I like travelling. I have had the good fortune of travelling
quite a bit in my life. This is due to family history, choice of travelling
vacations over other ways of spending money, and having a job that
actually allows me to travel - sometimes to quite exotic locations.
I travel alone or I travel in company. Over the years, I have
travelled with my parents and sister, with male and female friends and - as a
married man - with my wife and sons. On occasion, I have travelled as part of a
group, but by and large I avoid group activities, I prefer to fend for myself or
travel with a few select people only.
I have a number of special interests, and I tend to integrate
these into my trips - this will surely become apparent in my travelogues. One of
my major interests is transportation - especially, rail-based
transportation. If I have to make a special side-trip to find an obscure
railway, or see a tram (streetcar) network for the first time, I will
probably do so. But I do not despise other means of transportation: I like
planes, buses, boats, funiculars, horse-drawn carriages - even cars, if I
really have to. I also like zoos, museums, planetaria, bookstores, libraries,
world fairs, IMAX cinemas and famous towers.
Language: I know a number of them. It is a pleasure for me that I
can travel in places where I am reasonably fluent in the local language. There
are four such languages, in diminishing order of fluency: Hungarian, English,
French and Spanish. These already cover a significant percentage of the world's
surface. But I have studied other languages, and I can use them sufficiently
well to get by - Japanese and Portuguese come to mind. How many westerners can
take their family on a day-trip from Tokyo to see the Daibutsu (Great Buddha) in
Kamakura, Japan, without the need for a native-speaking guide? I can also manage
enough German and Italian to survive in countries where these languages are
spoken. After that I tend to be at a loss, and rely on English- (or other-)
speaking locals: I saw a little bit of Thailand, for example, but surely I got
less out of it than I could have, simply because the language and its script are
unknown to me.
Food: I am adventurous, but not too much so. I will try
local foods if they look and smell reasonable palatable, and of course I will
try almost anything if social circumstances require me to. But I am not a
masochist, and I will not indulge a blind desire to try absolutely everything
just because it's there. The chocolate-coated ants of Colombia and the monkey
brains of China will just have to be left untasted by me.
People: One of the pleasures of travel is meeting people.
I am not the most sociable of persons, I am quite capable of entertaining myself.
Nevertheless, I have met people on my trips who have become friends, and who
have provided me with some knowledge of how local people (or fellow expatriates)
experience a certain country. In addition, this is the Age of the Internet:
I have met people on my travels whom I had encountered before only
electronically. E-friends, as I call them, who then become real friends. There
are risks involved in this kind of thing, I know - but we are not talking about
Internet dating here, rather of meeting people with similar interests, with
addresses, phone numbers, families and shared friends.
Photos: I bought my first digital camera in 2003. Since
then I have been able to have a photographic record of my trips that can be
easily placed on my web site. Before then, I had used optical cameras, with
pictures of various quality and in various formats. These will have to be
scanned, I have hundreds of them, some (but not most) I have managed to scan,
but many await conversion into a digital format. Of even older trips, I have
only slides to illustrate them, the negatives for these being long lost (or
stored I do not know where). Commercial services exist to convert slides into
digital format, I have used them for the slides I most treasure, but many have
not been converted so far. Of course, of some trips I have no pictorial record at all - I may have had no camera with me, and once my camera was stolen.
So, onto my travelogues. The ones on the site will be in
backward chronological order - but, clearly, it will take some time to put all
(or most) of my trips on my site.
Travelogues of Gábor Sándi
I am also an incorrigible list-maker. I shall include some lists related to my travels: