S. Rabbani: literary fiction, instructional articles, essays & translations
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From Hungary (Budapest II), Slovakia (Vysoké Tatry), Poland (Kraków, Auschwitz, Warszawa)

By Sahand Rabbani


from Budapest II: A Magyar city


Dear Friends,

These four nights in Budapest have reaffirmed my positive feelings toward the city, debuting almost two and a half years ago in "from Budapest." I revisited my favorite goulash joint, Parázs Presszó, an unlikely Thai-Hungarian cellar in a small alley near one of the main train stations across from the highly recommended Carpe Noctem Hostel. The goulash did not fall short of its memory. I also found great goulash at the fancier Firkász Kávéház Étterem. On the other hand, bad goulash is featured prominently in the cafeteria of the Great Market Hall, a two-story indoor food market that appears, at first glance, to be a local venue for fresh food, but at closer inspection is a more artificial establishment for the amusement of tourists.

During our several days in Budapest, I revisited the notable sites in the city, including the Parliament on the Pest side (east of the Danube) and the castle district on the Buda side (west side of the Danube). Please excuse the terse recount that follows of the remainder of the trip. I write these letters now almost five months since I've returned.

Sahand



from Vysoké Tatry: A natural high


Dear Friends,

On the way to Poland, we stopped one night in the resort town of Vysoké Tatry (High Tatras) in this Slovakian mountain chain. We enjoyed a delicious meal in a nearby tavern after a challenging hike along one of the ski slopes. The next morning, we left Tatras for Krakow, Poland, arriving early in the afternoon.

Sahand



from Poland (Kraków, Auschwitz, Warszawa): Land of Copernicus


Dear Friends,

Krakow is a beautiful city with graceful historic architecture, especially near the central town square. Our three days here consisted mostly of visiting churches and eating hardy and delicious Polish food at U Babci Milany. Interestingly, some change bureaus were offering as little as fifty basis points on the market exchange rate to sell Polish zlotys for U.S. dollars, the lowest such rate I've seen on brick and morter currency exchange booths and well below the normal checking account or credit card rates.

On our second day, we ventured to the nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi concentration camp, a sobering experience. From Krakow, we took a train to Warsaw where we spent the final two days of our trip. Warsaw's old town is colorful and well preserved. An unlikely encounter with some locals sent us on an eventful night on the town, a nice conclusion to our stay.

I found many of the people in Poland with whom I interacted to be extremely kind and welcoming, contributing to a very enjoyable trip.

Sahand









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