Alfonz and I dropped Angelina off at school by 9:00am and then we made our way directly to Toulouse.
It took us over 2 hours to get there, but I was pretty excited about the adventure I was about to start in Budapest Hungary, as an actual paid travel writer.
For years, I have been writing for free, getting my name out there, publishing different stories in different magazines, all in hopes to one day make a living as a travel writer.
My love for travel started when I was a little girl, and my parents took us to Europe to visit our family in Hungary. We also travelled across Canada, down the West Coast of North America to Mexico, and camped throughout British Columbia Canada. I was bitten. A deep bite that would eventually become my passion. The travel bug took over my soul, and I made travelling to new places my yearly goal.
Before each trip I researched by reading books on the area and even buying translation books so I could understand a few words during my stay. I talked to people that had been there before, natives in Canada that were from the country I was travelling to. I realized the best source for information was not the TV shows, or the pamphlets from the tourist industry, but the locals.
I have now thoroughly visited 13 countries. Not 13 countries in 6 days, or all-inclusive resort trips to Mexico or the like, but on foot, backpack, trekking through the streets travel, or exploring by campervan; staying no less than three days at each place or in my mind it doesn’t count. You need time to absorb a new culture, to get to know the locals, to understand the terrain that sticks between your toes.
We arrived in Toulouse, parked our car at the train station, and walked through the beautiful city looking for a nice place to eat. I looked up restaurants on Tripadvisor and found the Cafe Parisien where we had the most wonderful lunch. For 18€/each, we had prawn salad, duck liver risotto and a decadent dessert with coffee. I still had a few hours before catching my flight, so Alfonz and I explored the city on foot. This is my third visit to Toulouse and each time I experience something totally different. This time, I found it romantic, just the two of us, peeking into interesting shops, holding hands, and not having to worry about the children. They were safely back home in Capestang in their classrooms, working away at their school work.
Alfonz dropped me off at the airport around 16:00 so he could make it home to gather the children from our friend Marion’s house. It gave me plenty of time to check-in for my 18:35 flight to Budapest, Hungary, with an hour stop over in Brussels, Belgium. I didn’t have any luggage to check in, so I went directly through to the waiting area. After no hick-ups, I actually arrived in Budapest 40 minutes before schedule.
A taximan was waiting in the station just before I exited the terminal and I decided to take him up on his offer to take me home. What a lovely man and a great company. I ironically had him during my last visit, but he didn’t remember, which is fine, I can’t always be memorable.
Peter BODA Taxi Shuttle +36 70 41 18 15 7 http://www.shuttlebudapest.hu They offer discount and group rates, far more inexpensive than most cabs and he is a family man with mouths to feed. I highly recommend him to anyone staying in Hungary. Call him in advance and yes he speaks English, German, Hungarian and even a little French! You won’t be disappointed.
I was home by 11:30pm, just enough time to unpack and get myself ready for bed.
My alarm went off. 6:30 am I hit the ground running. I made a strong cup of coffee followed by a long hot shower to wake me up. I carefully did my hair using the straightening iron our property manager Daniel left out for me and put on makeup. I felt ready for my day in front of the camera. Not long to wait, the doorbell rang and the camera crew arrived. I buzzed them up, and greeted Tamara and Tamás the two director/producers from Umbrella Productions; the award winning full service production team who organized and managed the locations of the shoot, plus Norbert the freelance secondary camera man to get all the extra angels while I talk and Daniel the first cameraman who creatively ran the shoot for the video and sound.
Alfonz and I bought our apartment nearly eight years ago in the heart of Budapest, at a time when we felt that it would eventually be our retirement home. It was getting harder and harder for our family to put us up during our vacations, especially as our family grew and when we visited for 4-6 weeks at a time sometimes twice a year. Buying the beautiful Walnut Apartment, named after the road below, only made sense, and conveniently under my Nagymama’s home where she lived for over 60 years.
We started our filming day here, in the heart of my neighbourhood, Elizabethtown, the place I love the most, and to talk about the architecture and the history of why we ended up living in Budapest.
During the 30 degree perfectly breezy day we trekked on foot to ten different locations throughout Elizabethtown as I shared my favourite little cafés, pubs, nightclubs and cheap food spots. I took them to all the hidden gems only locals would know, but the crew showed me a few that had sprouted up since my last visit too. I talked about my favourite dessert places and shopping spots, and after twelve hours we ended up across the street from where we began; on the top of the Corvin department store to watch the sun go down.
All in all the day was pretty easy. The crew was very professional and super energetic. The cameramen were imaginative and polished, and the producers/directors were well organized and easy to work with. Follow the link here to see my work on the Air Transat Blog
This is not the first time working with a crew (having done reality TV three times in the past) but this was super fun for me because it felt as though I was hosting Canada while they visited my own version of Budapest Hungary as their Expat Expert!