Random Saturday

these images are a few of the things that grabbed my attention yesterday

Three Days in Budapest & riding the retro metro

It was wet, grey, tiring and dingy in places. Not at all the way I’d imagined a January. I imagined it colder, much colder. However that is the kind of weather that awaited my wife and I on a recent short city holiday into Hungary. Budapest to be exact.

A cheapo Easy Jet flight three nights including breakfast at a reasonable price in a well situated and well appointed Hotel in the midst of that large city was just the thing.

Budapest as seen from a higher vantage point on the western side of the river Danube

Budapest as seen from a higher vantage point on the western side of the river Danube

Not that the weather where we live on the German side of the Swiss/French border was any better as we were herded through the airport gate like so much documented cattle. It could have been worse, much worse. The city could have been held in the frosty clutches of mean old man Winter. But it was not. And so a little bit of wet weather didn’t seem all that depressing when we stepped out into the Hungarian rain for the first time.

We arrived mid afternoon and  it being a Sunday and us not having planned anything touristically urgent as far as activities go, we located our hotel via our helpful little and later much used city/map book and my suddenly in demand sense of direction (albeit a bit confused with having to read/decipher a new language neither one of us was face with before). Then we set off and rather embarrassingly our very first jaunt  took us to a pretty big mall. Say no more, say no more.

January darkness fell more rapidly than we had anticipated and as the rain had let up a bit, we took advantage to look at the city lights from Margit Hid bridge over the dark Danube at the southern tip of Margaret Island. Nice.

View of Hungarian Parliament building on the bank of the Danube from bridge

View of Hungarian Parliament building on the bank of the Danube from bridge

going down to the retro metro on the transit escalator; we also went up these escalators towards daylight

Going down to the retro metro on the transit escalator; we also went up these escalators towards daylight

Very glad to have a guidebook/map along for this trip. Knowing and figuring out exactly where we were or exactly where we wanted to be/go wasn’t all that much fun all the time but it certainly made getting around easier. The locals we approached were very helpful when asked for assistance in either German or English. Thanks kindly you friendly Budapestians.

tourists looking at map books and waiting for transit salvation

Tourists looking at map books and waiting for transit salvation

There were tips on good eats in the guide booklet at several, actually two indoor market halls where various delectables from all over could be sampled and I had set my mind and stomach for an afternoon stroll of deliciousness in silly proportions/portions. I was really looking forward to the culinary experience and the usual list of local eats such as goulash and … well, goulash was the only culinary dish I knew of. But we were open to new things too. After wandering down a canyon of tourist shops lining the Vaci Utca;

One of the lesser shopping display along the Vaci Utca

One of the lesser shopping displays along the Vaci Utca

…pretty much all of them selling pretty much the same wares. Hmmm. At the end of that Utca we suddenly came upon the Nagycsarnok or Central Market Hall. Halleluja I thought; well maybe not thought so much as I felt something akin to that expression as we pushed our way through the heavy dirty darkish green woolen curtain flaps that separated the winterish outside from the warmish interior. Let the fun begin.

Inside the Central Market Hall where disappointment bit me in the ass.

Inside the Central Market Hall where disappointment bit me in the ass.

One stall sold fresh and colorful vegetables, the next sold honey, various sized bags of Paprika both sweet and hot along with different alcoholic souvenir bottles along with nuts, dried fruits and trinket sized wooden scoop spoons. Along the lines of ‘Souvenir’ accoutrement. Noted. The next stall sold meat: poultry, pork, beef, various cuts and meats in differing states of deconstruction depending on what the butcher was doing. These stalls also stocked huge supplies of the ‘Pick’ salami that I also was keen on purchasing to take back and sample in the comforts of home. These salamis came in different sizes and the different stalls appeared to apply differing prices for these same wares, depending on where they were located in the hall. The wife made note of that fact. Nevertheless we bought some. In a nutshell, a large market hall with many stalls but all stalls basically selling the same things. And upstairs arranged around the outer walls, more stalls with traditional embroidery and more tourist trickery. Bummer. The whole thing could have been condensed into four shops based on goods sold. Nothing for my belly other than a couple of excellent spicy dried snack sausages. We did not go into the basement for further my disappointment.

National Spice of Hungary is Paprika ... ok, so these samples had collected a lot of dust over the course of many years of being window displays.

National spice of Hungary is Paprika … ok, so these samples had collected a lot of dust over the course of many years of being window displays.


Nope … didn’t eat here. Why not? Well, the name implied certain culinary danger. No matter that the hustler out on the street touted the menu to be “just like your mother home food”.

We did however stumble across the ‘Strudelhaus‘ on October 6 Utca. Wow, who knew Strudel could be so good. This restaurant also offers other traditional Hungarian fare but we spoiled our appetites with mouthwatering late afternoon goodness. Absolutely recommend this establishment for a delightful and very tasty visit.

Below is a sample of the sights and personal impressions:


Parliament building besieged by constructionism

Solitary tower view point overlooking Budapest

One of the towers of the Fishermans Bastion overlooking Budapest

Bronze Aged Police

Bronze Aged Police on Zrinyi Utca/Oktober 6 Utca. Budapest

Wooden restaurant facade

Wooden restaurant facade on Vaci Utca


Post christmas blues in the city

from there to here (camera viewpoint)

Rokford restaurant on the corner of Honved St and Szalay St. Didn’t eat there either.


Seriously guarding the Hungarian Presidentat Sandor Palota

Looking across the Danube river  (beside the 'Chain Bridge')

Looking across the Danube river beside the Széchenyi lánchíd or Chain Bridge


Detail of historical graphic context


The unintended monumental asphyxiation of statues in an unnamed square somewhere in downtown Budapest


Two tram cars as seen from Vemezo Way


Yup Unicum … tastes exactly like ZWACK


Still in rail service to the nation at Nayugati Railway Terminal


Lonely morning street with retro VW bug


Cool colors and wheels


Dekagrams of decadent goodness

We can imagine how Budapest might look like in spring time.


tired tourist feet

Screen shot 2014-01-24 at 19.21.05

Good’bye’ Budapest. Thank you kindly for the hospitality.


wrong-way adventures on the M3 Blue Line to get to the airport


Captain, please start this engine for takeoff

iphoneographythis©2012, 2012©myronunrau

Spoons Are For the Mouth

iphoneographythis©2012, 2012©myronunrau

Spoon on Spoons

iphoneographythis©2012, 2012©myronunrau

Neatly Arranged

iphoneographythis©2012, 2012©myronunrau

Arranged Another Way

iphoneographythis©2012, 2012©myronunrau

Spoons at Angles

iphoneographythis©2012, 2012©myronunrau

Spoon Shapes

Seen While Out and About

©iphoneographythis 2012©myronunrau

Dandelion Flowers and House with Porch

©iphoneographythis, 2012©myronunrau

Exposed Wall Art with New Construction

©iphoneographythis, 2012©myronunrau

Comb crossing Road, meets Cigarette Butt

and then I saw these blossoms do their pretty thing … some residential streets in Vancouver are lined with these joyful pink cherry blossom chapels.

©iphoneographythis, 2012©myronunrau

Pink Blossomed Tree

Pink harbingers of Vancouver Spring

©iphoneographythis, 2012©myronunrau

Pink Tree Blossom Detail

So very briefly so very delightful

©iphoneographythis, 2012©myronunrau

Looking Up at Pinkish Tree Blossoms

Delicate Tree flowers

Canadiana 106

Canada is home to thousands of bears. From the black bear (Ursus americanus) so named after it’s black fur, the smallest of the bear family, the Grizzly/brown bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) which is frikkin’ huge large by any standard when up close or within sight, the Kermode or ‘White Spirit Bear’ (Ursus americanus kermodei) which makes its home in the temperate rain forest of the pacific coast and the Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) know for it’s white fur and love of cold arctic conditions.

Black bears are known to eat flora like  wild berries, grasses and herbs,  wild and orchard fruits, honey, nuts and various seeds. They also have a thing for other animals flavors, like fish both fresh and dead, stinky carrion, insects, small mammals and they find human garbage irresistible. Sometimes the best place to see black bears are the garbage dumps in most northern towns. They are very difficult to spot in low light conditions. If you should come across a cute little black bear cub, don’t try to rub its belly because its mom is probably close by and can’t stand it when that happens. As cute as the situation might seem, you are in danger of serious injury.

Black Bear Ursus Americanus

Black Bear Ursus Americanus - image from http://www.foxsdenlodge.com

The Kermode or Spirit bear is not often seen by people other than wild life photographers who live to bring back lovely images, loggers and fishing types and other locals where that bear is known to hang out.

Grizzlies or brown bears are bad ass. Their enormous size alone grants them special status and no one messes with them, except for humans with high powered guns. Hair color ranges from light browns to darker shades of brown to near black with silvery hair tips on some specimens. It is difficult to look away when you spot/see one of these beasts. Seeing them from a safe distance/area is much more fun than suddenly running into one of these giants on a quiet, suddenly much too remote trail or in a patch of densely wooded area.

Grizzly Bear Open Mouth

Pissed off Grizzly Bear - photo curtesy of animalscamp

The Polar bear inhabits frozen north. An excellent Canadian example is the area around the town of Churchill, Manitoba, acknowledged Polar Bear Capital of the World where they brazenly check out tourists and townspeople alike. That town even has a jail for these large white hairy ghosts and round the clock lookout for any sign of bears entering or in town. This bear will actually hunt humans if super hungry and/or seals prove to be scarce.

Sleeping Polar Bear

Sleepy Polar Bear - image curtesy http://www.free-predator-pics.com

Bears are not like cute cuddly stuffed Teddy Bears or the kind you see in Saturday morning cartoons or depicted in other popular children’s entertainment scenarios. But I bet you they would eat your porridge, hot, warm or cold.
Don’t jump up into a tree for safety if a black bear is after you. They are excellent tree climbers.
Know that a Grizzly has knives on his paws, long ones 10-13cm long. Those and a huge mouth can mess you up right quickly and you’ll likely suffer broken bones too.
Polar bears … try to avoid being stalked by them but be ready for trouble when in their backyard.
All bears are much faster than you imagined. Really.

The experts advise that you should play dead when confronted with an angry, pissed off and aggressive grizzly bear. Do you know why? My guess is that you might well soon be dead and perhaps this kind of prepares you for that. Kissing your ass good bye is also a good idea unless you are aggressive yourself and don’t want to go down without a good fight. Fighting a black bear might get you out of that particular tight spot, you might get lucky, you might not be so lucky. Pick your battle carefully. Sure, read up on what to do when in bear country, make noise, lots of noise, make yourself appear taller than you actually are, don’t turn and run and pack your trail bell or legal side arm/shotgun and/or bear spray, if it makes you feel better. Rumor has it that bears love spicy food.

Not proven if you can slowly move away from a Kermode bear by telling it just how cute it looks.

If you don’t want to play dead, have any means of defending yourself, have a dog along you might offer up as substitute sacrifice or forgot your can of bear spray and are hiking with friends, and still think you can get home in time to watch the hockey game, you can try running, you just have to be faster than the slowest member of your group. (Disclaimer – the last sentence is not to be taken as any kind of rational advice, or life saving suggestion, implied or otherwise)

Be safe, have fun out there and please don’t temp the bears with bacon smells, or maple frosted donoughts.