Sunday, January 20, 2008

In Hungary; Cold, Tired & Alone…

After leaving Tess at the airport I was relieved to feel nearly nothing when Betty boarded an airport shuttle bus at 8.30 this morning. It could be because I have only been awake for about 40 minutes, it could b anything, but its probably nothing.

Last night we (after I waited 40 minutes for Betty at the station) wandered around Budapest in what seemed like a completely random manner, but eventually ended up at a street where Betty announced her favorite Teahouse was. It was a very “alternative” sort of place, dark corners, incense, candles, beanbags, and of course… Tea. All sorts of teas mixed with different herbs and things like rosehip and dandelion ankle. Not really. But you get my gist… it was very nice, so we stayed there for a while and had a pot of Tea each. Which is an enormous amount of tea I realized later when my bladder was nearly bursting. And a chocolate biscuit.

From there, with Betty’s completely hopeless sense of direction we eventually made it to what translated as the “Square of Heroes-sort-of” although surprisingly that isn’t a very literal translation as Hungary apparently doesn’t like too many people, let alone heroes… anyway it was somewhere I had been on my Contiki and since the photos of that part of my journey are in Limbo it was lovely to see it again… It really is a beautifully made square decked out with more Heroes-sort-of than you could throw a stick at… and a good thing they aren’t alive, cause they don’t look like the sort of people you’d want to throw a stick at. Very Big Swords. The square its self is surrounded on 2 sides by quite nice looking museums and on the back by the Danube river of which a large section has been frozen and turned into an ice skating park. So we decided to go skating… this was much bigger than the rink I went on with Tess out the front of the Natural History Museum in London, but crowded as it was and the fact that the ice desperately needed Zamboniing made it no more or less fun than the last time. After an hour skating my butt still hurts… not from falling over mind you, just from using muscles that otherwise don’t get used… Anyway, it was a really beautiful setting with the medieval castle in the background – Cinderella style, but as with the rest of Budapest, before the glass slipper…

After that and seemingly endless bus, tram and underground changes later, we got to a mall where Betty and her friend Marie-Claude were going to watch a movie. Instead I decided to climb a hill… it turned out not to be the hill that I thought I was going to climb. Actually it was better for 2 reasons. The first being that it was a considerably smaller hill, and the second that the view and the remains of old Buda lit up at night time were absolutely breathtaking. I had been there during the day with Contiki but from another direction, so until reaching an enormous but nearly completely scaffold covered cathedral, I really still didn’t know where I was… after taking a silly amount of photos, I Came back down and sat in the mall and momentarily picked up some free internet from nearby… just enough time to poke some people on Facebook… and then we went back to the train station and picked up my backpack. The place we entrusted it to looking like it might have body’s hanging on hooks in a cool room out the back and racks of shotguns and AK-47s JUST out of sight, yet still within reach… My bag was in one piece anyway, so I shouldered it to the slight gasps of all watching and continued on my way…

From there we made the hour tram/bus/subway ride back to Marie-Claude’s house, had a very nice Hungarian Stew and some sausages made with God-I-Hope-This-Is-Rice… then I went to sleep.

Woke up. Decided to not come to see Betty off as I was sleepy, then changed my mind when I realized, or whatever you want to call it, that if I didn’t get up I would stay in bed ALL day and sleep. And seeing as how I leave tomorrow I thought I should take the opportunity to see the city sans enormously awkward backpack.

So now I’m sitting in of all places not a Starbucks (sorry dad, I was looking for a mug!) but a Gloria Jeans Coffee shop at the top of a 4 or 5 story shopping centre looking out over a relatively busy intersection and a Tram/Bus stop and a city that while in Places Filthy, Graffitied, Vandalized and so Post-Communist-eastern-block that I feel as though I could be in Russia itself (but for the fact that there are FAR fewer big fluffy hats). Its has Beauty, History and a certain Charm that’s maybe easiest to describe as “like Vienna’s Little Dirty Homeless Brother” and a population that, from what I’ve experienced, are friendly, and happier than they seemingly rightly should be.

Only thing is that their language is so strange… really not easy to make sense of. At least in French, German, Italian, and Spanish you can generally find SOME similar or recognizable words to make some sense of a sentence or sign. Here everything is S’s G’s Z’s and Y’s. Betty said something about it being most similar to one of the Scandinavian countries languages, which one I forget… but its interesting and I guess no more unlikely than the fact that Bosco-Gurin in Switzerland is still speaking the same ancient German dialect that they were when they settled there in the 1200’s even thought the surrounding country speaks Italian in that area… Or maybe its because they speak Italian… *shrugs* maybe they didn’t like Italy. Who knows.

The other end of the day…

All this touristy shit has been put into perspective just now… crossing the road a few minutes ago to see the remains of a Husky that must have been hit hard by a car – its owner inconsolably crying.. traffic going slowly around, people gawking… it really was terrible… Otherwise my day was good…. I was a movie to fill in a few hours. American Gangster with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington… really a very good film, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to nearly anyone. From there I hopped on a tram and came back to the part of the city that I saw on my brief stay with Contiki… wandered around for a while and then headed up the other mountain… the one I though I was going up yesterday, Got a lot more photos. Particularly interesting was an enormous murder of crows. I’ve NEVER seen so many in one place.. I don’t know if that’s meant to be good or bad luck… Bad I guess if you have a Husky just about to be hit by a car. Or the driver of the car too I guess…Not good… the image is burned into my head. Not an image I wanted to take away from Budapest

And right now I’m sitting in a very small face and apart from an Australian couple from Melbourne, here on school holidays with their kids, that I just had a chat to and who just left, I’m the only one here… the Waitresses friend and her have been sitting reading, and her friend keeps looking over at me and smiling… *coughs* anyway, its really quite quiet, its warm, and the coffee is okay… Its just that I have a headache and I have to wait for Marie-Claude to finish work and some other stuff, then I’ll get back, re-type this as I wrote it in a notepad, and go to sleep before I head to Vienna tomorrow. Can’t wait – they have an Aussie pub and its Gorgeous at night time… like here but clean.

More soon


There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
- Pablo Picasso

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