- 27 Jun 2018 9:12 AM
Blue Guide Budapest, an in-depth guide to the treasures of the city, both on and off the beaten track, was published last month.
1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
In August 1992. I had been appointed Director of Studies at International House.
2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Yes, most of my life! I spent my childhood in the Middle and Far East and lived in Spain before I came to Hungary.
3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
I never expected to find it so hard to leave. I came with a one-year contract and have been here ever since. I’m very lucky.
4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
If it’s their first time, to get a full impression, the National Museum, National Gallery and a CBA supermarket. But that’s really only the beginning. There’s such richness here but for most first-time visitors everything is new and tantalisingly unfamiliar.
5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
I love the way produce is still properly seasonal here. It’s a fantastic progression from the time the wild garlic starts to appear in the markets in spring to the arrival of the medlars (naspolya) in November.
6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
In summer, soda water. For making fröccs.
7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
In summer, maybe fröccs. Or hosszúlépés.
8. What do you miss the most from home?
A couple of people I would like to see more often.
9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Anything that involved working without natural light.
11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
In Piedmont, Italy.
12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
It will be a staycation, at Lake Balaton.
13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
My favourite LP record, when I was 16, was Songs from a Room by Leonard Cohen.
14. Apart from temptation what can't you resist?
A second-hand bookshop.
15. Red wine or white?
I can’t possibly choose! The decision depends on so many factors. On warm summer evenings I can recommend chilled Kékfrankos.
16. Book or movie?
The film of the book? I’ve been watching quite a lot of those recently.
17. Morning person or night person?
In summer, morning. In winter, night.
18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
19. Buda side or Pest side?
I can’t answer that question either! Perhaps I could suggest a beautiful compromise: the middle of Margaret Bridge looking downstream.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
It’s never too late.