Thursday, March 22, 2012

Budapes(h)t

(L to R) Me, Jovan, Mitchell, and Victoria at Dudbest
  March 2nd-4th I took a trip to Budapest, Hungary. (Yes I know this post is two weeks overdue, but School started up the day after we returned, and I have been absolutely slammed with schoolwork!) Rather than planning this trip on my own I tagged along with a group trip that was planned by the student organization in charge of mingling with us foreign folk to make us feel welcomed. It takes about 5 hours to get to Budapest from Linz via bus, so we left at 7am on Friday morning. Once we got there we split into two groups, those who wanted to go to the "Spa" and those who didn't. The spa was really some of the thermal baths that Budapest is apparently rather famous for.  I had never heard of such wondrous pools, so I didn't much care to go. I was later told by spa goers that you could also purchase a massage for 13 Euro (less than 20 USD), I wish I had gotten in on that in retrospect. Regardless, I instead used that time to roam around the city with my friends Jovan (Canada), Victoria (USA), and Mitchell(USA).  We decided we were all starved for a late lunch, so we stopped in at this restaurant called Dudabest. Yes, we went to Dudabest in Budapest. It was really delicious, and really affordable. All four of us ate pizza, fries, and soda for less than $20. Afterwards we roamed back to the Hostel and took advantage of having some downtime.

Traditional Hungarian Meal
     After a few hours of waiting we finally load the bus to go eat dinner. We had a two course, traditional Hungarian meal. For my picky eating self, I feel like I did really well eating the food placed in front of me( then again, I wasn't aware  that fires were traditional Hungarian Cuisine, those were pretty easy to eat.) Also included in dinner: 3 rounds of Palinka. Needless to say it is not my favorite, but hey. If the Hungarians like to drink rubbing alcohol they can go ahead and do that. In addition to dinner and Palinka, there was traditional Hungarian dancing and singing. They also performed some gypsy songs and dances, the performances were really fun to watch.

The crazy loud Hungarian club
 Afterwards we went out to a club, which was of course filled with creepy drunk people and lots of dancing. All of our first day there was great, but the real story from Friday happened after the club. A group of us decided to leave around 1 AM because we were set to have a really long day Saturday. The organization that we came with provided us with bus tickets and directions to get back to our hostel. we confidently got on and off at the listed stops, only to find we didn't recognize any of our surroundings. Luckily, a Budapestian who happened to speak some English was nearby. After showing her the maps and directions that we had been given, she informed us that where we were was literally off of the map we had. Budapest is actually two parts, Buda and Pest. They are divided by the river Danube (or Donau for German speaking countries). Our hostel was located on the opposite side of the river from where we were. With her help as well as the assistance of a very kind bus driver we were able to find our way back home.... more than 2 hours after we first left the club. Did I mention that is was also very very cold and I had forgotten my jacket? Luckily one of the boys let me borrow his, but then he was freezing the whole time. I felt pretty bad. Regardless, the good thing is that found our way back safely.

At Heroes Square


Me, Mitchell, Victoria, and Nick at Heroes Square
        Saturday we went on a city tour for about 5 hours, and then we had about 3 hours of free time. I loved getting so go around the city and be told about the history. Our first stop was at a place called heroes square. It was built in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the city. They actually had a really big fair that lasted all year right behind it, and this square was meant to be the entry into the fair/festival. We went a number of other places around the city, too many to really write about each one specifically. I will say though, that they have the most beautiful Parliament building I have ever seen.


Parliament building (photo from destinations360.com)
The view of Pest (including the Parliament Building) from the Castle on Buda

The Church
We also went to the area of the Buda side that used to be the castle for the royal family. The buildings themselves were beautiful (especially the church) and the view was breathtaking. We spent about 1 hour there, which was not nearly long enough. Afterwards we headed to our final stop: the Citadel. While I did not find the citadel to be quite so impressive as the castle, it still had a breathtaking view. From there we were left to go around the city on our own until dinner. About 15 of us stayed at the citadel for a bit, and then walked down to the river to get some photos of the chain bridge (one of many bridges connecting Buda and Pest.) We grabbed lunch at a really delicious restaurant called Szatyor, and then roamed back to the hostel to get ready for dinner


Barbara, Jovan, Tori, and me with obnoxiously girly cocktails
Dinner was a little bit ridiculous on Saturday night. From the time we arrived to the time we actually left 4 hours had elapsed. Overall I had a good time though. My table decided we were all required to order girly cocktails, so I ordered my first ever obnoxiously girly drink. It even came with a sparkly confetti type toothpick in it. I don't know what the technical name for it is, so sparkly confetti type thinggy will have to work. Some people went out to a club afterwards, but I went back to the hostel with the team leaders to ensure that a repeat of the night before didn't happen. We left at 10 am the next morning to drive back to Linz. I enjoyed my time in Budapest, but I was definitely glad to be back home in Linz. Next Journey: snowboarding in the Alps!

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