6 December, Saint Nicholas Day

The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day, usually on 6 December, is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the Anglo-Canadian and British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. "Santa Claus" is itself derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas.
In Hungary children typically leave their boots on the windowsill on the evening of December 5. 

By next morning Nikolaus (commonly known as Mikulás in Hungary) leaves the boots filled with goodies (traditionally with candies, tangerines, walnuts, apples, dates and Santa shaped chocolate figurines), and small toys if they have been good. If they have been bad, Mikulás puts a bunch of golden twigs in the boot, indicating a beating is in order. (Most kids generally end up getting small gifts but also a small bunch of twigs.) There is no Mrs. Santa in Hungary, but Mikulás often comes with one or two small evil boys, called "krampusz."

24-26 December, Christmas

In Hungary the Christmas tree is decorated on Christmas Eve. In addition to the usual decorations, we also put fondant candies on and under the tree. According to the Hungarian tradition, the Christmas presents are brought by baby Jesus, although some families (who belong to other religions or atheists) follow the Santa Claus tradition, which was promoted also by the communist government that ruled until 1990.

Typical Hungarian Christmas dishes include: fish soup or bouillon, stuffed cabbage, roast turkey with stuffing, and the famous poppy seed or walnut rolls.

Beigli, the famous poppy seed or walnut rolls

The poppy seed or walnut roll is a traditional Hungarian pastry, mostly eaten during the winter holidays. It is basically a sweet bread, known as beigli in Hungary. During the last few decades other variants (such as chestnut, plum jam, prune, or even cocoa) have become popular, too.




The time has come. I'm  leaving my workplace  after 42 years. A well-deserved rest is
coming now. On Friday I went to work last time. I was really waiting for this. I
always felt, that  24 hours per day  is short  for me,  there’s always  something
missing. Now I can devote myself to my hobbies. I can forget about the alarm clock.

There is no need to travel on a crowded bus early morning. There is no need to go
shopping in secret during my working time. I don't have to do pointless foolish tasks.
Finally I can go to the swimming pool, I can deal with English several times.  I can 
write the  history of my family.  I can  do research  in the archives and go to
Transylvania. I'll  visit my  grandchildren  in England. And I’ll hike a lot.  For this it is
absolutely necessary to have good strength and health.

Long weekend in November

We had a trip  to North Hungary, among the hills of Cserhát for 4 days. Perhaps  it was  the last beautiful autumn weekend. In the mornings  was  cold  and foggy the weather  but in the early  afternoon it was 20 degrees and clear blue sky already.

 We walked for two days, and the other two days we went to the  countryside by car. Our
accommodation was a well-equipped, spacious apartment in a little village  called

The owners were a very pleasant couple. On Saturday, - after our arrival - we walked to  Hollókő. The path  was 13 km long. On the way we visited the castle as well.  

Hollókő is a beautiful, world heritage  village, there are  famous traditional costumes and typical palóc houses. 

Many  people walked on the streets in  the fantastic weather. We went back  to our accommodation by bus. We had to change to another  bus in Szécsény, so  we had dinner here. 

On Sunday we  looked up  another hike on the map to the Tábi reservoir. At first there  was a  good marked trail , but  the signs disappeared  later, so we needed  to navigate  with a map and compass. Fortunately, we  found  the  lake in a beautiful valley. 

Many people were angling  on the shore.

 We started back  in  another path ,  on the way we enjoyed the beautiful views and beautiful autumn colors. On Monday, we travelled to Mátraverebély by car, here we visited the old holy place Szentkút. 

We met many pilgrims. The next stop was Sámsonfalva.  we saw  an interesting geological

and the  nearby beautifully situated, small village Nagybárkány. From here we drove to  Alsótold, to the Bableves csárda,  where we spent some  time.  

After we came back, our  hosts  were waiting for us and we grilled in the open air.

 On Tuesday,  we stopped  on the way home  in  many small villages of Cserhát and we
 looked around, and then ordered a late lunch at the Lake Bánki.  It was a very nice
long  weekend.


Summer 2012

Usually I don’t  go  to holiday in Summer , but this year was different. I don’t like hot weather. Unfortunately  this summer there was tropical heat, the temperature  was often almost 40 degrees.

I had never been on such a long vacation, but in July.  I
travelled to Transylvania for 10 days. My relatives were happy.  We looked at  lot of nice places. 
We were in my father's native village, we visited 
former and new relatives, we talked with interesting 
and nice people, we looked at three castles. One of 
them was newly renovated and very nice.

The others were in a very bad state.

We had a trip along the bank of Maros River and to the nearby mountains.

We ate delicious, home-made foods. I found a lot of 
new information for my family tree. I managed to 
scan some old registers.

In August, we were  in Jászberény. Here was a 
Csángó festival. It was very interesting. There were 
many dance and music groups from other minorities 
too. For example, from Iran, Turkey, Slovakia, Serbia.

We met our csángó friends, who are performed 
also. From there we travelled further to Tállya 

We spent here  4 days in a guest house. The house 
was very nice and comfortable with a lovely garden.
 Under the house there was a wine cellar.

We got free wine each day and there was a wine 
tasting from 8 different wines too. We got  delicious 
and rich breakfast , home-made meats and 

The owner was a very nice man. We had a  trip to 
the hills and walked in the village.  Here we had 
some work,  too.  I have a missing relative. He wrote 
the last letter to her sister 22 years ago and it was
his last address in Tallya. We asked questions 
about him, we talked to many people, but 
they were reluctant to speak.  We looked at the  
house where he lived. He lived  at a  gypsy family
once who did a lot of nasty things. We heard that
he's dead, but he hasn't got a tomb and death 
certificate. Maybe he’s buried in the backyard or
he died in another place. So he disappeared without 
a trace.

In late August, my brother arrived from America. 
We travelled together to the lake Balaton  for one  
day and then for 2 days to Austria, visiting an elderly 
relative. At Balaton it was a very hot day and there
was a large crowd because it was a national holiday. 
The trip was very beautiful in Austria.

My relative's house  was 1000 meters high in the 
mountains. There was  fine fresh air and a great view. 

My  relative is 85 years old, but he’s in good health. 
Maybe I can go for more days next time.


Neil Armstrong dies

US astronaut Neil Armstrong, 

the first man on the Moon, has died aged 82. A statement from his family says he died from complications from heart surgery he had earlier this month.
He set foot on the Moon on 20 July 1969, 

famously describing the event as "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind". US President Barack Obama said Armstrong was "among the greatest of American heroes - not just of his time, but of all time".
Last November he received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest US civilian award. He was the commander of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. 

 More than 500 million TV viewers around the world watched its touchdown on the lunar surface. Armstrong and fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs. "The sights were simply magnificent, beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to," Armstrong once said.

Mr Aldrin told the BBC's Newshour programme: "It's very sad indeed that we're not able to be together as a crew on the 50th anniversary of the mission. I will remember him as a very capable  commander."
Apollo 11 was Armstrong's last space mission. In 1971, he left the US space agency Nasa to teach aerospace engineering. Born in 1930 and raised in Ohio, Armstrong took his first flight aged six with his father and formed a lifelong passion for flying. He flew navy fighter jets during the Korean War in the 1950s, and joined the US space programme in 1962.

Correspondents say Armstrong remained modest and never allowed himself to be caught up in theglamour of space exploration. “I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer," he said in February 2000, in a rare public appearance.
In a statement, his family praised him as a "reluctant American hero" who had "served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut". The statement did not say where Armstrong died. He had surgery to relieve four blocked coronary arteries on 7 August.


Museums in Budapest

The Museum of Applied Arts

The Museum of Applied Arts is a museum in Budapest, Hungary. The Art Nouveau building was built between 1893 and 1896 to the plans of Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. 


It is one of the most characteristic and most representative forms of Lechner's architectural style, featuring Hungarian folk ceramics, including Zsolnay pottery and majolica, also showing Islamic and Hindu motifs(another example of this style is the Geological Institute not far from City Park).


The Museum of Applied Arts has a rich collection of European decorative arts, arranged in the following collections: Collection of Furniture, Collection of Metalwork, Collection of Textiles, Collection of Ceramics and Glass. 
In addition, the museum has a public library collection. The Museum of Applied Arts has two branches: The Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts and the Nagytétény Castle Museum.
 The permanent exhibition, Collectors and Treasures, presents pieces from the museum's collection. Works of art illustrate the founding and history of the museum, as the exhibition deals with the most important stages in the history of the museum, beginning from 1872.

Art and Design for All – The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world’s leading museum of art and design and has been a near-inexhaustible source of inspiration, innovation and knowledge since its foundation in the mid-19th century. From day one, the museum was celebrated as an exemplary educational institution that reached an unusually wide audience. 
Not only did its collections help improve the aesthetic quality of British manufactures and industrial products, they also provided models to be emulated and acted as a school of public taste, educating the museum audience in matters of discernment and taste.
The exhibition Art and Design for All reconstructs the focus of the original core collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and sheds light on its innovative approach and its function as a role model for other institutions. 

The exhibition also presents the results of recent research into the continental roots of the V&A, which can be traced back to the ideas of Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a graduate of the University of Bonn, and the museum landscape of 19th-century Germany.
Art and Design for All showcases some 350 spectacular items from the rich holdings of the V&A, which is lending on this scale for the first time in its history. The exhibits are complemented by other exquisite pieces from other British collections, the Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum and the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. The exhibition will be shown in Budapest from 14 June to 16 September 2012.