We had a lovely evening at a Budapest Gala Koncert. I heard a new musical instrument called the cimbalom, which is in the first photo. The musician was amazing. I was surprised by how many of the pieces I recognized.
We also attended a concert on New Years’s Eve of the Gypsy 100 Violins orchestra. It started with a set of traditional dances that included one in which the ladies danced with carafes on their heads. The orchestra played a variety of songs, many from Strauss. The main cimbalom player had a great solo.
In December 2017, I met my mom in Budapest. Budapest was originally two cities: Buda and Pest. We stayed on the Pest side and had a wonderful view of the Hungarian Parliament building.
We spent many days walking around the city, below are a few photos of the some of the architecture. The first photo is of a painting the depicts the original bridge that crossed the Danube between Buda and Pest and the second is The Széchetyi Chain Bridge, which was built in 1849.
Our last water stop was the beautiful Balmorhea State Park. The spring fed pool was built by the CCC between 1936 and 1941. The water is around 72 degrees year round. We had a beautiful morning swim chasing fish and turtles. If you have not visited this Texas Treasure, add it to your travel list.
For our third spring, we had to drive on El Camino del Rio. The scenic drive along the River Road (Texas FM 170), following the meanders of the Rio Grande, is among the most spectacular in the nation. You can take this road to get to Big Bend State Ranch Park, another favorite park of mine. There is also a magical spot filled with hoodoos (weather-carved volcanic ash), always a great spot to get out and look around.
The farm pictured is part of an area that is believed to be the oldest continuously cultivated farmland in Texas.
The Third spring we visited was at Chinati Hot Springs. It is west of Big Bend State Ranch Park and south of Marfa, very remote (no wifi, no cell service). The hotel/campground has adorable cabins and a very large and functional community kitchen. It was the perfect place for short hikes, watching birds, relaxing in the spring and cooking good food. The community spring ‘tub” was wonderful for soaking during day and night.
From Chinati Hot Springs we drove to Marfa. Due to a thunderstorm the night before we were unable to take the Pinto Canyon Road to Marfa, saved for another trip. After a rain, the low water crossing areas become possible mud traps. We left later in the day to let others make a path and for the mud to dry some.
While Texas can be extremely hot and dry, the secret to stay cool is the cold springs and the secret to relaxation is the hot springs. In January 2017, as a far well tour before I left the country for a few years, my friends and I decided to do what we called the “West Texas Water Tour”. We picked 4 springs to visit on our travels, some new to me and some I had visited before.
We started by heading south from Austin to Fort Clark in Brackettville Texas. It was built in 1857 and was home of the 2nd Calvary division. The spring is 68 degrees year round. We had a beautiful 70 degree day for our fist swim.
We later drove over the Pecos River. “West of the Pecos” was a reference to the rugged desolation of the Wild West. We stopped in at a store that had some a beautiful table made from stone and made a new friend. As we drove into Big Bend National Park, we were greeted with a spectacular sunset. Up Next Big Bend National Park.
Got back to Big Bend National Park over Thanksgiving 2015. No mountain lion sightings but we did see some bears.
I did my favorite hike in a new order: Blue Creek Canyon up to South Rim and then down Pinnacles. The hoodoos in Blue Creek Canyon were gorgeous in the morning sun and the grasses on Pinnacles trail were golden in the afternoon sun.
We got to the hot springs during the day and found the short 1 mile hike up and around the bluff very lovely.
We had the most beautiful weather 70s and 40s and a few awesome cloud viewings.
And I finally got to walk into Santa Elena’s Canyon, just spectacular.
Past Big Bend Trips