Friday, January 8, 2010

catching up

We woke up the next morning and the whole day was a bus day.  Our route went through the rest of the Czech republic and then through Slovakia for about 50 miles or so, and finally into Hungaria.  We stopped in the Czech republic so people could try to spend the last of their crowns there.  

I got a candy bar and a ginormoius water bottle.  We stopped once more in Slovakia just for a rest stop and to let people touch the ground if they wanted to.  I didn’t get off the bus. But Jürgen got locked in the bathroom for about 20 minutes before Gracen remembered that he was there.  So at least something entertaining happened.  I tried to read, but didn’t get very much done.  Eventually we arrived in Budapest!  We had dinner, a turkey dish.  Then we went to our hotel (which was the same company, Ibis, as the one in Prague).  After a very short respite the majority of the group headed out to a local jazz bar called Fat Mo’s.  The local beer was called dreher, and was good, but not as good as the German beers have been.  The dark version of the dreher however, was amazing.  After a while there, a few of us headed out to a different bar with Chelsea and her boyfriend Abraham, who she had met up with here.  It was a small, cool place and we had a really good time.  The next morning was not quite as much fun for me.  However, some well timed ibuprofin helped me get along.  The tour of Budapest was absolutely beautiful.  

The city is nice in a different way than Prague is.  Prague is very touristy, and while the buildings are beautiful, it feels kind of like an amusement park.  Budapest feels like a real functioning city that happens to be very historical and beautiful.  We had free time in the afternoon after the bus tour. A group of us went to a market, that was kind of like the city’s worst kept secret.   It was a gigantic building that might have been a train station in a previous life.  The top floor was a tourist market with some food (I got a Hungarian brother of the kielbasa which was not exactly delicious).  The ground floor was a fresh food market, and beneath was a real supermarket.  This was the first time I was able to get some shopping done.  I got …..  waaaait a second.  I can’t tell you that.  But, I hope you all like them.  Much of the group met up again at 2:30 and went for a walking tour of the city.  It was a beautiful walk.  We had a little more free time after that, and a few of us went back to the market to get one more item after getting the advice of our guide.  We walked back and got back onto the bus to head off for our boat trip.  We just went up and down the Danube a few times, but it was absolutely beautiful.  

After that we headed off to dinner.  Hungarian food is extremely rich, from what I can tell, and very filling.  After heading back to the hotel for a few minutes, and a much needed change of socks, the same group from the night before went off to a, much bigger this time, bar.  It was an old storage building or something, and the story that they tell tourists is that it was bombed during WWII and never restored, but I have it on good authority that that is untrue.  Mike, Matt, and  I decided to make a night of it, and to try absinth.  I wasn’t expecting any psychedilic experience, nor did I want one.  It was really just about the same as any other drink, except they light  it on fire and stir in some sugar first.  We hung out there for a few hours and eventually found a cab to take us back to the hotel.  Right now I’m on the bus that’s taking us to Austria.  We have our driver Tibor back, too.  Yesterday was his day off.  Both he and Jürgen met up with their girlfriends in Budapest, so we’ll see if they aren’t happier for the next few days.

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