Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Commute in the Life

A number of readers have commented that we always seem to be doing something interesting or visiting some picturesque locale. Some have gone further to ask, "Aren't you supposed to be working?"

Now, this is a typical example of selection bias. Despite the virtually infinite range of topics about which we might conceivably blog, most of our posts fall neatly into two categories: (1) interesting places where we've been, or (2) charming antics performed by Miles.

It's not that there aren't plenty of days when we don't go anywhere out of the ordinary or when Miles does nothing even faintly novel. We just aren't whipping out our cameras or rushing to the keyboard to record such moments.

In particular, I haven't blogged much about my job. That's partly because it's hard to take pictures of a flickering computer screen, and partly because I've signed an NDA. But I have been working here in Munich, and to prove it, I invite you to join me on that wonderous adventure known as my morning commute.



It was time to pack up and leave Budapest--which was no small task given our vast amount of gear.

Fortunately, Miles lead the way.

We said farewell to the Grand Hotel on Margaret Island...

...and took a final drive along the banks of the Danube.

The Boxing Day traffic was light, and we had much smoother sailing on the way back to Munich than we did on the way over. The highlight of our journey was a stop at Landzeit, a chain of Austrian Autobahn restaurants that we discovered on the first leg of our journey.

If a more splendid buffet can be found on earth, you would certainly have to exit the highway to find it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Budapest

By the time Christmas morning rolled around, Miles knew just what to do with presents.

Fulfilling my lifelong dream, the Falvys now own a ski mountain!

The Christmas festivities continued at my sister Eva's apartment.

Miles' cousin Dorka was there to greet us.

We enjoyed another sumptuous meal.

Nagyon finom!

Generation Y: Denes, Kati and Marci.

Generation Z: Dorka, Miles and Bogi.

Our gift basket.

The new dads.

The new moms.

The new parents.

Saying goodbye to Aunt Eva.

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Eve

As in most European countries, Christmas Eve in Hungary is a bigger deal than the following day. Is it all part of a sinister "War on Christmas?" waged by godless Europeans? Not really. They're just trying to catch up with Santa, who (like American states and their leapfrogging primary elections) gets a start on his work in Central Europe as early as December 5.

In any event, the festivities observed on Christmas Eve were sufficiently familiar for us to understand, yet offered enough variations to keep us thoroughly entertained.

Dean's nephew Denes and his wife Edina hosted the big family dinner at their new apartment in the Buda Hills. Here's Edina greeting Santa Miles as he arrives on the scene.

Denes and Edina's daughter Boglárka (Bogi) is just about six months younger than Miles, but already does a really good airplane.

Here's the historic meeting between the cousins.

Miles quickly made himself at home on the piano...

... while Denes and Dean (who conveniently--but occasionally confusingly--share the nickname "Dino") put together the Christmas tree.

Bogi and Miles continued to get to know each other.

Miles spread his holiday cheer...

... and enjoyed some time with his Aunt Eva.

Then it was time for the big event. All the children gathered in an adjacent room to wait... for what? We weren't sure either. Then finally we were summoned to march into the living room with the kids in tow.

Just then, Denes lit up the Christmas tree... with sparklers!

The kids were amazed by the spectacle.

Then it was time for presents...

... a ritual to which Miles needed no introduction.

The Little Drummer Boy.

Everyone enjoyed their gifts.

Including a few that were highly symbolic.

By their fruits ye shall know them.

Edina served up quite a feast.

Bogi had a good time at the meal.

And Miles enjoyed a few nibbles as well.

He took a bite out of a puzzle.

And then both kids were ready for a snooze.

After all, tomorrow's Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Making the Rounds

On Miles' first full day in Budapest, we proudly introduced him to most of his clan, starting with Dean's sister Eva and her daughter Kati.

Miles was jazzed to meet his new relatives.

We next paid a visit to Eva's mother Vera and her husband Laszlo, who served us a tasty lunch.

Miles was so excited we had to take him for a drive to induce a nap.

This gave us an opportunity to take in some of the sights, like Heroes Square...

... and the Citadella atop Gellért Hill.

Finally, we stopped in for a visit with Dean's nephew Marci, his wife Eva, and their daughter Dorka, who is about six months older than Miles' adjusted age.

Miles and Dorka were a little wary of each other at first, but soon became good friends.

Dorka even demonstrated her walking skills to an astonished Miles.

Then Miles started to become very attached to some of Dorka's toys.

But she quickly improvised a solution to that problem.