Hungary & Slovakia

Thu 14 Jul 2005

Done a fair bit of sight seeing including Bratislava, Slovakia (£10 return by train) and spent an extravagent £6 whilst there. Most of my fellow students have gone back to their teaching jobs, or are looking for jobs - 3 have already got jobs in Hungary including free accommodation. I feel quite relaxedly lazy - I expect I shall start looking when I return to UK this weekend.

Hungary pictures: HERE

Fri 8 July

Busy week relaxing. Visited a few historic sites across Hungary and briefly crossed int Slovakia. Heard about the London bombs yesterday (one of my "mates" has a mobile) - what can I say? no point in discussing it here.

Monday - 4 July 2005

Much to my relief I got through the course - I'm now certified once again (CELTA). Spending 2 weeks seeing BP (as I saw b-all whilst on the course), before returning to UK to see mum who is in hospital again. Hoping to drive down to Belgrade /Serbia tomorrow with with an Ausie from my course. It should be interesting as his parents are Croats, and he also has Croatian citizenship.

Budapest feels very safe, we had a night out Friday to mark end of course and I stumbled home at 3.40 am not really knowing where I was going. Late nights have continued since. Seen rain only once whilst here, and its so warm your clothes dry quickly (good job as I've no coat).

More observations on Hungary: Public Transport is great, my new flat is on a tram route with trams every 2 or 3 mins. These stop at midnight; but buses run through the night; and as a classmate pointed out, unlike London you can probably arrive at you destination without someone being sick on you.

Plumbing is crap - I wouldn't advise any UK firm to take on a plumber from here. People are v friendly.

Sunday - 19 June 2005

Well into the course now with odd days working till 3.30a.m.then up at 6a.m. to print stuff off at the school ready for lessons. But I have improved drastically and even enjoyed taking classes - have been told in week 2 feedback that I should have no difficulty getting thro' course. Though what is meant by difficulty I don't know as I have been working all weekend till 3.30pm Sunday and now have some free time! I've still seen little of Budapest, I've eaten out once at a self service canteen (authentic stew/goulash?) and been out for a couple of drinks twice in an after school rewind en route, but I have changed my mind you can live v. cheaply. Weather has been great, and the women look hot too – eastern women rock.

A crappy picture of half my course mates out for after school unwind:

12 June 2005

This is a cut and paste job from an email I sent my mum:

Arrival Sunday was straightforward – a cheap taxi bus straight to my flat door. The flat is large, but shite – I only have hot water in the bath, the cooker appears to be from the 20s, no grill or toaster, half the time the loo doesn't stop flushing unless I get on a ladder and get at the cystern. This may not be typical Budapest as 2 of the other 3 student flats I've seen are v. nice. My flat is in an okay location, its on the Pest side district 13 (about a mile half from the river and Parliament).

Its very easy to get around BP, I found the school (on the Buda side of the river) straight away (1 tube and 3 tram stops). What little I've seen of Budapest is very pleasant, the monthly metro/tram ticket was only £15. Prices are a real mixture - 2 large coffees, small fried breakfast and free internet access for £3 (I'm uploading this from there), fags £1.45, but takeaways are similar to UK prices and food seems v. expensive compared with the supermarket basics prices in UK (perhaps that's me as other students think its cheap). English to varying levels is commonly spoken in BP.

The course is brilliantly cosmopolitan, nearly all parts of the British Empire are represented. Apart from me there is a Londoner living in Wales, an English girl, 3 Irishmen/women, an Ausie, a Canadian, 3 Americans, an Indian, and 2 Hungarians. The course is taught by a New Zealander, a Scot, an Englishwoman, and a Hungarian. Just over half have the students have teaching experience, very varied backgrounds some have done lots of traveling, 3 are studying in Buda because they have Hungarian boy/girlfriends. Ages range from mid 20s to me! There are no relationship problems we all get on well.

I am finding the course tough, but I suppose the qualification would not be valued if you could get it without learning anything! I've taken 3 lessons another coming up Monday – the first was not very good but I've got better and I'm building up confidence. I have a big assignment to do this weekend – its a good job I've got my laptop – I'd be lost without it – there is a lot of paperwork to produce e.g. Lesson plans etc. Being honest I do wonder whether teaching is for me – or maybe it's the level of work involved.

The course is very cleverly structured – our lecturers teachers teach us using certain techniques/methods/games tasks/pairing up etc we then find we use the same methods teach classes i.e. we are taught about teaching by not only by the content of the lesson but also by the method we were taught.

I was intending to do a few pastiches on Hungarian life, attitudes etc but I doubt if I'll have time other than to say Lech Wallensa mustaches seem to be de rigeur for men over 35, and their rubbish bins have little cigarette end trays on them – its a fairly clean city. There also seem to be a small number of homeless who sleep in the tube stations at night, and the odd beggar or 2 in busy streets with collection cups – its a long time since I've been to London so I don't no how the capitals compare.

I would say goodbye in Hungarian – but I can't, so toodle-pip.