“Unmissable” TV

I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the BBC iPlayer but after catching the last 5 minutes of “Top Gear: Polar Challenge” I decided it might be fun to watch the beginning. The quality of the flash video is surprisingly good—in fact, good enough for full screen on my 13″ macbook—although it is a shame that you can only watch programmes online.

I have often wondered why BBC content is not available (for sale) in iTunes, but since Apple seem to be about to announce time-limited offerings, making BBC iPlayer content available via iTunes would be a “killer app”, and provide a big sales driver for the much-maligned Apple TV.

Beautiful Buda

I’ve been very lucky this year to take two business trips, one to India and a second to the beautiful city of Budapest. The office I was visiting is a just outside central Budapest which gives me the opportunity to see the “real” city; although my initial attempt to interact with the public transport system was something of a failure, in part due to some “creative” route-finding by one of my colleagues, but also because this Gordian route involved the metro as well as a tram and I didn’t know the Hungarian word for “transfer ticket”…

Budapest really is a city of two “halves” being originally two settlements called “Buda” and “Pest”. Buda has an impressive castle (completely rebuilt after being destroyed in WWII) which completely dominates the river skyline, but also a warren of quaint streets made for strolling. Also on the Buda side of the river is the amazing Gellert Spa: a rambling complex of 19th Century corridors leading outside to sun-drenched terraces, or inside to intricately decorated thermal pools which reminded me of the Roman Spa in Bath. Given its evident attractiveness to tourists, it was surprisingly reasonably priced too.

Not to be outdone in the impressive buildings league, Pest features a Basillica, which would not look out of place in Rome, set within a very picturesque square. Lovers of European cafés with “atmosphere” will enjoy Café Montmartre with its great location in the shadow of the church.

Reaching the Statue Park involved another public transport adventure, but it was bizarrely fascinating and definitely not to be missed.

Finally my trip was rounded off with some wine-tasting organised by my team. Hungarian wine is very good…

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