The wedding preparation

Have you seen The Big Fat Greek Wedding? Well, this story it’s kind of like that.

Woke up on the sound of a Hungarian folk music coming from outside. The family members, all the relatives, they are all here.  It has began!

First thing first, we have to set up the tent for the wedding reception. We are on a mission!

There is one thing you need to understand regards this wedding reception. This won’t be the main wedding reception where all the guests will gather, no, no, no…. The bride lives 150km away from the grooms home town and the main reception will be there. So why not one big wedding reception in the main hall you might ask, why a second one? The Big Fat Greek Wedding, remember? Except that this is not a Greek wedding, but two other cultures come together, you might find it similar, but still very different and they both have to keep their side of the traditions. I will cover more of this in my second blog post and YouTube video.

Mission one! Set up the tent for the pre-wedding reception at the grooms end. We all hop onto the tractor, went after this massive tent, put it all on the tractor, take it home and slowly set it up.

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Mission two! The decorations!

Part of the tradition is that we have to decorate the gates with green branches which I believe symbolizes new beginnings and prosperity for the new married couple. Somewhere on the arch made of branches we also put a sign welcoming the guests. The signs says: “Isten Hozott Kedves Vendeg” (Welcome dear guests! It is more spiritual than that, but I am not sure if you can literally translate it.) You will also find kids blowing up the balloons and hanging it all over the place and colorful crepe paper too.

Mission three! Prepare the food!

If you will ever end up vising Eastern Europe, you will see that all Eastern European cultures and traditions are all around food, loads of food! You can’t even imagine. Well, back in the days most of the people at the country side had a small farm, raising pigs, chickens, cows, sheep and so on, you got the idea. At the wedding preparation and usually around a big holiday, they use to butcher the pig or cow so they have plenty of food for the wedding or holiday. Some do this even today, who ever have a small farm home, but you will find that a lot of the people these days work in the city in an office or factory, so it doesn’t happen quite that often and they buy the ingredients or pay for the menu at a restaurant.  Well, this is not entirely our case! People still keep some of the traditions and bring a chicken or two, or eggs flour as a gift for the wedding.

Although we don’t have that big of a farm, we still raise chickens, actually that’s all we have these days and bought everything else, because the food has to be home made. That’s the proper way!

“Sarmale”, these are rolled cabbage stuffed with rice and pork meat, this is a must have! Mashed potatoes with pork and chicken, as if you can’t have a wedding without them. Meat balls, schnitzel, sweet bread, many many kind of sweets, loads of wine, beer, palinca(brandy) it all has to be on the table. When we are talking about that much food, you will find twice as much cook’s and even more recipes.

While the cook’s gossip and prepare the food, the man takes care of the wine and palinca which brings us to mission four.

Mission four! Have loads of fun!

The music is loud, everyone can hear the Hungarian folk music, everyone tastes the wine and they just can’t seem to be able to move on, but stop at wine tasting and singing old folk songs.

My next article will be about the wedding day, it will be loads of fun. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short video about the wedding preparation for my brothers wedding.

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It’s good to be home

This year I make 10 years since I am not living with my parents and 5 years since I live in the UK.

In 2007 I left my home town and relocated to Oradea, about 130km from home to attend University. I have studied and worked there for more than 4 years after which I moved back home for a short period of time and than relocated to UK.

I  visit my family every year for about 10 days. It’s not much, but having only 23 days holiday a year, I try to go a little bit home and in the rest to travel.

This year I decided to go home twice, for my brothers wedding and for Christmas. I haven’t been home for Christmas for the past 3 years and I promised my parents that this year I will spend the holidays with them.

Yes, so this is my home town, a small village known as Aghires (in romanian) or Egrespatak (hungarian). It is based in Transylvania, in the North Vest of Romania.

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It’s a small green gem at the base of the Meses Mountains, my beautiful home town.

I lived most of my childhood in this place and I never really appreciated it as much as I should have. I have traveled and lived in quite a few places, but there is no other place like home. It is good to be home again!

I hope during these few day’s I will be able to show you a little bit about our wedding traditions and show you around.

Here is my vlog about my first day home after one and a half years.

Climbing Ben Nevis – Scotland (1345 m)

arrived to BNCoventry – Ben Nevis, the journey that was ahead of me – 420 miles (675km) which might not sound that much, but when you are doing this road by coach it can take some time to get there. I believe it took 13 hours to get to Glasgow and from there another 2-3 hours to Fort William. Then from Fort William I walked to the camping site for about another hour. All together the journey from home to Ben Nevis was longer than my journey to Thailand.

Walking from Fort William to Ben Nevis was painful, because it was raining quite significantly. I had my massive backpack and a smaller one, so this 1 hour walk was tearing me apart. I did made it eventually, I arrived around 2-3pm, by the time I got to the base the rain stopped too, lucky enough to build up my tent and unpack.

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Once I finished my tent, changed into some dry cloths and I had to make some coffee because I looked like a walking zombie. I needed something warm, a bit of an energy and a good rest for the following day. MVI_3254.00_02_05_03.Still004

Despite the bad weather on the first day, I did go out to look around, explore the local shops and pubs. I had a drink, something to eat and finished my day with a good sleep. You know it is very interesting that it gets dark really late in Scotland. I think It was 11:30 and there was still some light outside. Only after 12am got completely dark and as early as 3:30 am I was able to see the mountain in front of me. A lot of the mountaineers left the camping site about 4am, because by the time I started going up the mountain, many already came down.

I woke up about 7 am, had my coffe, packed my gear and dry cloths into a waterproof bag and about 8 am I started my ascend.

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Every step I made towards the top I had to stop and I wasn’t because I was tired, but because of the beautiful landscapes. Every step up revealed something unique and amazing in the bottom.

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Half way through and kept discovering more cool places. I arrived to this amazing waterfall where I took a quick break and had  chocolate bar to keep me going. One thing I always get wrong is having enough water with me, this time I had only 1.5l of water with me for a 5h journey. I had no issues, but I did feel thirst a couple of times and didn’t have enough water. Luckily had some fruits with me too and it worked for the time being.

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The last half an hour to the summit was the most difficult one. By this time I was soaked wet, cold and exhausted. I was keep going and going, but still couldn’t see the summit. The path wasn’t visible at all anymore, it was raining, snowing and my body was saying, I can cant do this anymore. Keep going, you have to do this. This is all I was telling to myself.

I met a few people on the way which encouraged me to keep going further and also to stay on the track. At 1345 m I was still able to see some patches of snow and from time to time a few snowflakes coming down with the rain.

After 2h30min probably a bit more, I would say 2h45min I arrived to the summit, cause I left camping site about quarter to 8 am. I was so happy I made it. Touched the summit and quickly changed into my dry cloths. This wasn’t too pleasant. I mean only getting my wet cloths off was a challenge on its own and then bear the cold until I changed.

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The ruins on the summit are remaining from the Ben Nevis Observatory opened on the 17th October 1883, collecting meteorological data for 20 years on a continuous hourly basis. Now, there is an emergency shelter on top of the observatory making this the highest point on the mountain. In these 20 years the record they gathered are saying that there are only 20% chances of clear weather on top of Ben Nevis and 80% of the 20 years spent on the summit was raining and snowing. Consider yourself lucky if you had good weather on the summit.

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Climbing Ben Nevis was difficult, but rewarding in the same time. I am happy I have done it. I hope I will be able to do Scaffle Pike too one day and than I will have the 3 peaks conquered from UK.

Here is the video from my Ben Nevis Hike – On the top of UK. Enjoy, and of course don’t forget to subscribe and like my video.

12 hours layover in Amsterdam

What can you do on a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam?

We have arrived to Amsterdam airport after 12 hours of flight from Bangkok and we still head a lot ahead of us till our next flight back to Birmingham, United Kingdom. The city is alive all day and all night long, so there is a lot to do on a layover. We arrived around 7pm, so most of the museums and that sort of places were closed, but on the other hand the nightlife just started.

We took a train from the Airport to Amsterdam city center from where we walked next to the canals and got something to eat.

20785915_653727101501565_4482555370374849676_o The city can have quite spicy prices. I believe for a burgher and a coffee I payed around  25, well it is expensive when you are coming from Thailand. However, it was worth it, really really good food, with a nice view just next to the canals.

Right after we had dinner, the sun started to set and slowly became darker, the light turned on and Amsterdam transformed into an even more beautiful place. It also became really crowded as people started gathering for the Red Light District.

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Time flew fast, after walking around the Red Light district, canals, pubs and terraces it was already 2-3 am and we slowly went back to the airport to have some rest.

 

Amsterdam is definitely a place I would love to go back to and explore it more, perhaps some day in the future I will plan something to visit The Netherlands, but for now back to earl gray tea and the rainy weather.

My last day in Thailand

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Pfuu, I can’t believe it came to an end. Such a great experience, 8 full days spent in Thailand. On our final day we kind of slept half way through, to rest for the long journey ahead of us. It takes 13 hours to fly back to EU and then we will have an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam, but that’s another story.

We decided to go back to China Town to buy some souvenirs and try out some more street food, then end the day with our favorite Thai dish.

27In the markets we discovered a small place that sell deep fried shrimps and crabs. I have no clue what kind of spices they used, but believe me it was really tasty. I stuffed my face with it, probably had a thousand calories, but I could have two of those bags of shrimps anytime, its that good.

Once we have done our shopping ended up at a terrace having our last Thai dish for dinner. I got my self a classic chicken Pad Thai and a Green Curry with quite of a heavy spicy punch. I could have this everyday, any-day, no problem at all.

Ahh, I miss Thailand! I want to travel more!!! This was too short!

Guy’s I hope you enjoyed my little journey to Thailand, places and food I tasted. I have a few more surprises for you from my Thai trip so don’t forget to follow my blog, YouTube channel and stay in touch.

Thank you once again for passing by.

China town, sky bars and a crazy night life in Bangkok

Once you enter into China town in Bangkok, you feel you are in a completely different country. Suddenly everything seems to be more crowded, Chinese writings and signs everywhere you look, mmm the smell, smells good, food, uuh, food stalls everywhere you turn. Roasted ducks hanging every 2 steps, deep fried fish, shrimps, crabs, shrimp flakes in small and big begs…If I would wake up in this place without knowing the fact that I am in Bangkok, I would totally think of Hong Kong or somewhere in China.

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Together with Ciprian walked all of the markets in China town, just roaming around, hoping o find something interesting. From what we could see, you can find what every you wish for here. Food, cloths, ceramics, souvenirs, ingredients from A to Z.

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While roaming around, I spotted a local Chinese lady ordering some roasted duck Wonton noodles from a fast food in the middle of the market. I got a bit closer and prepared myself to take a few pictures of the scene. Once I took the pictures she approached me and recommended the place, a must try she said. It did smell good so we went inside and ordered a few dishes.

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After China town, we went back to our hotel, changed and went into the city, the new town of Bangkok. It looks so much different from the old town, packed with shopping malls and sky trains. We went up to one of these sky bars called Vertigo where we ordered 2 cocktails and enjoyed the jaw-dropping scenery of the night city.

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The drinks costed us £10 – £12 each, but it was worth it. We tried drinking our cocktails as slow as possible, but eventually did ended and left.

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It was still early in the evening, so decided to go back to Kao San road for a little bit of craziness. As promised, I did get a bigger scorpion and eat it. This time it was much more difficult to eat, much more hairy, haha, dry, but still really oily. It wasn’t great, but anyhow, it was fun!

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Kao San at night is crazy, live music everywhere, people dancing on the streets, all sort of crazy promotions, loads of booze and beer with the bucket!

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Loved the fullness of the day, the diversity, from Thai to Chinese, from old to new, from expensive to cheap, yepp! a really good day.

I cant believe it, I am getting to the end of this amazing Thai journey. My next blog will be with our last day in Thailand, after which we will continue our journey to the Netherlands and than fly back to the UK.

If you are enjoying these little vlogs and blogs about my adventures, make sure to follow this blog and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Thank you.

Thailand’s most beautiful temples

It is our 7th day in Thailand, we are back in Bangkok and it’s time to visit the beautiful temples the city has to offer.

It is 35C outside with an 80% humidity and we have a lot to do today. There is no such a thing as waking up early in the morning to skip the heat. As soon as the sun rises it’s boiling hot and there’s not much you can do about it. On top of the heat, by the time we arrive to the Grand Palace, we realized that we cant go into the palace in shorts. It was too much of a journey to go back and change so we had to buy some pants at the entrance. It looked hideous  and cost us about £8, so hear is a lesson for you, when visiting the grand palace, don’t go in shorts.

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The palace is amazing, it is spread across an area of 218,400 square metres. This means you can spend easily a couple of hours roaming around and admiring the architecture, art, history, temples and finding your way among thousand of tourists walking in and out from the palace.

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Wat Arun – another beautiful place, unfortunately under construction and we were unable to climb the stairs, but surely it was worth a visit.

Despite the heat, we kept going and visited the reclining Buddha which is a 46m golden plated Buddha in a temple. That’s all it’s there to see, but the size is mind blowing.

The entrance was £2 which included a small bottle of cold water.

Once we visited the temples, we took a break to cool down and to grab something too eat. We went into the market next to the temple and had some banana pancake, mangosteens and other snacks, aaah I really miss those threats.

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It was a really long day, so I divided my vlog into 2 parts. This one is about the temples and the grand palace. The 2nd part will be about China Town, eating some crazy snacks and then in the evening looking down the city from one of the sky-bars in Bangkok.

Good stuff coming up, so stay tuned and enjoy the video.

From fries to flys, bugs and scorpions

It is our last day in Phuket and we are trying to get the most out of this place. The waves are way to big to have a swim so we are sitting on log and watch the waves and people passing by on the beach.

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Ahead of us is a couple wanting to try out parasailing and we are curiously following the entire process. We realize quick enough that this sport or what ever it is, it’s quite dangerous and I admire their courage for doing it. What shocked both of us was the pilot of the parachute was simply hanging on the ropes without any strings attached, not that’s crazy!

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After spending enough time on the beach we went into a fast food just next to us and had some chicken fingers and fries, because we did miss a bit of a western food.

Later on in the evening we flew back to Bangkok and spent the rest of the evening on Khao San road.

The streets are always crazy in the evening, people dancing all over the place, loads of street food, loads of music bands and booze.

Not much of a dancer myself, so though of trying out some of these weird foods on the street. Got myself a scorpion, grasshopper and a fat cricket. All cost’s around 120 THB which is not more than £3.

Now, what can I say about the taste? Well, they spice the bugs up quite nicely. Salt, pepper, soy sauce and some other spices, so the taste is not bad at all. The texture, well this is another story. It is deep fried and they fry the hell out of them, so when you put it in your mouth it is really dry and hard to swallow. There is not much to chew either, because all of these bugs have quite of a shell on their body. When you start chewing, it is really crunchy, you feel the legs, wings, body shell and their head popping in your mouth.

It is a great experience though and I would totally commander it at least once.

We are going to visit the temples and the grand palace in the following day and more crazy street food.

Motorbike Riding Around Phuket

If you want to do something crazy, fun, memorable and not invest too much money in it, here is what you have to do:

Wherever you are in Thailand, rent a bike and go crazy. It will cost you around £6 / day plus gas which is another £2 and you will have loads of fun. We did the same, instead of taking a shuttle or taxi to the Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket we rented a bike and went up and down the mountain with it. High adrenaline for sure, scary as hell driving in the most crowded place on earth but surely loads of fun.

Check out the video, see the places we visited with the bike. You can see on my face that I had several moment when I was really really scared, but maan, these are some great memories.

The video is quit long as it is almost the full length of the journey, if this is your thing, enjoy a goo ride.

My brothers groom preparation

The brotherhood and friendship with my brother was always really close and strong. I can say we lived together our entire life. In our childhood we shared the same room, the same bed, even after going to university we ended up sharing the same dorm and food.

When we relocated from our hometown to Oradea, where we studied, my brother met a wonderful person who became part of our brotherhood and now became his wife.

I believe we formed a strong family rounded friendship, been there for each other in good, bad and always.

Until recently we all lived together in the UK sharing moments of happiness and struggles.

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Now, they are one and a new journey rises ahead of them. Wish you both health, happiness and peace for your marriage.

It was a great pleasure to be at their wedding last weekend and to have the honer to shoot my brothers wedding preparation. The bellow footage is just a short video about the groom preparation and I will follow this up in the coming weeks with the wedding preparation too.