Copenhagen

Last week was the week of vinterferie, aka winter-break in Denmark. It means that schools are closed, daycares hold open with limited staff, most of people take off work and go on either a ski holiday, or a bathing holiday. We didn’t take off work, but as it happens my husband was recovering from flu, and I caught some cold, so we were mainly working from home. But we decided to take Friday off, and go for a mini holiday of 3 days to Copenhagen!

The most important thing Copenhagen has for us is my husband’s sister and her family, but we also have other friends there, and besides, it is a lovely city to visit anyways. Instead of staying at my sister-in-law’s, crowded up in their little house with our kids, plus their kids, including a small baby, we decided to book a hotelroom, and live like kings 😀

We stayed at Wakeup Copenhagen Hotel, which I can highly recommend to anyone, who is interested in staying in Copenhagen comfortably and somewhat cheap(er than the usual Danish prices), and close to the train station. Plus they have excellent breakfast… yummie. We had a family room, which really is two double rooms opened up together, and the kids absolutely loved the idea of having their own room with their own bathroom. In fact, when my husband for some reason decided to use their bathroom, he got told off by Cherry very bad 😀 But the best thing in the room for the kids was the view: right at the train tracks! They spent most of the time sitting in the window, spotting trains. And, yes, before anyone of you freaks out, like my mother-in-law seeing this picture, we checked a zillion times that the windows cannot be opened before we let the kids sit there, and yes, one of us was always sitting with them…

Trainspotting

We spent Friday afternoon at the place of our friends, where my husband could rest on the couch under the blanket, sipping tea, continuing his recovery, and the kids could play with our host’s daughter, and her very exciting toys.

Saturday we went to my sister-in-law, where I finally met my nephew for the first time 🙂 He is so charming and beautiful, even though he had a rough day because of an aching belly, I totally fell in love with him 🙂 You can easily understand why, if you take a look at his picture, here he is :

Here he is

See, I told you 🙂 We had a lovely day with them, a lot of talking, laughter, kids playing, walk to the playground, my sister-in-law’s fantastic cooking… I really hope we can see each other soon again.

Sunday morning we got up, Paddington demanded breakfast, so we hurried down to the breakfast room, then we checked out of the hotel, that made Cherry a bit sad, because she really loved to stay there. We had to promise to her to come back again at some point 😀

We made our way downtown, and took a sightseeing boat around the channels of Copenhagen. We were thinking a lot in advance, what can we do in a big city with two small kids who can only tolerate a limited amount of walking, and would like some fun experience. First we tought of Tivoli, but that is unfortunately closed until the spring. Walking the streets is not fun for anyone with small children, so we decided to take the boat ride, where we can be seated, while seeing a lot of the city, plus the children were amazed by the fact that we are sailing in a boat, and there are other boats, and swans and seagulls and ducks around us, and we are going under bridges.

So the boat ride was a great fun for all of us. We went through Christianshavn, which is a network of channels built by king Christian IV. following the example of Amsterdam.

Christianshavn

We also saw the Queen’s Palace, the Opera, the State Theatre…

Opera

… and the Little Mermaid.

The statue of Little Mermaid stands alone in the sea, quite a long walk away from everything else, and of course people are willing to take the long walk along the sea just to see her. Which is nice, because a long walk is very healthy, the landscape is beautiful, and the walk can be very pleasant in good weather (which is not common in Denmark). So they arrive there full of expectations, to find this itsy-bitsy-tiny-little thing sitting on the stone, and most of them get disappointed. Yes, the Little Mermaid is little.

I have only seen her twice, now and a few years ago, and both times from the back, from a boat. Here is the best picture I’ve got of her, even tough the boat went really close to the shore, and I zoomed all I could with the camera, this is the best I got:

The Little Mermaid

After the boat ride we headed home, because Paddington basically fell asleep sitting on a bus, so it was clear the kids had enough of experience for a day, and besides, we had a 4 hours drive ahead of us.

I can say we had a wonderful time in Copenhagen,it was a good bonding experience with my babies, getting out of the everydays, and I realised again, how fun it is to go to places 🙂

Beautiful Wien

On our way to Hungary and on our way to back we spent a few hours in Wien each time.

On the way there we only had 2-3 hours, so decided to concentrate on one thing, and that one thing was the Schönbrunn Castle. We have both heard about it before, and seen it on TV when watching classical music concerts from Wien – mainly at my in-laws. I can tell you this: it is amazingly beautiful!!!! Well-trained and traveled Japanese tourists gasped and cried out loud of joy at the sight of the palace gardens 🙂 I mean, just look at these pictures:

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It was a very nice, warm day, and the place was very crowded. I saw a lot of runners – can you imagine doing your runs in a place like this? I am doing mines jumping over horse- and cow-poop 😀

On our way back we had a little bit more time, so we hit downtown Wien. Starting with a lunch, visiting the butterfly house, dragging two hysterical toddlers all along the main walking street, climbing up to the top of St. Stephen’s Dome, having an ice-coffee, and finally taking a ride in a horse-carriage.

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Note: No matter how bad-ass you are, no matter how stressed and in late you are, if you get stuck with your car behind a horse-carriage, and a 4-year-old blonde little girl starts to smile and wave at you from it, you smile and wave back to her, always 🙂

Horse-carriage

Holiday at Balaton lake

Hello, I am back 🙂 I haven’t posted for about 2 months now, but I have a good reason: we have been to a fantastic 3 weeks holiday with my family, then my Mum came to visit us for an additional 3 weeks! And if I can, I rather spend the time with my family and live in the now, than write about it.

But summer is over, it is officially fall, and the temperature dropped significantly in the last 2 days. Rainy, windy, and I am thinking about turning the heating up in the house… :S

So, perfect time to review our summer, and post some sunshiney pictures 🙂

We have conquered the 1800 kms of distance between my new home, Denmark, and my old home, Hungary in many different ways is the last couple of years. We have done it flying from Copenhagen, flying from Billund, and driving the whole way, making breaks in Germany.  But this year we have tried something new: the train! Since we needed the car once in Hungary, the option of flying was not an option anymore. Driving the whole way is very exhausting, and with two kids being restless in the back of the car, we usually have to stop at least once for the night, therefore also quite an expensive option. But this year we heard about a nighttrain that goes from Hamburg to Wien, and where you can just drive up with your car, park it, then find your couchette, and comfortably spend the night sleeping, sparing 1200 kms of driving and gas.

Nigthtrain

The kids were obviously overexcited about sleeping on the train, and it actually went quite well.

Nighttrain

This way of travelling granted us the option of having a few hours both ways to discover the wonderful city of Wien, that I am going to have a separate post about 🙂

Ruincastle

After arriving to Hungary, we had 2 beautiful week at Balaton lake, which is also affectionately called “tha Hungarian Sea” by all the good Hungarians 🙂 The lake is huge, full of small villages all around, mostly holiday places. This is where all the Hungarian children camp with their schools in the summer. I also basically spent all my childhood and teenage summers by the lake. So it was clear that this year we meet up there with my parents, and we booked a summerhouse close to the lakeside. My brother came to visit us there with his girlfriend for a few days, one of my aunts came and a friend of mine with her boyfriend.

These two weeks were fantastic, the kids enjoyed it splashing around in the shallow water, playing in the sand, spotting trains that ran right outside our house, and being spoilt by the grandparents 🙂

Cherry in the water

Paddington in the sand

waterbikes

swans

For the kids’ sake we went to a Circus one evening. It was a great show for the kids, parrots flying, horses trotting, acrobats jumping up and down, linedancers, magician, elephants, camels, and lions. Poor lions… They looked beaten and drugged, but I guess that’s how it goes in a circus, terrible. But the highlight for the evening for us was when a horse with wings attached to its back came around. I couldn’t take my eyes off of my daughter’s amazed face, and she couldn’t take her eyes off of her dream of a pegasus coming true…

Cherry and the pegasus

One day my husband and I escaped the summerhouse, and went for a one-day-selfspoiling to Zalakaros Thermal Bath. We made some little calculations, and realised, that we haven’t spent a whole day together, just the two of us, for almost 3 years… So I guess it was high time! I can tell you that, I wouldn’t be sad if someone told me, I will have to spend the rest of my life drifting in the warm thermal waters of Zalakaros… It was such a relaxing day.

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After Balaton, we spent a few days in Budapest, at my parents place, before taking the train back, this time, together with my Mum.

Happy All Saints… or Halloween!

We are a bicultural family, raising bilingual children. We celebrate Christmas and Easter combining traditions from two country, and we also celebrate things that are only familiar to one of the parents.

Halloween is not part of either the Danish or Hungarian tradition. In Hungary we celebrate All Saints on 1st November, and the Day of the Dead the following day. Both days are spiritual and kind of gloomy. They are not the time for fun, they are time for remembering the lost ones. It is a tradition to go to the cemetery these days, putting some flowers on the graves, lighting some candles. It is a sad thing, sitting there, and remembering the people we loved so much and cannot see anymore.

Halloween is not a genuine part of the Danish fests either, Halloween is, as we all know, of Anglo-Saxon origin. But nowadays it is widely spread all over the world, also in Denmark. Yes, people carve pumpkins, put them outside their doors, buy the cute little decorations they can find in any supermarkets, some may even hold parties, with costumes and everything. Well, not in Hungary, I can tell you that… We, Hungarians, are a strange nation. There is this collective attitude in the air, criticizing everything that is different, new. Some people say, that Halloween, and for instance Valentine’s Day are stupid American holidays (well, not), therefore we should despise them, and stick to our old, gloomy ways. They even say, that Valentine’s Day is a joke, because you cannot celebrate your love only one day per year, you have to celebrate it every day! Sounds good, but the problem is, that usually they don’t celebrate it any day, at all 🙂 Yes, probably there were times when I was thinking the same. But a lot of things happened to me, and suddenly I found myself far away from home, with a new family – speaking a different language, having different holidays, different traditions, habits, food, mood, etc., still, welcoming me with open arms and a lot of warmth. I learned a lot in the past few years, and I am very keen on creating a colourful, multicultural childhood for my children. I want them to welcome everything with an open heart and mind. I want them to remember and cherish the moments of holidays and traditions of our home. I don’t want them to reject the possibility for a little bit of fun, and different moments then the everydays. It is ok to be gloomy, but I want them to celebrate as well, any time they can:) And Halloween is a good time for that 🙂

We are going to light candles tomorrow for the loved and deeply missed ones.

But I also did my best, to grab the atmosphere of Halloween, and smuggle a little bit of festivity into this average Wednesday evening.

We started by picking a handsome pumpkin in the supermarket (I know, I know, shame on us, buying a pumpkin in a supermarket, instead of growing it in our own garden 🙂 ), and then I read a lot about pumpkin carving on different forums, because I have never done anything like this before, and gave it a try. It was surprisingly easy to carve the pumpkin, I might even do it again next year 🙂

From all the flesh that I took out of the pumpkin, I decided to cook some pumpkin soup. I loooove pumpkin soup 🙂 I don’t have a very accurate recipe for it. I just throw the pumpkin, one or two diced potatoes and some diced carrots in a pot, pour so much water (or leftover chicken broth) so that it covers the vegetables, add some salt, and cook them nice and soft. Once they are done, I give them a go with my food processor, add a bit of cream, and put the soup back on the gas for a few more minutes. It turns out so lovely and thick and comfoting, and perfect with some fresh, warm garlic bread… (great, now I’m hungry again)

Once the sun started to go down, we put our carved, little, heart-eyed pumpkin outside, and lit some lights. (Check out or welcome-frog! 🙂 )

And we also lit some candles inside. On the second picture, you can see the results of my kids decorating skills, they had this concept of grabbing everything and misplace it. I tried to save the picture, though 🙂

Those funny little pumpkin-lookalike berries grow on a bush in our garden. They are absolutely cute and pretty, so I decided to use them as decoration. Does anyone know what they are?