related only to Finnish. Don't know how that worked out geo-politically but you have to play the hand you're dealt and so I'm here and determined to learn Hungarian. Our only other classmate is a 7 or 17 year old Chinese child. She is effusive and giggly and doesn't speak a word of any discernible language. When asked her name she shrugs and giggles. This doesn't bode well either.

I choose to remain optimistic. With all due respect, since it uses the roman alphabet, half the battle is won. There is the odd pronunciation of what used to be familiar vowels but this is balanced by no diphthongs.

Once I met a tourist guide in Morocco who did simultaneous translation in 6 languages. He told me that for every language that you speak you are able to uncover a different facet of the world. I've always remembered that and it has had an appeal to my curious nature.
But I think I am determined because everyone has told me I can't do it and that's reason enough. Also I think it's also a way of keeping my brain from turning completely to cottage cheese as I travel down Route 66. BTW, That's turo to all who besarol Magyar!!

I know how incredibly useless this language is in any practical utilitarian sense in what passes as my normal life but there are good reasons that spur my determination.
The first of these reasons is because I've been told so often that it's practically impossible.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Judka's Hungarian Plum Upside Down Cake

Gabi's Mom Judka's Plum Cake

1 kilo plums
3 deciliters granulated sugar( 1  1/4 cups)
3 deciliters flour.  ( 1  1/4 cups)
3 eggs
1 deciliter of oil (a littlecless than 1/2 cup)
1 pkg vanilla sugar (about a teaspoon)
1 pkg baking powder (about a teaspoon)
Cinnamon sugar to taste

Cut plums in half discarding pits
Grease baking pan w butter ( can use a pie pan or oven safe skillet)
Cookie crumbs sprinkle over butter
Then spread plums in a layer
Sprinkle plums with cinnamon sugar

Make batter from remaining ingredients. Pour over plums and bake at low 160 or 170 C
 (  325degrees F )
For 25-30 mins.
Turn out upside down on plate and serve warm.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Potato Kugel, Plum Cake and perceptions of Who is What.w

I woke up to a chilly, rainy morning today but eagerly dressed appropriately, in anticipation of my first Shabbos service here in Budapest. I had already scouted out the synagogue and knew what time services would begin so I wouldnt have a rerun of last weeks foul up. The shul I planned to attend is one of the great Triangle of Synagogues in the old city. It is the old Kazynczy Street Synagogue around the corner from me.

As I walked through the drizzle, I felt like the rain was washing away a lot of the old feeling of stigma of being Jewish here.There were 2 kosher restaurants flanking the main sanctuary which prepared prepaid meals for Shabbos and even if the street repair crew did stare curiously,at least it was accompanied by a nod of the head.( and did I detect the hint of a smile?)

As I entered the door way that was indicated as the women's entrance, I found myself In a grey cylindrical vault filled with concrete stairs leading up to the womens section. As I was determined to speak with the Master of the Universe, in his house today, I put one foot in front of the other and begun to climb. The first two flights of stairs led to two more which
led to the women's balcony. After tripping down an unmarked step in the dimly light foyer, I
finally took a seat and while catching my breathe began to follow the Torah service. I had my own Siddur and began to fall into a warm and welcome rapture that I often sense when having private intimate communication with my maker. I was happy that I had struggled up the stairs because what waited for me there was worth struggling for. Although hugh inside, (there were two additional balconies above where I sat looking down at the tapestry of shtreimels, baseball caps and black hats) Kazinczy is reminiscent in feeling of my bubbys corner shteible in South Philly. Its safe and familiar and I belong here. I know the tunes and the melodies connect me in ways I feel viscerally, to a past that lives in my communal memory and a future that I am committed to preserving for my children's children Here the ceiling and walls were painted in muted fading colors in tablecloth patterns that are symbols of the ancient and contemporary history of my ancient and eternal people.
So it was all good until I slowly and carefully retraced the four flights of concrete stairs in the ivory tower into the courtyard on my way to kiddush. A young man in a guards uniform came up to me and asked me if I came to pray. I told him I had and thanked him. He then followed me and told me I couldn't pray here because I was carrying a bag. I thought he figured me for a terrorist and offered to allow him to search my small bag which had my house
key in it. He then advised me that he knew Jews don't carry a bag on Shabbos, the implication seeming to be that since I was doing what Jews don't do I wasn't Jewish. Or maybe just not Jewish enough for him! This guard then consulted with an 8 or 9 year old little boy in a shtreimel and payes who told him that it looked like they couldn't get my prayers undone so I could go
on into the kiddush, which I graciously declined to do. After all if they didn't think I merited praying with them, they would certainly begrudge me their potato kugel.

I left and walked over to Jasons. We went to spend Shabbos afternoon with the kids at Gabriellas mom's lovely home and I ate and got the recipe for THE best Hungarian plum upside down cake I have ever eaten. It was again a wonderful Shabbos with my children but I was sad to experience such sinat chinam and lack of hospitality from people who should know better. During these three weeks if that's the best that some of us can do for achdut, the rest of us will have to carry more of the load. be kind when you don't feel like it and just keep perfecting your Ahavat Yisroel. Maybe this time we can get it right and all of us can know we contributed to building a dwelling place for God in our midst
I wasn't going back there anyway because I prefer my mechitzahs on a level playing field, but after spending Shabbos here I will certainly seek out a Chabad next week where even if I'm not perfect I am welcomed home.

Friday, July 22, 2011


It is almost Shabbos and I want to honor that here in a special way. Each day, on every path I take, I am reminded of the martyrs that died Al Kiddush Hashem, in what is now my neighborhood.

I read an article today by Rabbi Simon Jacobson and he said, apropos of an entirely different issue that "Jews redeem the negative not by running away from it or dwelling on it,  but by returning to the same spot where the damage took place - yet this time repairing the damage."

I hope my Shabbos observance in this place that knew so much darkness and fear for so long,can be used now, as a means of bringing light into this world and making it an appropriate place for The Master of the Universe to dwell " B'tochechem" amongst us.

With loving thoughts and blessings for a sweet and peaceful Shabnos to each of you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Left Bank With "Gypsy Jazz" et al

It is almost evening here in beautiful downtown Budapest and I am feeling pretty good tonight. The weather has changed for the much better and I have managed to get away from the overprotective eye of he who shall remain nameless and have gone for a walk through " le veille quartier Juif". No of course that's not Hungarian but it does give a little of the flavor of the place, if pronounced with just the right amount of " je n'sais quoa".

Windy narrow streets flanked by beautiful if crumbling facades, wearing incongruous garlands of brightly colored flower boxes above my head on rusting wrought iron balconies, have been rebuilt with lots of boutiques and cafes and young energy. I heard something that was described to me as gypsy jazz which I couldn't even begin to explicate, although I really liked it, even if I can't say why. I also heard Leonard Cohen played in the same place and that's the vibe here. I love the way this place doesn't feel like a Disney set. Even though it has much that brings Paris to mind, ( I suppose that's why it was called "the Paris of the east" in it's heyday) it doesn't have the sense of pretention that can only be found in even the most openminded Parisienne.

I managed to make it just down the road a piece and found a synagogue I was scouting out for ( more to come on this), as well as a really nice just opening little shop called Emilie, naturally owned by a really pleasant girl, whose name was coincidentally Emilie. She is just opening this evening and was greeting some women she knew in English. As she finished, she turned to me and spoke in Hungarian and after we both had a good laugh about how funny that was, she told me about her time in The city of the Angeles as well as in San Francisco. I told her about Miami and she started bringing out beautiful things that we both just enjoyed looking at.Her merchandise is all one of a kind hand made pieces by local artists and the prices are embarrassingly good.

She's planning on opening a small coffee bar and pastry shop so folks can just sit around and
enjoy being there.I think that sounds like about as good an idea as I can think of.
I know I'll go back and check it out. Especially since she told me I look young and artistic!
Spiky hair can get you anywhere. LOL

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bialystock Budapest and Borsht

My family comes from a little village in Ukraine called Dneperpetrovsk. It used to be called Ekatrinaslav when we lived in the neighborhood. That was before they murdered the last Czar and his family there. I've often thought of going to visit,but I've never gone.
On the other hand, I have once again come back to Budapest and if no one else wonders about what connects me here and has brought me back so often, I wonder a lot.

My first trip to Hungary was in 1973 with 2 year old twins. Not the ideal travel companions that one could hope for, but there was a great grandmother waiting to see her progeny so we traveled that summer so long ago.

I knew about shtetl life in Eastern Europe. I had heard about it all my life. I knew how another cup of water in the Borsht would stretch to make it feed another 10 kids. I knew about lox wing soup because lox fligels were throw aways and with a little milk and a piece of potato....well you get the idea.I had seen Fiddler On The Roof and read Shalom Aleichem but there was no one who would ever mistake Budapest for Bialystok!! This little Jewish farm girl had arrived in Oz.

My husband at the time was not known for reliable reporting on almost any subject and so I had always taken the stories, of his ancestral homestead being as big as a Fifth Avenue Astor or Rockfeller mansion, with a hugh tablespoon of salt. Well color me astonished when I saw that it was true. Even though it had been taken over by the commie bastards and broken into small dull flats for the workers paradise, the building was still known as the VARGA House. And it was a building. A full square city block earned through the hard work and success of the family hemp business with factories all over Hungary.

When my family back in Russia were stacking themselves like cordwood in bed to keep warm, wearing every bit of clothing they owned, my Hungarian mishpocha were stepping out in top hots and furs with modern cameras and luxury automobiles in the early 20s, complete with movie cameras to record and preserve their definitely NOT shtetl lifestyle.

At the same time, they were definitely and proudly Jewish. After emigrating from Holland 6 centuries before, Mikhail and Karolina Varga were founding members of the beautiful synagogue in the city of Szeged with their names carved in the handrail to the Bima and Mikhail's portrait on the wall as the first President of the congregation.

This was a Jewish I could understand. I could not only relate to this lifestyle but even aspire to it, while my own heritage was so far removed from my reality or anything I had ever known, that I began to feel closer to this urban, urbane community of city dwelling Jews than to the residents of the far away and mythical poor little village from which I could only claim roots but not an understanding or any insights into the life that would nourish those
roots into a flower.

As soon as I began to regard myself as one of These not one of Those, the looming shadow of the question of the slaughter of European Jews, mid- 20th century, that has haunted me since I
was a little girl and first knew of Anna Frank, began to become so much more personal for me.After all I was one of these guys. It's easy to understand, ( or try to understand) how poor hungry farmers, were able to be duped into walking into the gas chambers with songs of praise for the God who was turning his face away, on their lips. But me and my Hungarian solidly bourgeois role models? NO WAY. So my journey continues here and now to bring some clarity to the darkness and some understanding of the unimaginable.
Let's move ahead together to take the road ahead so we can have a better foothold from which to look back.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I found a new route today from my flat to my kids apartment and even though it looked a little hinky due to lots of street repairs happening, I thought I'd see where this path led me.
I passed my new favorite cafe, Spinoza, and saw across from it there was an open gate with
Security guards posted so I immediately knew there was a Jewish component to whatever
Was beyond those gates. No way I wasn't going in there to check it out.

I passed under the banner that I later discovered announced a weekly Sunday market in
the newly renovated area of the old Jewish market called Godzu Udvar. The contrast between the old and beautifully designed eighteenth century buildings and the modern hand crafted jewelry and felted handbags and accessories in primary colors was stark. It measures the distance that this area has traveled since it was home to pushcarts and horse and wagons at the beginning half of the last century when it was new and modern and now when the ghosts of past lives are visible in every reflection and quiet corners that still retain the energy of childrens laughter from long ago.

I also had my first Chimney Cake,up close and personal. Chimney Cake is almost the cultural equivelent of funnel cakes with an equally interesting method of preparation. It's a doughnut like pastry which is wrapped around a thick rolling pin tool and then baked in an oven.( which used to be a chimney that you stuck your rolling pin in ) When it comes out it gets dipped in your choice of vanilla sugar, cocoa powder, coconut or chopped walnuts or any combination of the above. I got mine tucked into a plastic sack to save for later which didn't turn out to be much later at all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


My first Shabbos in Budapest began with my plan to go to services at the local Chabad. I was so looking forward to meeting the community here and getting a sense of what's going on in town. With great care I planned my outfit. Long sleeved black outfit that would meet the requirements of modesty without crossing over into dowdy,God forbid and hat I would never wear at home.

I put extra effort into my toilette because my hot water isn't working in the shower. My landlord will fix this when he returns nextweek from his holiday in Lake Tahoe but in the meantime back in Budapest, a hot bath is only possible with the addition of several pots of heated water. The extra effort was no problem and I happily got ready to dazzle the locals when I arrived for the 10 am service. I left the hat home on in the end as I thought. I needed an encore next week it would be a good second act.

Although the route seemed to be easy enough to follow from both the Printed maps as well as my google map app.As I left my flat and tentatively turned to find my way, a man crossed my path wearing the beautiful flowing holy garments an observant Jewish man wears on the Sabbath. well if this wasn't a sign from heaven I don't know what else I could expect exept a burning bush which might not have been as unnoticeable on a Saturday morning in beautiful downtown Budapest. So I followed this man who could only be going where I was headed and he didn't seem to need to check the names of the unpronounceable streets and after a brisk 10 minute walk, I followed him past the guard at the door, (well it is a synagogue and Europe is still Europe underneath the clean up) up 2 flights just in time to hear the beginning of Adom Olam (Master of the World) the last prayer of the Saturday morning service.

It seems, that this Chabad did the 8am service and the one over about a mile does the 10 am service.I decided to go home. Maybe God wasn't sending me a personal message or a sign. Maybe He really thought I should have worn that hat after all.

As I walked back toward my doorway, I heard a familiar voice yell my name and turned around to find Jason with Victor on his way home from a walk. The sunshine was back in my day and it was quite clear where God wanted me to spend my first Shabnos in Budapest. My kids and I had a beautiful day together and added our own spin on a perfectly beautiful Shabbos.

Maybe the hat will have a redo next week. Well see.
My first days in Budapest left me with feelings that were really hard to put into words and sentences. The combination of jet lag and heat unrelieved by air conditioning left a hazy water color like vision that I wanted to share so that my fellow travelers could not just experience the places I went and saw but also the feel of them. A second dimension sort of to supplement the concrete.
Reflections on Budapest. My half closed eyes see the beauty of Paris stained with the crumbling ancient feeling of Venice. A city left for too long to keep herself in fading elegance in spite of a communist scourge that left beauty to crumble and culture to wither The mirror of time casts new light into dark corners. The resplendent past is gentrified into hope for a better future for a new generation of children.

ROUTE 66 ??

One of my most treasured memories is of a family vacation taken in the summer of 1962, when I was 16 years old. My brother Joe,13, my one year old baby sister Cindy, my folks and I all piled into our now classic 57 Chevy,which in 1962 was a risky ride and we headed west.

The road ahead promised excitement, adventure and new experiences in a place I'd only heard about. The name of the magical road that would take us there was the now fabled Route 66.

Every kind of experience could happen here. A revisiting of history, a reconnection with our pioneering spirited ancestors, (well maybe just metaphorically) and the danger inherent in crossing the dessert with 3 kids in an iffy (albeit soon to be classic) car with no air conditioning!

Route 66 held out my first promise of the thrill of travel into the unknown and the promise was fulfilled in adventures from the critter infested cabin in West Virginia to our first view of the Pacific Ocean

Now I'm on my personal Route 66. Having lived more than 65 years the familiar road side is looming just up ahead. And it holds the same promise of adventure and excitement and new experiences that it did all those years ago in that innocent time when all things. Were possible. Maybe they still are. Travel with me and let's see what we find.