The History of Hungary in a Dozen Maps

Leer esto en castellano

After histories of England and Spain, here comes the history of one of the oldest continuously existing European nation states – Hungary. You know: one of these countries nobody has ever heard of.

The few who have heard of Hungary can attest that she has three claims to international fame:

  1. We speak an unspeakable language (one that no foreigner can master)
  2. The Ottoman emperor Suleiman, known to some misguided souls as the Magnificent, has been literally annoyed to death by the Hungarians¹
  3. Rubik’s cube

There are of course other things that Hungary can boast of: such as being the country with the worst ever hyperinflation in the world (1946), or, on a more positive note, having more Nobel prize winners, Olympic champions and even  chess grand masters per capita than most other countries… ²

But let us instead proceed to the maps!

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Lockdown Diaries: Day 45 (A Feast with Attila the Hun)

Locked Down in London, Day 45: Three extra hours per day

When I was not in a lockdown, I walked eight kilometres every working day (to work, back & to the pool) and swam about a kilometre. I badly miss the exercise but I figured that I now have three extra hours on every working day to do as I please. Which was putting the house and the garden in order, first of all, and then embarking on a translation of Hungarian historical legends into English for my children – something I’ve been putting off for years! (It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.)

And because Hungarian historical legends invariably start with the legends about the Huns…

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How to Live like a Local in Budapest (Summer Edition)

The Expat Goes Home

The trouble with being an expat is that you end up being a stranger to your own hometown. In your absence things move on; after a few years you being to feel alienated. The post How to Live like a Local in Budapest two years ago was born of the experience of visiting my own city with the eyes of a tourist: I was trying to show off the attractions – especially the unique ones – to my children. It was a wintery experience of Budapest, however, so today, you’re going to get the summer edition. If it’ll inspire you to visit one of the most lovable and liveable cities in Europe, good. 🙂

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge spanning the Danube, Budapest. Photo by Anon. via Pixabay.


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How to Live like a Local in Budapest

I just came home from home. The experience was slightly unnerving in both directions (as usual). To begin with, there was the inevitable confusion of languages: while at home, I tended to do it all wrong. I spoke Hungarian to Young Friend of the Elephants and English to my father, not to mention when I creatively mixed the two languages to the changing room attendant in the thermal baths. To end with, back home there was the immigration officer at Heathrow who asked cunning questions to find out if I was trafficking my child into the country to be some sort of a domestic slave. (She’s washing up after dinner right now but don’t tell that to the border police.)

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On Goulash Communism

I read some books set in the Soviet Union recently – one of them was absolutely brilliant and nothing much was wrong with the other one either – and it really set me thinking back about the times I lived under a communist regime myself. It was not the sort of communist regime that made life all that hard – it went by the name of ‘goulash communism‘ for a good reason – but still it made for a, shall we say, an interesting life experience?

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