On my first night here, l stumbled in the dark and fell backwards into a ditch, catching my chest on a protruding rock or drain that gave me a nasty aching bruise and possible hairline cracked rib, right over my heart. We arrived late in the evening, on a starry spring night chilled by an unexpected cold snap, in my wife’s German father’s little van with Hubertus written on the side, and he had stopped on the cement drive spanning the verge outside our new house. I opened the side door and stepped out without thinking, straight into the ditch.
We’ve just moved to Piliscsaba, a large village or small town in the Pilis Hills about 25 km west of Budapest. Csaba is one of the legendary forebears of the Hungarian nation, but Piliscsaba owes much of its present character to the German senior management of Budapest’s first municipal gasworks, who were settled here in the 19th century. The older northern parts of town are full of large, rambling houses, some of them the most delightful architectural curiosities. But we moved into a newer area, Piliscsaba Garancs-teto, of newer houses in magnificent countryside and, as it turned out, entirely without transport.
This journal is going to be a touch retrospective until we get more established. Many of the first entries will be recaps written days later. Even Paradise takes some settling in at first.