I thought I would tell you a bit about myself and where I have travelled
to before I arrived here in Budapest. Well, I was born just outside of
London in a town called High Wycombe, in May 1958. Our family later moved
to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, where I developed my love for the sea and
exotic places. After my education at a local private school, then a
boarding school run by Catholic priests in the Midlands, a local
Grammar school and then technical college, I joined the Royal Ordinance
Survey in Southampton.
Working as a cartographers assistant I was
making some of the best and most accurate maps in the world but
after a year of that decided that I would rather be in the places,
seeing them with my own eyes, than just drawing them. I returned
to the Isle of Wight where I took various temporary jobs to save
up enough money to venture out and see the big wide world.
worked as a waiter, ice cream salesman on the beach, big wheel
operator in a fair ground, dish washer, looking after elephants,
llamas and camels in a circus, bought up stock from charity shops and then
sold them at my own stall at different London markets, chef in a grill bar,
construction work, microfilm camera operator at a large satellite radar
company and more.
During the Summers I met many young English Language students from
Scandinavia and other European countries which made me more resolved
to leave the island. Most of my friends left to get jobs in London or
off to sea to work on the largest luxury cruise ships. That cold winter
I had recieved several letters from a friend who wrote me that she was
living in the Sinai Desert on the Red Sea, working for a fish restaurant,
catching fish in the morning with the help of the Bedouin and then serving
the guests in the evening. That was it, the cold wind was blowing through
the cracks in the window and I just threw my belongings into suitcases,
paid my rent and left for London.
After having spent money on air tickets,
vaccinations ,visas, travel garb and TOO much on the London night-life
with my I.o.W. friends in London, it was a relief to land in Tel Aviv.
Everything was closed due to elections for 3 days and my idea of just
going to one of the Kibbutz offices, signing up and then jumping on a
bus to the kibbutz went out the window. Luckily I had befriended a
Russian emigre Jew called Hiam living in Western Germany at the airport;
we hit it off and I just tagged along. We checked into a sleazy hotel,
The Hotel Josef, located in downtown Tel Aviv. Hiam spoke 10 languages
fluently and 5 others quite well, sold Levis in Europe and travelled
around Europe playing chess for money. When we wanted to eat, he just
challenged someone in one of the cafes to a game, and an hour or so
later we went to the best places for a slap up meal.
The holiday was
over and I went off to a Kibbutz in the north of Israel. The year
was early 1977 and that was the beginning of many adventures.
I stayed in Israel for 3 years where I made many Arabic, Christian and
Jewish friends. It was there I met a Swedish girl called Kicki, we
travelled back to Europe together overland and by boat. Haifa to Rhodos
via Cyprus by boat, then onto Athens by ferry. Then Athens to London
by coach(72hrs. non stop). After applying for various visas and
official papers we decided it would be easier for me to emigrate to
It was almost Christmas 1979 and after only a few weeks in Stockholm,
I was teaching English and learning the Swedish Language. I am now an
official resident of Sweden and speak the language fluently. I have also
achieved one of my goals which I set back in 1985, to travel around
the world on a thousand pounds and to return exactly a year later.
I purchased a one way ticket to Hong Kong via New Delhi. I then arrived
in India planning to only spend a week there. I ended up spending a
wonderful 2 months there visiting several places and amongst other
things, travelling around several states with a real live guru and
his band of followers, staying with a Parsi family for a week in
Bombay where I took the grandmother out for an evening meal at one
of the old colonial members only country clubs.
I visiting the
in Agra, the pink city of Jaipur in Rajastan where I spent a week
learning everything there is to know about lapis lazuli, rubies
and all sorts of semi-precious stones. I then travelled by steamer
from Bombay to Goa where I relaxed for two weeks in paradise.
Most of my time in Asia was spent in Hong Kong with 5 trips to China
en route to Lhasa, then overland through the Himalayas to Nepal.
I visited Lhasa and Kathmandu and even set a land speed record
(unofficial amongst us travellers) by Land Cruiser from Lhasa
to the Tibet/Nepal border just over a day, the bus took 3 days.
With landslides, rock falls, snowstorms, floods, altitude sickness
and other perils, it was really spectacular to see Mt.Everest.
After four trips I got be recognised by some of the locals in far
away small villages where we used to stop. After several close
calls and a very bad accident in Bangkok where I sliced open
my head on an overhead fan, I thought that Indiana Jones was
pretty tame. I visited Korea, Japan and Taiwan with free
flight tickets I got for work done in H.K. The snake market
in Taipei was a real blast with all sort of bizarre things to
see. I flew home with a stop over in Hawaii, sunburn on Waikiki,
and Los Angeles where I stayed with a real live millionaire who
I met on the plane, then New York where
I was robbed at Port Authority by an old lady (how humiliating after
my Asian adventures).
Luckily I got a new passport and a friend from
H.K. wired me some money. I then flew with Peoples Express Airways to
Brussels, then travelled on by train to Stockholm. My suitcase was
sent to the wrong airport so I arrived in Stockholm Central Station
to be greeted by one of my friends with only a black cloth umbrella
from Kathmandu. He said you British really travel light when
circumnavigating the globe.
Back in Sweden I was organising an ideal culture organisation for
young people wanting something more out of life. In temperatures of
minus 5 degrees I organised the first Rave in an old car factory
outside of Stockholm. With old theatre lights, a huge sound system and
350 very brave young people, the event became a fact. In coming
events I flew over established d.j.'s from London and had one off
parties for around 1,500 revellers. I tried to create the special
atmosphere from the island of Ibiza in Spain, where the music, people
and the night blend into one.
In 1989 I arrived in Leningrad ,USSR,(now St.Petersburg, Russia)
where I lived for 5 years and had my own consulting company which
I set up in 1991 after the coupi- detat. I travelled back to Stockholm
every 2 or 3 months for a week to renew visas, sleep properly, dry out
from the excess of vodka and enjoy the things people take for granted
in the Western World.
With up to 15 murders a day in St.Petersburg
from mob related or just simple bandit shootings, price inflation even
in hard currency terms and a change that couldn't be measured in time,
I left Russia with a lump in my throat and wondered if I could live
in the West again after being bitten by the Eastern European bug.
Then in the early Summer of '95 I was travelling back to Sweden
from the U.K., and with a 2 month Interail ticket I decided to travel
back through Hungary, The Czech Republic and Poland where I would
take a boat to Stockholm. Budapest, it was love at first sight and
I returned later that summer to spend another 10 days in Budapest
making the same journey from the U.K. back to Sweden. I decided there
and then to rent out my flat in Stockholm and rent a flat in Budapest.
Six months later, a very cold February morning I flew into Ferihegy
Air Terminal1, took the airport minibus to the one youth hostel open
in the winter. Two months later I was living in a three room apartment right
in the centre of Pest with a location I was very lucky to get.
So in my travels within Hungary I have taken a few pictures which you
might enjoy. Seven months ago I had not a clue what the internet was,
two months ago I wrote in the Friends and Partners Guestbook and I
got quite a few replies, one of them with Skip Evans who has spent a
lot of time helping me put this together with design and scanning in
my photos. I guess that the text is kind of long but I left the
U.K. twenty two years ago, and have lived in six different countries with
adventures in all of them. In five months begins the biggest adventure
of all. I am going to be a father for the first time at the ripe ol'
age of forty.
I would be glad to hear your impressions or questions. I hope to
take a lot more photos this year in Budapest and it's surrounding areas.
I can really recommend Hungary for anyone considering visiting Eastern Europe,
as it has so much worthwhile to offer and see for travellers,
"Eurailers" and business minded entrepreneurs.
Tim Vale, Budapest, Hungary.
Some Hungarian Links:
The right arrow in the table below will take you to the first
photo in the series.