Category Archives: Europe

Eger, Hungary

I was only in Eger for a day so didn’t get time to see everything. Here is a little snapshot of the ‘city’ (it’s called a city but it feels like a town).

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European Jedi Order (EJO)

EJO SymbolThe European Jedi Order (EJO) is for all those who who want to make the world a better place by finding a balance between out spiritual and physical sides.

Mission Statement

The European Jedi Order (EJO) strives to bring together members of the Jedi Community in Europe operating as both an umbrella organisation to the many Jedi orders within its territory and as an order in its own right. We will also work with our international partners under a unified banner to ensure across the board standards. We will search for members in the Jedi community across Europe and aid them in the development of spiritual training. We will organise gatherings and events as well as train other Jedi and expand the community.

The EJO aims to create a home, both physical and spiritual for all Jedi in Europe and provide spiritual, mental and physical training to all Jedi and prospective Jedi.

Social Mission

To bring peace and balance to ourselves and others.

How to get in touch with the EJO

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Debrecen, Hungary – In Pictures

Ceylon tea at Carpe Diem Tea House on Batthyány Street

Ceylon tea at Carpe Diem Tea House on Batthyány Street

Snow falls in all its beauty

Snow falls in all its beauty

Christmas market in the city centre

Christmas market in the city centre

Christmas market in the city centre

Christmas market in the city centre

A tram passes through the Christmas market all lit up

A tram passes through the Christmas market all lit up

German style burger and hot-dog at the Christmas market

German style burger and hot-dog at the Christmas market

The Northern Great Plain, part of the Great Hungarian Plain

The Northern Great Plain, part of the Great Hungarian Plain

Nagypiac (Big Market) hosting many fresh fruit and veg stalls as well as butchers and fishmongers

Nagypiac (Big Market) hosting many fresh fruit and veg stalls as well as butchers and fishmongers

Left: Road, Middle: Cycle path, Right: Footpath

Left: Road, Middle: Cycle path, Right: Footpath

Békás-tó (Frog Lake)

Békás-tó (Frog Lake)

Nagytemplom (Great Church) The Great Calvinist Church of Debrecen

Nagytemplom (Great Church) The Great Calvinist Church of Debrecen

Nagyerdő (Big Forest)

Nagyerdő (Big Forest)

University of Debrecen (UNIDEB) main building

University of Debrecen (UNIDEB) main building

2013 Flower Festival - Held in August, annually

2013 Flower Festival – Held in August, annually

Hungary to Turkey (and back) – Without flying

As a non-flyer I’m always getting trains and buses but reliable information is often hard to come by, this information is 2014.Turkish Hungarian flag

Budapest to Istanbul (train)

Budapest to Belgrade (€15) Mav-Start 8 hours
There is a wait in Belgrade for the connecting train of about 15 hours, if you’re not in a hurry it’s a great opportunity to explore Belgrade (often written as Beograd) the kalemegdan (fortress) is especially worth visiting.
Belgrade has a left luggage option which can be found just round the corner by the bus station.

Belgrade to Sofia (€20) Serbian Railways sleeper/couchette 10 hours
There is also a wait here for the connection this time of 11 hours and while this is also an opportunity to explore Sofia (often written as Sofya) it is not as beautiful or interesting as Belgrade. Papaya offers good value breakfasts which can be found on the main road Maria Luiza Boulevard (it connect the train station to the city centre).
There is also a left luggage option at the train station. Ignore anyone approaching you to offer you ‘information’ and showing you a badge, they are scammers.

Sofia to Istanbul (€20) BDZ sleeper/couchette 13 hours

Bursa to Budapest (bus)

Bursa to Sofia (€30) Metro Turizm 13 hours

Sofia to Budapest (€48) Eurolines/Kapat-C 12 hours

Turkey continues down the authoritarian path

This time we’re talking about television. Turkey holds an iron fist when it comes to freedom of expression and opinion. Working hard to control exactly what people can and can’t see and hear.

Turkey smoking flower

Smoking replaced by a cartoon flower

Turkey drinking blur

Drinking alcohol replaced by blurred pixels

In Turkey you cannot see someone smoking and drinking on television, smoking is replaced by a cartoon style flower and drinking has been replaced by blurred pixels.
Talking about subjects like sex or religion (amongst other things) is heavily monitored and controlled

Turkish desperate housewives

Umutsuz Ev Kadınları fined $60,000

Today’s papers talk about Turkey’s TV watchdog that has fined the Turkish version of Desperate Housewives $60,000 for sexual innuendo, for a wife saying to her husband that after dinner they will have ‘dessert’. The article can be read here.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons fined £18,427

About this time last year the TV channel that aired a Simpsons episode was fined £18,427 for mocking God. That article can be found here.

Once again these are not the values that Europe stands for and certainly have no place in the European Union.

“Europe’s” worst human rights violators

Council_of_Europe_logo.svgThe European Court of Human Rights  (ECHR) covers all countries in Europe who are members of the Council of Europe, this is currently 47 countries with only 3 “European” countries not signed up which are: Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Vatican City.

Yellow: Founders. Blue: Members.

Yellow: Founders. Blue: Members.

I say “European” because are Russia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan part of Europe? As with my previous post(s), I wouldn’t say so.

Every year the ECHR produces a report on the number of human rights judgements a countries have had against them.

From 2009 (at least) to 2012 Turkey and Russia have been the worst two violators of human rights. That’s right, the most consistently worst countries in Europe for human rights violations are not even proper European countries.

For Russia this is of less concern perhaps as Russia has no European Unions ambitions (either genuine or otherwise) however with Turkey being the number 1 worst country for human rights violations (in “Europe”) from 1959-2012 with a total 2870 judgements against them should the EU even be considering their application?

Turkey’s lack of democracy is highlighted as most violations from the country are due to the ‘Right to a fair trial’ which the government doesn’t give when people stand up against them (such as journalists).

Turkey has no place being in Europe or the European Union with its fight against secularism and constant disregard for human rights.

The EU; Ukraine and Turkey

EU flagFollowing on from the ‘list of countries with more than 100,000 prisoners as a percentage of their population‘ in which there is one EU candidate country (Turkey) and one ‘Eastern Partnership participant (ENP)’ (and potential EU candidate) (Ukraine).

I won’t go as far as to say that these two countries hold genuine ambitions of joining the European Union but it remains a distinct possibility. With Ukraine the 5th worst in the world and Turkey the 10th it once again highlights both how far these countries have to come and how alien their values are from European ones.

The question once again is, ‘Where does the European border really sit?’ and ‘Should the EU continue strong relations with countries holding opposite values?‘.

European shared values map

Blue: EU. Green: Candidates. Brown: ENP.

Ukraine has been in the news a fair bit lately what with the political tug-of-war the EU and Russia seem to be doing for the loyalty of Ukraine. For those who have been living in cave Ukraine was set to sign a free trade and association agreement with the EU however after pressure from Russia’s Vladimir Putin the agreement has been delayed. The delay has caused much unrest in Ukraine with pro-EU protests getting the capital Kiev.
However with the large prison numbers, many of which can be considered political prisoners (such as the accused former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko) should this be the last connection between the two entities? Sign the trade agreement and that’s it. Until Ukraine can sort itself out and adopt a more democratic approach any further EU/Ukraine agreements should be off limits.

Turkey it seems is forever hitting headlines and tables for all the wrong reasons (many of which I have written about before). Once again Turkey hits the top 10 on the prisoners list, many of which are either journalists or political prisoners. Turkey has such appalling levels of free speech even the mere suggestion of joining the EU should be off limits. Turkey who jails journalists and proponents of free speech and the democratic process, Turkey who treats women as second class citizens and sex objects, Turkey who refuses to recognise the Armenian genocides, Turkey who illegally captured half of Cyprus and the Turkey that is turning away from secularism.

These are not the values and standards of Europe, there is no place within our community for people like you.