Tuesday, March 10, 2009
As most of you know, I made my first excursion out of the country this past weekend. Place of destination: Budapest! Friday morning around 8:30 AM Mike, Serena, Melissa, Alycia, Tansy and myself left from the Westbahnhof train station. The train ride was approximately 3 hours-not too bad. We ate nutella and sticks as well as some kiwi that we had to peel by hand. The conversation was great, we could all tell this was going to be a great trip!
I would consider myself a very concious person. I try to keep my eye open to my surroundings as not to lose something or allow pickpocketors to creep up on me. However, during this specific train ride I lost it. The first time the conductor came around to check tickets, I couldnt find mine. I tore through my bad, freaking out that i was going to get kicked off the train somewhere out in the hungarian country side. After about 10 min of searching through my things, I found it in my wallet....wow...go me! Then, when we were getting off the train in Budapest, I couldnt find my Austrian Cell...grrrr...no worries though...i did find it right before the train was about to leave lol.
So after the train, the ticket booth went crazy on us! For real! It wouldnt take our money and kept spitting it back out...I swear, we sat there for about 45 min trying to buy our transportation tickets. We even tried asking the attendant at the booth to help and all she could say was 'a;hgiag;agha ;gjao'....that is Hungarian for "I dont speak English" It is the wierdest language i have experienced while in europe!
After another hour, we found ourself at Riverside Hostel! It was definatly different than what I had pictured a hostel to be like. I mean, I did see the movie "Hostel" and I was sorta scarred of going and staying in a bed where thousands of people sleep on an average year. The staff there was extreamly welcoming and helpful for us. They gave us directions to everything that we asked and recomended their favorite spots for us.
On friday, we just decided to get some traditional Hungarian food and walk around for a bit. So we went to this cafateria style restuarant. Most of us decided on the goulash and rice. Now, let me help you picture what this was like. Ok...rice...you know what that is, white, small, no flavor - rice. now picture a worm, you know the kind that come out after a good rain. take about 50 of those put them on that plate of rice and add some dark brown sauce...that is what our meal looked like. and imagine the texture. Chewy and squirmy. mmmmmm mmmm mm...hungarian food is GROSS!!! lol
After our "meal" we decided to walk down the street and see St. Stephen's Basilica.
It was beautiful! It defiantly was an old European church. The attention to detail on the inside was so impressive!!! The colors, and statues, and stained glass windows and candles and just every other amazing detail. I kinda wandered around alone to take in the full environment. After walking around in the main room where church is held, I found myself in this really old chapel. As it turns out, this chapel was the part of the church that was built before the building that we know as the Basilica existed.
As I was walking around the chapel, a light turned on in a corner and I saw a dead hand! It was sooo gross...apparently, it's the sacred right hand of St. Stephen. Apparently, after St. Stephen died, his hand fell off and mummified itself and someone found it. Now the Catholics have a sacred gross thing....lol?
After the basilica, we took a walk down the Danube River. Along the way, we walked by then across the Chain Bridge. It was the original bridge build to connect "Buda" and "Pest". Before the bridge, people could only cross during the winter when the river was frozen over.
The next day, Saturday, we decided to take a "free" tour of the city. Have you ever heard the saying "There is no such thing as a free lunch"? Well...there is no such thing as a free tour...we not only had to tip him, but during the 3+ hour tour, we got to hear all about Communism in Hungry and stand in gale force winds. Oh it was soo fun!!!...finally after about 3 hours, we decided to go off and create our own tour. So, led by Melissa, we made our way to the sand castle. Its acutally called the Fisherman's something...but i think it looks like the sand castles you make with wet sand when you drizzle the sand on it!!!!
That was pretty much all we did on Saturday. Trying to fight the wind and walking around a city for hours makes travelers extra sleepy! We decided to stay in on our last night in Budapest. That night was the ultimate bonding night! All the girls just sat and gossiped with each other and told about our lives back home and our families. Its really interesting how similar we all are and how close we are. I feel like I have made life long friends here and I wouldnt have traded this weekend for anything!
The next day, was our last day. We decided to take a tour of the "House of Terror" It was a museum that showed the ugly part of Hungarian history when the Nazis and Communist tortured and imprisoned citizens for their religion, skin and hair color and other things....The kinds of things portrayed in this museum are not the kinds of things that you learn about in history class...they are way worse...if you would like to learn more about it here are some links for you to check out:
The Website for the House of Terror
After the house of Terror, it was time to head home...well back to Vienna. The 3 hour train ride seemed like it would never end! We were all so anxious to get home, unpack and SHOWER!!! lol :D