Grand Tour VI


Originally written on September 28, 2005

Hello everyone!!!

This is probably going to be the second last if not the last email I am writing on this trip. I am back in Budapest after spending 10 days with my family in Serbia, and tomorrow I am flying to London, my final destination.

 In my hostel room there is a world map, and until today I didn’t realize the distance I have covered in nearly six weeks. I’m ready to go home although I cannot deny this trip has been fun. There’s been a lot of walking and climbing, and my calves are in the best shape ever!!! 😛

On the way to Budapest from Vienna, I sat next to an old lady, and we had a nice chat. She thought her stories were not interesting, but I encouraged her to continue. We started taking accidentally because I had several questions about Hungary and noticed that she spoke Hungarian as well as German. Anyhow, she told me her life story and what kind of difficulties her family had to go through after the WWII. It’s always great to hear such stories as they offer more than facts that could be found in history books. At the same time, it is sad that her and my family went through similar difficulties although there is a 60 year gap between the events …

Budapest – is a lovely city, and it can be a nice weekend trip if one lives relatively nearby. I was pleasantly surprised although many have already said nice things about it.

Castle Hill at night, Budapest

I tried goulash on the first night and burned my tongue. It was my mistake, though because I was watching a soccer game while eating. The meal, itself, was nothing special; it was a simple stew that my mother prepares once in a while. I never thought of that stew as goulash. 😦

In addition, the prices are not as high in Hungary as in Western Europe which is a bonus. Since euro is not the currency in Hungary, it reminded me of the time before 1999. It’s much easier these days to travel throughout Europe when many countries use the same currency. One doesn’t have to think about conversion at all.

Chain Bridge over Danube at night, Budapest

One thing I’ve ignored is the language, though. It’s difficult to pronounce anything in Hungarian, and nothing makes any sense since the language doesn’t belong to the Indo-European family of languages. German used to be spoken widely, so when I have to speak to someone, I leave up to them whether they wish to communicate in German or English.

The first metro in continental Europe was built in Budapest, and I took a ride in it. It was so cute and tiny; an interesting melody is played each time the train is about to depart, and the doors close. The metro stations are also nice decorated with different tile designs.

The only down-side is the amount of illegal prostitution and sex business that goes around. Even in Amsterdam, prostitutes are not annoying, and they don’t follow you several meters as they do in Budapest. I mean – do I look THAT desperate, lady! lol…

Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

There isn’t much I could say about my stay in Serbia except that was wonderful and much better than expected. It didn’t feel as years had passed by since I saw my family and friends last time. It felt more like we continued the conversation that we started 7 years ago. 🙂 Everyone told me that I had some sort of positive aura around me. I honestly don’t know what they were talking about, but I did tell them that I tried to be as optimistic as possible; that’s something people have lost in this country unfortunately.

Vladicin Dvor, Novi Sad, Serbia

As I’ve written, I’m in Budapest right now. I’ve already seen everything I wanted to see aside from visiting one of many thermal spas. I might go tomorrow morning if everything goes well. There are a couple of them I want to check out. One has been in use since the 14. century when the Ottomans ruled this region, and another one was built in Art Deco style.

I look forward to spending time in London. It’s been several weeks since I’ve been clubbing, and my bank account says I could spend some extra money. Soooo here I go then …lol…

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