A hat full of years (Budapest - Spring 2013)
Another trip to Budapest - another chance to take part in the annual Hanami there, and also, just for this time, a way to properly celebrate my 50th birthday.

(among the other fine presents I got an authentic Hungarian hat, which I am sporting in the pic here, taken right before embarking to my plane back to Italy).


Despite a very late spring Nikolasz has managed to organise another fine event, this time we were actually able to practice outside, under the trees of the Botanical Gardens.
Apart from the ShoDo practice itself we were also able to try our hands at Sumi-e, and the event culminated with a two-authors Sumi-e performance.
(The gallery also has a few pics from a short Iaido demonstration)

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Ruin Pubs

These are characteristic places, mostly concentrated in the 7th District. The trend started sometime around 2000, when the first one (Szimpla Kert) was opened to the public. The idea is to get hold of an unused building (some Ruin Pubs have been set into abandoned plants, schools, or even former cafes) make sure the structure is sound, and refurbish everything in the most eclectic way imaginable. Bonus point if you manage not to have to identical chair in the place, and of course the more stuff you can convert for use (I have seen a cut-in-half tub transformed in a sort of comfy chair) the better.
They have an alcohol licence and usually at least some rudimentary kitchen. Music is always available (often live bands) and some can even show movies or provide other forms of entertainment.

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Hana Cha

While checking for this year's Hanami date I discovered that Budapest sports a Tea House called Hanami. Further investigation from my faithful local guide revealed that among the tens of different teas they serve a pretty original concoction: ちゃ (Hana Cha) - that is "Flower Tea".
Instead of dried leaves or fruits this one is prepared by taking a whole flower bud, and desiccating it so that it becomes a sort of small, dried husk.
By dropping it in boiling water it slowly (around 10 minutes) gets "back to life" and at the same time colours (and flavours) the water.

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Sightseeing in Budapest

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Food and Drink

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