Budapest isn’t one of those cities you fall in love with straight away, in the blink of an eye, without thought or doubt or hesitation. When you emerge dirty and travel-worn from the mire of Hungarian subway signs, you’re not immediately welcomed with open arms. You’re treated with the courtesy and kindness that is due a guest – but you haven’t come to a city willing to throw itself in your path, the people here will not vie for your attention. Instead, when you first step out of the depths of the train station, they seem to tuck their chins a little deeper into their coat collars: there are too many walls to hide behind. Continue reading
This past weekend, thirty-five of us piled into a bus and drove for three hours deep into the French Alps for a weekend of white-water rafting and randonnée — hiking, the activity this part of the country is famous for.
If you go white-water rafting in this particular part of France, you will float along a river that winds its way through magnificent gorges and past the medieval ruins you can’t escape in Europe, but you won’t really be able to appreciate that because you will be getting pushed into the water every other minute by both the guides and your fellow rafters. Wearing the appropriate safety gear, you’ll live out your childhood dream of becoming a pirate. Yes, it was dangerous. But the air was warm and the waters of the Durance River were benign enough, and quite frankly the French don’t care. Continue reading