Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Long “Weekend” in Budapest

In the 20-odd days since I last updated this, I have finished my research project (46 pages of work, what up), traveled some more, gotten rained on, and eaten scones to my heart’s content. Before we get to those stories, let me take you back, way back, to March 22nd, when my friends Alicia, Anna, and I spent a 7-day-long “weekend” traveling Central and Eastern Europe.
Our first stop was in Budapest (pronounced Budapesht), where we spent three days exploring Buda (the old, hilly side of the River Danube) and Pest (the flat, newer side where our flat was). It was an interesting trip, because Hungary is now the furthest east I’ve ever been and it really felt different in many ways from Western Europe. We took a walking tour of the city on our first morning and our tour guide reminded us that she, a 25 year old woman, was born under Communism. It wasn’t all that long ago.

After our walking tour, we headed back to Pest to climb up to the top of St. Stephan’s to get that always-cool view of the whole city at our feet.

We went from the church to the opera! Anna, resident music nerd, found us tickets to Straus’ opera “Arabella.” Normally tickets are super cheap but there was a music festival going on so our tickets cost a bit more but we also got box seats...super fancy. The opera was in Italian and the projections were in Hungarian so afterwards we spent dinner trying to figure out what, exactly, it was all about. We cooked dinner in our flat’s kitchen, the smallest I have ever seen. There was hardly space to turn around, but it was just so adorable!

The next day we went to the Holocaust Museum, an incredibly touching experience especially in the country from which many Jews and Gypsies were deported. We decompressed with a lunch of goulash and an afternoon in one of the famous Budapest baths.

We spent our last day in Budapest at the synagogue, enriching what we’d learned at the Holocaust Museum. It was a beautiful building filled with so much history - there even remained part of the wall that was used to created the Jewish ghetto.

On that happy note, we left Budapest and hopped on a train to Prague. x

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