Monthly Archives

September 2018

Expat Life

Frida Kahlo: A Life of Suffering, Love and Passion in Budapest

September 23, 2018

While some people dismiss museums and art galleries as boring places to spend an evening, I have visited many times over the years. While studying at The Royal Conservatory of Music, The Royal Ontario Museum was just next door and offered discounts to students on Friday nights. In my 30s, I attended frequently with my sister, Kriszta and my friend, Allison. Even Andrew and I spent one of our first dates on a Friday evening at the ROM. And now here in Budapest, we find ourselves at the Hungarian National Gallery’s Frida Kahlo exhibition. Frida Kahlo is surely one the most iconic female artists of the twentieth century.


“Viva Mexico” Night

Last Saturday evening the Gallery hosted the “Viva Mexico” event. The event was in celebration of the “Día de la Independencia”. Not only did we get to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit, but we sampled Mexican food and entertainment.  Those of you who know us well, know that we are especially fond of Mexico.  Andrew and I have visited there at least once a year over the past decade. However, unsurprisingly, the food on offer was nowhere near authentic – I think the nachos had that gross plastic cheese on them. Of course, if you are my sister, that is your favourite kind of nacho cheese 😉  However, the music was a completely different story…

The Mariachis

I LOVE mariachis.  Honestly, this was the main reason we went to this particular event. I love the instruments. I love the harmonies. I love their outfits. I love it all.

Like Hungarian Gypsy music, Mariachi music is also deemed a cultural heritage by UNESCO.  This mariachi band, Mariachi Sin Fronteras, is actually from Slovakia with the leader of the band originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. However, they are faithfully carrying on the traditions of mariachi rhythms of sones and huapangos. They were wonderful!

The Frida Kahlo Exhibit

This temporary exhibit features over thirty paintings and other works by the artist. The selection features the artist’s hallmark self-portraits, and also includes such major works as her very first canvas, painted in 1927. There are also paintings and portraits inspired by the other people and events in her life. The works are suffused with symbolism and offer a glimpse inside the evocative, yet physically and mentally tormented inner world of Frida Kahlo.

The exhibit is beautifully laid out and all descriptions are in both English and Hungarian. This makes it very easy for expats to enjoy fully – unlike some other exhibits that are only in Hungarian. The works on display are magnificent, vibrant and emotional.

The Hungarian Connection

Did you know that Frida had a Hungarian lover for over ten years? Me neither!  One of things on display is a love letter she wrote – in Hungarian – to Miklós Muray.  Miklós Muray was a Hungarian-born Jew who photographed Kahlo for over a decade in New York, Paris and Mexico City. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I encourage you to visit the exhibit yourself to learn more.

FRIDA KAHLO – Masterpieces from the Museo Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City 

The exhibit is open until November 4, 2018.

Entry is HUF 3200 and tickets can be bought online or at the Gallery.

Expat Life

Exploring Moroccan Handicraft Week in Budapest

September 16, 2018

Last week, Andrew and I were honoured to be invited to a reception and a Moroccan fashion show by The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, H.E. Mrs. Karima Kabbaj. This event was in celebration of Moroccan Handicraft Week. We have never been to Morocco, so we were thrilled to catch a glimpse of it here in Budapest.

The event is held outside on the grounds of the Vajdahunyad Castle in City Park.  And with the gorgeous weather we’ve had all summer, this is the perfect location to enjoy the week. The 10-day event hosts more than 30 artisans and artists. Most of the artists are still using their traditional methods to create goods.

Opening Night of Moroccan Handicraft Week

Andrew and I attended on opening night that started with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour.  If you follow either one of us on Instagram, likely you watched it as part of our Instagram Stories. There were traditional dancers and loud drums to kick off the festivities, along with a ribbon cutting ceremony. We then set off to explore the various artisan’s booths and handicrafts. I particularly loved the wood carver.  His pieces were amazing and smelled so good!

It is so interesting to see how the incredible works were made.  The level of detail and time taken for each piece was breathtaking. Andrew and I both love the colours and shapes seen repeated throughout the different types of Moroccan handicrafts. You could even sample specialities of Moroccan cuisine, and take part in workshops of various Moroccan traditions.


Moroccan Handicraft Kaftan Fashion Show

After we finished our tour outside, we moved inside to watch a Kaftan Fashion Show.  I LOVED this show. Growing up, my mother had a green paisley kaftan that she would wear on Christmas Eve.  I remember it having rich green and purple colours and sparkling with gold jewels and sequins.  These dresses reminded me so vividly of that dress and how much I coveted it – even as a child.

I desperately want one. In fact, I would wear all of them.  I begged and pleaded with my husband, but unfortunately, they are slightly out of our budget. To me these dresses are the perfect blend of feminine glitter  – but  comfortable enough to allow you to eat dinner in them. 😉 Congratulations to Ms Sara Zerrouali for her incredible designs.

Moroccan Handicraft Week Closes Today

Sorry for not getting this post up sooner, but I definitely recommend you head to City Park today to go see it.  And if not this year, then put it on your calendar for next year!

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, H.E. Mrs. Karima Kabbaj


This year’s Moroccan Handicraft Week opened September 7th and runs until today, September 16, at the Vajdahunyad Castle in Városliget, Budapest. The event aims to familiarize visitors with incredible Moroccan crafts, jewelry, pottery, oils, and furniture, and showcases the richness of Moroccan culture.

Many thanks again to to our friend, Zara, along with The Kingdom of Moroccoʼs Embassy in Hungary/ Le Maroc en Hongrie/ Marokkó Magyarországon.