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Published: October 7th 2007
Well, it’s about time I’ve left the westernized cheese and beer world of Europe, and on to the oddities of the East! Budapest is my gateway to …. Weird food! Whoa! More on that soon… Through the rain and beer, I’ve managed to catch myself a sweet little cold, with a whooping cough and runny nose for good measure! I decided since I rocketed through 8 cities in 3 weeks, maybe it was time to take a break, relax, and recover. Besides, Bonnie’s due in my time zone soon, and we all know I need to be in top form for that visit!! I found a heck of a deal in Budapest at a thermal bath/spa resort on Margaret Island. It’s the largest park in Budapest, on an island in the middle of the Danube. Heaven! Almost. I mean, my heaven would have a lot more cheese and bacon….but I digress.
I’ve been in Budapest for four days now, two of which I have spent exploring this amazing island! As soon as I leave my hotel there are waterfalls, sculptures, lily pond pools, botanical gardens, and ruins of ancient churches from the 13th century! I’ve also discovered a petting zoo
man they grow them big out here!
can u spy the people and golf cart? dwarfed!
with peacocks, sheep, and deer, as well as a fountain that dances to music every 15 minutes! Sure, it’s not the Bellagio fountains, but I think the same love and effort is there! Not to mention that people are actually invited to sit and stay a while next to this fountain on the grassy knolls. J They also have a track around the entire perimeter of the island (it’s about 5000m a-round) with that squishy track lay that’s good for your knees. How thoughtful! I’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know my camera, as well as studying my photography book - experimenting with apertures, shutter speeds, and exposure. It’s been super interesting - I’m absolutely amazed at what a difference these settings make and I’m looking forward to taking unbelievable pictures in my next destinations!
I also went to my first yoga class - I've been doing it on my own for years so - was very excited to finally go to a class and found out if - was doing the poses properly! Except the class was in Hungarian!! 😉 The teacher was really nice, she would say the poses in english if I looked
lost - but it was pretty easy to just follow the group! (Stay with da gwoup!!!) I was pleased that she had few corrections for me, but seriosly we spent about 20m before and after "resting/relaxing" where she was chanting in Hungarian! I was so bored! I love stretching and doing the poses, but sitting and breathing for 40m is completely lost on me - especially since my Hungarian is a little rusty!
And of course, I’m resting, trying to kick this illness! I’ve been in the sauna about twice a day - is it possible to over-sauna? I’m becoming a professional. I use the little water bucket a lot, the plunge pool between sauna sessions (brrrrrr….), and even find myself tipping the sand timer when I walk in! There are three thermal baths here that arise from springs on the island, reported to cure arthritis, gastric pain, and a host of other old people problems. I’m the youngest at the hotel by about 55 years, but that’s OK by me - keeps me out of trouble!
Of course my favorite thing in Budapest is….the food! NOT! OK, first morning, I wake up and I’m excited for my
included breakfast buffet! The breakfast buffets are always a surprise and an indication for the things to come gastronomically. First section….salad things. Hmmmm. It’s 8am. I don’t want a salad - not that I would even want these things on my salad because they are mostly unidentifiable or look like fish heads or whale brain. OK, cheese and meat section! Sweet! Oh. That’s not meat. That’s labeled “Meat Paste.” And damn if it doesn’t look like it! Imagine liverwurst in 4 different offerings - sliced in thin slices - packed with olives and what I hope are vegetables! NEXT. Cereal! Sigh. Safety. I pour myself some corn flakes, and top it with milk….why does my bowl feel hot? At first bite I know why - because my milk is boiling hot!?!?! Lastly, I went for the homemade sausage. I love sausage! Can't be bad! I've had spicy, bland, hot, cold, I like 'em all! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SAUSAGE; it was the worst taste, texture, everything! I had to spit it out in my napkin for fear of vomiting all over the table! Now I know how Aly might feel if we slipped some meat in her soup. Bread.
This was great....
they were making the two boys crack the pulley from the top of the hill and pull the boat out of the river!
Bread is good! Bread is safe. Bread is what I’ve been living on since arrival! They don’t call it HUNGARY for no good reason! Even though the menus are in English - they say things like stuffed goose eggs, cold liver paste, and curd cheese pancakes. It’s been interesting to say the least! I know now that the next 7 weeks are going to be a taste test of the fittest! And who knows if I will survive!
I did spend one day in the city exploring, and for the first time took a city bus tour for 3 hours. The tour was pretty boring, but this is the first city I’ve been to that has been too large to explore by foot. I saw all the major sites, and guess I must be Europe architectured out, because although they were magnificent and detailed, I found myself wanting to take a nap with the high school tour group in front of me! We did get a few minutes at the top of the hill at the Citadel, which is where I took the panorama shots - impressive! While here, I finished an amazing book called “The Swarm” about the
oceans rising up and fighting back! I picked it up because it was thick, but it ended up being an absolute thought provoking page-turner! I was sad for it to end, but luckily found a bookstore with English books right away! I just started a collection of short stories by Issac Asimov (science-fiction author of the 3 laws of robotics) and also picked up a book about a guy who traveled the world tasting all the beers! Hmmmm, does that sound familiar?
My whirlwind tour of Europe is drawing to a close, and I feel like I missed most of the continent! J I had so many great suggestions of awesome places to visit and I didn’t make it to many of them - I only spent 3 days in each city, and that wasn’t nearly enough! BUT, that was the plan all along - I wasn’t even planning on visiting Europe on this world tour, since I feel that it’s the most accessible continent for me in the future. So I do feel lucky for the little - and super awesomeness - that I saw! Despite my trepidation about the food that awaits me, I am really looking
forward to the whirlwind and unknown of the East! See you on the other side of the world!!!!
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