Family, sports and trips abroad


I have two daughters from my first marriage: Réka (b. 1971) and Kata (b. 1975). Following their father’s footsteps, both of them are English teachers. To make matters worse (oops, better), my wife is an English teacher too. What a family!

balint-peter-valiI also have a son, Bálint (b. 2001). He doesn’t plan to be a teacher – but my daughters didn’t either when they were his age. He is a computer buff. While he is helping me with my IT problems, he mutters under his breath: „Dad, you’re hopeless.” I’m sad to say, he’s right – I’m not even a computer immigrant.

What he and I have in common is our keen interest in soccer. We often lock horns when El Classico is on, because he’s a Real Madrid fan whereas my heart throbs for Barca. Last year Ken Wilson invited me and Bálint to a Fulham match in London. One of the loveliest experiences we’ve ever had. Ken, you’re a pal!


Roger Federer

When I was young I was a professional fencer. No, not an Olympic champion, although I hoped I’d be one. I represented the Hungarian national junior team though. After I quit my fencing career, I took up tennis. I claim to be one of the worst players in the world, but I play regularly: twice a week with a coach, once with a friend. My favourite pros are Federer (surprise, surprise!) and the Ukranian Dolgopolov.

Trips abroad

View of LongyearbyenI love travelling. Who doesn’t? However, I didn’t have a chance to see the world until I was nineteen. My first trip took me to Cutigliano, a small town in the Italian Alps (a wonderful start, isn’t it?). The mayor invited us young Hungarian fencers for brunch and there were a range of beverages on offer that I hadn’t even heard of. To cut a long story short, the Hungarian team became so…inebriated by the afternoon that the Italians thrashed us 9-0. A lesson to learn.

As a young teacher I used to work as a tour-guide in the summer. Although this job didn’t make me a millionaire (and I haven’t since become one), it enabled me to see the world. I travelled all around Europe; the country I happened to visit most regularly was Greece with its beautiful islands. Who could ask for more?

Greys Monument in Newcastle upon TyneI’ve been to the UK at least fifty times, but I remember most vividly (and quite obviously) the first one. It was a British Council summer course for teachers of English and the venue was Newcastle in the north of England. On the first day I took a walk in the town centre but soon realised that I’d lost my way. I asked a local to show me the way. He said something I didn’t understand so I asked him to repeat it. He did – to no avail. After the third try he shrugged his shoulders with a wry smile and left me stranded there. I felt utterly destroyed. I’d been a teacher for four years and still couldn’t understand a simple explanation in English. By way of excuse, the guy must have spoken with a Geordie accent that even native speakers of English find hard to comprehend.

I’m a travel maniac. (Please don’t tell anyone.) And I keep track of all the countries I’ve already been to. 100 and still counting… If you want to see the full list click on Stats.

More to come!