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Published: December 27th 2011
The floor of the Quiet Room was cold, hard and not particularly sanitary. It was also the only place I could find to sleep off the hours before my flight to Budapest. It was 1am and the temperature outside Doha International Airport was pushing 40 degrees. Inside was a chilly 18 (feels like 10 when you’re sleeping on the floor). I woke up and looked at my phone with a start. How could I have slept for 7 hours and missed boarding? Turns out I was worrying needlessly – my phone was still on Kathmandu time and I had only slept 45 minutes. The hours passed in a haze of tea, internet use and aimless wandering before my flight was finally called. Out into the searing heat and onto a shuttle bus, we were soon en route to my birthplace.
Eszter was such a wonderful hostess. I am lucky to call her my cousin. A quick shower and change and we set off sightseeing. The day was perfect – sunny and warm without a hint of humidity. I was immediately enamoured with the sprawling metropolis that is Buda-Pest. We decided to make the most of Eszters only day off by
going to Esztergom, a reportedly picturesque town a stones throw from the Slovakian border. Eszter arranged our train tickets and before I knew it, we were on our way seated onboard one of the cleanest and most modern trains I've ever been on. I've since discovered this is something of a rarity but it was nonetheless a nice introduction to train travel in Hungary. We were about half an hour into the trip when Eszter began to suspect that something wasn't right. A quick discussion with the ticket inspector indeed confirmed that we were not on the train heading to Esztergom. There wasn't much we could do about it so we decided to get off at the next stop and see where fate had led us.
Pilisvörösvár was exactly what I had imagined a small Hungarian town to look like - paraszt
houses lined the quiet streets along with a cukrázda
, supermarket, a kocsma
or two and a couple of használtruha
shops. We wandered the quiet streets before we happened upon a lake, tucked away on the outskirts of town. We found a quiet spot and decided to kick back and enjoy the sunset with a beer we had
acquired along the way. Eszter decided to make the most of the warm evening by going for a dip in the murky waters. I opted to stay on dry land and offered myself to the masses of mosquitoes teeming on the banks (I think I'm completely desensitised to mozzie bites after having been to Nepal during monsoon season!). After the sun had set, we packed up and bused it back to Budapest, completely content after a perfect end to the day.
The following 10 days passed languidly with nothing to worry about except what to see )Gellért Hill, Vásárcsarnok, Váci Utca to name a few), which clothes to buy and where to drink. One particularly alcohol affected night, I made a friend while attending to my business in the ladies room (more commonly referred to as a toilet friend). Larissa was a German student studying in Budapest and was out clubbing with her parents who had come to visit for the weekend. When 5am drew close, we put the tired oldies into a cab and set off to find somewhere to continue the party. Hajogyari Sziget (Boat Factory Island or something like that) is in the middle of the
Duna accessible by a single bridge, somewhere on the Buda side. We caught a tram to Buda and jumped on the first bus we saw going in the islands’ direction. As it turned out, we got off about 4 stops too early and were forced to complete the remainder of the journey on foot. A 20 minute walk along the banks of the Duna and the bridge was finally in sight. Mangy looking people were scattered around everywhere and we knew we were close. Stepping onto the bridge, banging beats were there to guide us the rest of the way. Coronita Bar was packed to the gills and things were just getting warmed up. There’s nothing like watching the sun rise with a beer and a ciggie or 10, while thumping trance reverberates through your body. Unfortunately, Larissa’s planned trip to IKEA with the oldies meant our recovery session ended several hours before the official 5pm finish. I guess there’s always next time…
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