Here is the first one in the series of Lazy-Crazy-Hazy Summer interviews. We chatted up some people about how they like to spend their summers, and our first victim was Ken White, an Englishman in Budapest.
Budapest resident for almost 12 years now and Ken says he still feels like a fish out of water. While he enjoys the buzz of the city he still feels like he has something else to offer which he has not yet achieved. Most people will know him for his fun, outgoing and lighthearted side, especially with his involvement with Danube Events and TheDaily.hu but few will know he also has a serious side working in wealth management.
Born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK he moved to Hertfordshire when he was 20 years old for many years and then at Cambridge for a couple of years while owning and running one of the largest steel reinforcement companies in England. (WOW!!)
When he first came to Hungary more than a decade ago, this versatile guy lived in posh Buda and spent half my time between there and Paloznak on Lake Balaton. (WOW again, summer and winter residence mister) A couple of years ago a change in his personal life saw him move to Pest, which apparently was like moving to a new country (Mordor, according to some Buda residents). “‘It took me a while to get into my stride this side of the water but I think I fit in nicely these days” – says Ken.
1. Describe your dream summer holiday!
This year my dream summer holiday would have to be amongst the Fjords of Southern Norway. I am lucky enough to have found an amazing girl, one who makes my heart beat, from Norway, a place I am yet to see with my own eyes. Hopefully this will happen soon.
2. Where do you really spend you summer holidays?
This summer I will be behind my desk during the day and I guess frequenting many bars, clubs or events in the evenings. Holidays will have to take a back seat this year as there is just too much going on with work, events and studying.
3. Do you cook or eat out?
I love eating out and I also like to cook so if I can cook outside I am in me element.
If I can cook for a group of friends and see them enjoy the food then this brings me immense pleasure. I prefer to cook outside on the grill or with a pizza oven as I have now mastered tossing the pizza dough without losing it too many times. However a circular shaped pizza still eludes me.
I also like to bake, you can’t beat it when a friend picks some fruit for you from their garden and then you can present them with a freshly baked and hot summer fruit pie with lashings of fresh cream and a dusting of sugar in return.
If I eat out then a one on one situation with a friend or my girlfriend I feel is best. I like to give 100% of my attention to the person I’m speaking with over dinner and a nice glass of wine.
4. Fav summer food?
I think in the summer, simple is the best. A lightly oiled tagliatelle with garlic and grilled king prawns, drizzled with lemon juice is amazing. Finish off with a desert made from a split banana fried in Jack Daniels and brown sugar toffee and a scoop of Italian ice cream. I am a salad dodger as you can tell and my waistline is starting to show this.
5. Is it party, party, party or catching up on your reading?
My eye sight is starting to fade so the books are collecting dust on the shelf and due to my involvement with Danube Events I suppose I’d have to say party, party, party. Or maybe I should just go for that eye test?
6. How about festivals?
I was privileged this year to be invited to Novarock festival in Nickelsdorf, Austria. I have a friend who works in the music industry and I was given an access all area pass. I found myself on stage with Korn, Bullet for my Valentine, Evanescence and The Kings of Leon. Something that money can’t buy or Sziget can’t match after seeing the lineup.
7. What is your summer guilty pleasure?
I have to say that I am very partial to a Rose Fröccs in the summer. You will usually find me with one glued to my right hand at some point during the day, either at home or out on the town. Not to sound like an alcoholic I also love the Soprano ice cream which you can find at Oktogon.
8. Where was the best summer holiday you ever had?
I’ve been to many beautiful destinations over the years, had the usual family rows at these places and the stress of flights getting there and back. The huge cost and credit card bill on return and the pile of bills on the door mat when you open the front door.
So with all that said and done the best summer holiday I ever had was when I was about 7 years old. One of my next door neighbors was a coach driver and he organized a caravan holiday to Southerness in Scotland. Lots of the neighbors’ went together on his coach, all the parents all the kids. There was a sing along on the bus and I had the time of my life. You see I said in the summer simple is the best.
9. Favorite summer spot in Budapest?
My favorite summer spot in Budapest is a difficult question because it changes so much here year after year. There is always a new place popping up where once was a car park or a bus station. I love the buzz of Fröccsterasz in Erzsébet tér and if this place had live music it would be perfect. For eating out I like Café Alibi in Egyetem Tér. It’s a little quieter than other areas of town and just right for a one on one dinner or lunch.
10. Cocktail or lemonade?
Really, I’m not an alcoholic but I’d have to say Cocktail. If the bar can make a good one I’d go for a Caipirinha, still keeping it simple as you can see. A full lime muddled in a medium height glass, brown sugar, crushed ice and pour over Cachaça, shaken not stirred. Probably the best one I have had in 12 years living in Budapest is at Oscar, Ostrom Utca 14 in Buda. If you find yourself in a bar when they only have cubed ice then stick with a Gin and Tonic the essential summer drink for any Englishman abroad.