15 things I learnt about the Czech Republic

I’ve been to the Czech Republic only twice in my life. First when I was 12 and spent 3 weeks in Austria, I visited the nearby Český Krumlov and České Budějovice. Then a couple of years ago I went to see Prague. In these couple of days I grew to like this country a lot and I can’t wait to go back someday!

  1. The Czech Republic can be found in the middle of Europe surrounded by Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.
  2. It was as many citizens as Hungary (approximately 10 million people).
  3. Prague, the city of a hundred spires and the historical center of Bohemia is the capital of the country.
  4. Its currency is the Czech Koruna.
  5. Most of the country’s income comes from tourism.
  6. It is one of the most non-religious countries of the world.
  7. Although Czech is the second hardest language to learn, Czech and Slovakian people can understand each other easily.
  8. The oldest university of Europe, Charles University can be found in Prague. It was founded in 1348.
  9. Hungary and the Czech Republic had many mutual rulers while they were both regulated by the Habsburg Dynasty from 1526.
  10. Famous Czech people include Bohumil Hrabal, Franz Kafka, Antonín Dvořák, Alfons Mucha, Miloš Forman and Ivana Trump.
  11. Contact lenses and sugar cubes are Czech inventions.
  12. Czech beer such as Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser, Kozel and Staropramen are famous worldwide.
  13. Traditional Czech food include roast pork with bread dumpling and cabbage, beef stake tartare, fruit dumplings and deep fried cheese.
  14. The most common souvenirs you can find in shops are made from Czech glass or crystal, Mucha or beer related.
  15. One of our tour guides told us if people want to shoot movie scenes that takes places in Venice and want to spare money, they shoot in Prague. If the same situation happens with Prague, they go to Budapest. Hellboy, Immortal beloved, The illusionist and Casino Royal were filmed in the Czech Republic.

And Budapest again

I’ve been to Budapest again… 3 times in 3 months is more than I visit this city in a year!
This time I visited the Buda Castle region. It is located on Castle Hill and served as the residence of Hungarian kings from the 13th century. It is part of World Heritage Site.
In Castle District you can also find Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion, they are next to each other. Matthias Church (also called as Church of Our Lady of Buda) was built in the 11th century. It had to survive a lot off attacks (for example the Mongols destroyed it completely) and it had to be rebuilt many times until it became its final, Gothic styled form. It was named after King Matthias, the Just.
In front of Matthias Church, you can find Fisherman’s Bastion, which is basically a terrace that was built in neo-Gothic style in the 19th century. It gives a wonderful view to River Danube and the Hungarian Parliament. It atracts tourists even in the coldest weather. There is also the statue of St. Stephen, the first Hungarian king and you can take pictures with a falcon if you are brave enough.

Pay attention to how beautiful the roof of Matthias Church is and how many shades of blue Budapest has!

Hungarian Oscar movies

The last three years has been very exciting for the Hungarian film industry. Two wins in a row: Son of Saul won the Oscar in 2016 for Best Foreign Language Film, then in 2017 Sing became the Best live action short film. This year we have been supporting On Body and Soul. 

Mephisto /1981/
Based on Klaus Mann’s Mephisto novel, István Szabó directed the movie in 1980. It was shot in Hungary, Berlin, Hamburg and Paris. The main of the very ambitious actor, Hendrik Höfgen is played by Klaus Maria Brandauer. Iconic Hungarian actors like György Cserhalmi, Judit Hernádi and Ildikó Bánsági play the supporting roles.
Fun fact: István Szabó directed three more movies that were nominated for an Academy Award.

Son of Saul /2015/
The story sets place in 1944 in Auschwitz where we follow the days of the Hungarian Jew, Saul who is a member of the Sonderkommando. The movie was directed by László Nemes. He said in his accepting speech that ‘even in the darkest hours of mankind, there might be a voice within us that allows us to remain human’.
Fun fact: Although Géza Röhrig, who plays the main role in this movie has a degree in directing (he was a student of István Szabó), works as a corpse-washer in New York.

Sing /2016/
Set in 1991 Budapest, the story starts with a little girl who attends a new school and wants to become a member of the choir. The director, Kristóf Deák dedicated the award ‘to the only people who can make the world a better place for us, kids’.
Fun fact: the movie was shot in 6 days, but than it took a year to edit it.

On Body and Soul /2017/
Two people, who both work in a slaughterhouse start dreaming the same every single night. The movie was directed and written by Ildikó Enyedi and it’s triumph started with winning the Golden Bear in Berlin.
Fun fact: Its director hasn’t made a movie in the last 18 years.

Other nominations are:
The Boys of Paul Street /1968/
Cats’ Play /1974/
Hungarians /1978/
Confidence /1980/
Job’s Revolt /1983/
Colonel Redl /1985/
Hanussen /1988/

Basic muffin recipe

Ingredients for 24 pieces:
– 40 dkg flour
– 15 dkg sugar
– 1 packet of baking powder
– 1 packet of baking soda
– 1 egg
– 2 yoghurts
– 0,5 dl oil

What to do next?
Mix the dry ingredients first (flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda), then mix the moist ones (egg, yoghurt and oil). If you are ready mix the two parts together. If it doesn’t stick together, add some milk. After that add the same portion into muffin liners and put them into the oven for 20 minutes on 180 degrees.

While it’s only a basic recipe, you can add anything to it. If you want to make a chocolate base, add 3 tablespoons of cocoa into your dry mixture and sour cherries or raspberries. By adding 20 dkg of coconut grating and pineapple or peach, you will get the tropic muffins. My last favourite is with dried cranberries and white chocolate.
Your options are endless. Don’t be afraid to be creative and fearless when baking muffins. Bon appétit!

Favourites of February 2018

Book experience of the month:
This month I read Short stories: The happy prince by Oscar Wilde. The book teaches a lot about the true kind of human nature and every story holds a moral lesson.
Then I read Klimt: Women, that is a short book about the muses of the painter Gustav Klimt and women’s situation in the 19th and 20th century. I got this one from my mummy when she went to see The Kiss last year in Belvedere, Vienna.

Audiobook experience of the month:
Of course I followed Harry’s adventures and fights with Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It starts to make me feel sad that his adventures will be over in two books…again.

Movie experience of the month:
First I saw a very unusual family story of Winnie, the pooh’s writer, A. A. Milne, called Goodbye, Christopher Robin. I finally got to see The murder on the Orient Express! It was very monumental. I also saw a Hungarian movie, 1945. It’s about a small town, where one day two Jewish people turn up after the war. People have to face their guilt and re-evaluate their old decisions. Then I watched Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, which is about the psychologist who wrote the comic in the 1940s. It was very interesting to see Ryan Gosling in a sci-fi movie. Although Blade runner 2049 may seem slow, it really gives you a special feeling. But altogether my most favourite movie this month was Lion! Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman play the main characters of this emotional journey.

Cinema experience of the month:
Yesterday I went to see the new Marvel movie, Black Panther, introducing Wakanda’s king, TChalla played by Chadwick Boseman and his love, Nakia by the Academy Award winner, Lupita Nyong’o.

Series experience of the month:
I want to catch up with the 4th season of Gotham, so that is all. Seems like Big Bang Theory and Vikings went on a holiday. 

Travelling experience of the month:
I went to Budapest twice this month to visit friends! I always find new things to discover there.

Photography experience of the month:
The ones I took on my trips and some shots of my friend at Buda Castle. Can’t wait to start taking portrait pictures more intensely.

Photography exhibitions in Budapest

Attila Hupján: World shift
12.02.2018-04.03.2018. 10-18 h
K11 – Király utca 11., Budapest 1075

Looking at the world through a pinhole while it’s moving… This is how the artist got the amazing results of his photographs. By looking closer, you may recognise some of Budapest’s popular sights like Nyugati Railway station.
A room full of artistic wonder… – I thought when I visited the exhibition last Friday.

Sandro Miller: Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to photographic masters
28.02.2018-20.04.2018. 10-18 h
Műcsarnok – Dózsa György út 37., Budapest 1146

The main event of Budapest Photo Festival will be the American artist’s that commemorate famous paintings and photographs, only with a small twist, that is John Malkovich playing all the characters. Annie Leibovitz, Andy Warhol, André Kertész and Irving Penn are just few of the original people this exhibition pays a tribute to.
Can’t wait to see it in April!

Banana shake

Banana, ooh na na… Sorry, I just can’t get that song out of my head! Here is my banana shake recipe that only requires 3 ingredients!

– 2 bananas
– 0.5 l milk
– 2 teaspoons of honey

What to do next?
Cut the bananas into 1 cm pieces, than put everything in the blender. Told you it’s super easy!

Why is this banana shake great?
– since bananas contains a lot of calories compared to other fruit, it is a great choice for a healthy breakfast that will last for hours
– it only contains 3 ingredients, all of which are healthy
– it’s a great substitution for eating sweets