After a month in Belgrade, I can confidently say that Serbia’s capital is a great stop. I expected it would be a busy, dirty city full of ugly buildings. Instead, what we found was a very livable place filled with friendly people and dotted with beautiful parks. While exploring, we walked down numerous shaded streets lined with cute cafes. There were spring flowers planted everywhere. We even got our “pet fix” from the neighborhood cats, many of whom were happy to be on the receiving end of our love.
Novi Sad is a friendly city strategically placed on the mighty Danube. It has a long history, with records showing that people have inhabited this spot for 7000 years. Today, the city is Serbia’s second largest, with a population tallying a little under 300,000 people. It’s quite pleasant to explore, with dedicated car-free pedestrian zones and many separated bike lanes. It’s also one of the current European Capitals of Culture, so naturally Katie and I had to see what that was all about.
We just finished a great 3 month stay in Budapest. The city is quite charming and has many of the things we look for in a place to live. There is lots of green space, plenty of museums, interesting architecture, and street art galore. Even the day-to-day living costs were much lower than we expected. Budapest is an easy city to fall in love with.
Art in Budapest is not just limited to museums. Throughout the city, there’s interesting street art to be found. This makes Budapest very fun to wander around. We never know what we’ll find beyond the bend or on the next block. Between the great architecture, street art, and sweeping river views, we’ve enjoyed exploring over the last couple of months.
Budapest is a gorgeous city filled with lots of impressive architecture. We often find ourselves walking around in a state of awe, mouths half agape. There are cool old buildings just about everywhere we turn. And most of them have been well-cared for, so they still look how I imagine they must have when they were built.
Victor Vasarely is a Hungarian artist whose work is focused on visual perception and spatial layout. Some call him the Grandfather of the Op Art movement (short for optical art). He’s quite famous here in Hungary, with a museum dedicated to his art in Budapest and another in Pécs. Katie and I recently visited the Vasarely Museum in Budapest and found it fascinating. I love art that challenges my perceptions, and Vasarely knows how to do just that.
It’s been a few years, but we’re finally back in Europe. We arrived in Budapest on December 30th. This is the first time we’ve been to Europe as retirees, and our first trip to Budapest as well. The last time we were on “the Continent” was April 2018, when we spent 10 nights in Paris. Back then, 10 nights seemed like a ridiculously long time to stay in one place. Our perspective has certainly changed in that regard, as we now plan for at least a month at every stop. But some things haven’t changed much. We still like to walk around our city everyday, taking in all of the old Europe vibe.
2021 was our second full year as retired nomads, and much like the previous one, COVID made things challenging. Our travels took us to just two countries. We lived for months next to a Vietnamese beach that we weren’t allowed to visit. In the US, we crashed in spare bedrooms and slept outside in a tent for 30 days. Many of our plans revolved around avoiding people, receiving three doses of the new vaccine, and staying healthy. All were successful in that regard. We also managed to spend very little money again, albeit not without the generosity of our family and friends.
Downtown Louisville hosts a functional shrine to baseball’s past and present. The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is basically a mini Hall of Fame and any baseball fan will enjoy it. The museum tells the tale of baseball glory from the perspective of the bats used by notable players. Katie and I toured it recently and both of us enjoyed it immensely. If you can’t make it to Cooperstown, this could be the next best thing.
Katie and I just finished a refreshing two and a half week camping trip. We spent our time in what’s colloquially known to Midwesterners as Up North. In this case, I’m referring to Northern Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. We did a lot of hiking and bird watching while enjoying the fresh air and plentiful stars. And since we made it before the snow started falling, we could do so in a tent.