The Return to Ózd
Around the two and half hour mark, the bus swerves up into the hills along a road locals call the “Serpentine.” It’s paved well enough – I’ve suffered terrible mountain roads in Georgia, Armenia, and Bosnia – but in a Hungarian bus packed full of people, some even standing, heading home for All Soul’s Day, it’s enough for me to reach for the Xanax. After a road like that, you hope to land in some hilly Shangri-La packed with picturesque villages, but at the end of the Yellow Brick Road you won’t find the Emerald City, but Ózd: a forgotten factory town. You won’t
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Tongatapu, Tonga’s Strange Little Capital Island
When most tourists visit Tonga, they blow through Tongatapu and make their way to Tonga’s picturesque outer islands. The capital, Nuku’alofa, itself is quiet to the point where in some parts, pigs and dogs outnumber people by a decent margin. My friend, Hannah, and I opted to spend our entire stay in Nuku’alofa to save money so that we could spend it on swimming with humpback whales. Since we’d only be joining the whales in the water for three days, that gave us plenty of time to explore Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island with our own set of wheels. Nuku’alofa itself
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Toronto Christmas Market: Holidays and History
Toronto is a fine place to be during the winter holidays – and one very good reason for that is the the Toronto Christmas Market.. This happens every winter from mid-November through just before Christmas, in Toronto’s historic the Distillery District. Modern day festivities are framed by Victorian architecture, which adds to the holiday atmosphere. We’ll get to that history in a moment, but first, the holiday events. They include A massive Christmas tree. It’s usually about fifty feet tall, and well decorated for the season. The tree is donated by Forests Ontario. A tunnel of holidays lights through which
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10 Offbeat Things to Do in Vienna
Vienna is a misunderstood city. It’s easy to write it off as bland; it does not share the grit and hedonism of nearby Budapest or the dramatic Gothic cityscapes of Prague. If you limit your visit inside the Ringstrasse, it’s easy to reduce Vienna to a twee cliche of Habsburgs, cakes, Mozart, Klimt, and Waltzes. I admit I shared this view and had little interest in visiting from Budapest (I made an exception to visit a friend for his birthday). Last year that changed, and I decided to pay a couple of visits to Vienna and a book proposal on
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