15.10.2009 - 19.10.2009
I had the ultimate Eurotrip over the weekend. I planned to tag along the day before leaving, and five of us travelled in an authentic Italian Fiat in search of a land we knew little about - Budapest. What would people do without the internet?
After google mapping our way through northern Italy at an eager midnight rush, we napped at a truck stop until sunrise. We got lost for long enough in Slovenia to constitute it counting as one of our travel destinations. I could guide you through the streets of Ptuj if you really wanted.
Our first day was greeted with cold weather but warm feelings. We were very shocked at how drastically the weather had changed. Maybe I should have considered the northern coordinates a little better – the price of spontaneity!
Everything was ok once I bought my Russian style hat (which I am currently wearing in my apartment at 12:30 am because we don’t get heat until November 1st !). To top it off we ate Hungarian goulash soup, and drank palinka and hot wine. I am excited to bring the recipe for hot wine back home. Think hot apple cider mixed with wine. You can’t go wrong.
The currency was the only place we went wrong on our trip. We were so lost in translation with Huffs that Shani ended up purchasing something for 100 euros instead of the 10 euros she had thought it was. We all learned our lesson there. I did feel pretty cool holding 50,000 huffs though.
We found a cheap place to relax after being uber tourists all day in Budapest. Our favourite submarine style pub sold beer for 3 euros a liter or the ever so confusing 750 Huffs. We played drinking games there with the Canada cards that I had brought with me. I ended up embarrassing myself while trying to teach an English lesson to my American friends. They pronounce things differently than I do. For example I say “pAsta” they say “pAWsta”. I went off with.. “Canada, Milan, Pasta, Jalapeno…” The list goes on and on unfortunately until Shani said to me “Jessica, you can pronounce your a’s differently!” My voice of reason.
The second day we explored Buda (one side of the Danube River) and Pest (the other side of the Danube River) by foot. We walked all three of the beautiful bridges, explored the parliament buildings, the palace, castles. The buildings were amazing in Budapest, but I find myself repeating that phrase about every place I visit. Perhaps I am just much too accustomed to Canadian architecture that anything and everything else is so amazing. No, they really are just that beautiful. I found myself thinking of my brother and his obsession with the movie Aladin as a child. The parliament buildings in Budapest look just like the palace! We also went to the Terror Haza Museum. The museum was to do with the communist regime in Hungary. It was very humbling.
After our depression wore off from the museum, we headed back to the hostel. While I was putting on my make up in the bathroom I asked, “Is there anywhere we can drive tomorrow that is close?” After thinking about it, we decided on a complete whim to drive to Vienna the following morning. It was apparently only 2 hours away! What an adventure, and why not? After the planning, we found a pub crawl through our hostel to go to that night. Only 3400…huffs that is. Not a bad deal with the tagline of “free shots all night”.
The shots ended up just being my favourite sugary drink as a child – Tang. Or that it was it seemed like. The boys of our group weren’t having it, and from there we discovered the infamous absinth. We caramelized sugar on spoons with a lighter and away we went.
And further and further away we ended up. The two girls and I got lost from the pub crawl group after a desperate search for a bathroom and ended up bartering with a taxi to get home. Me – I crawled out of the taxi. NOT to play the part I swear, but I did find the irony of a pub crawl mildly amusing.
The day trip in Vienna was a hangover and a half. We didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as we should have because of that and the fact that we were only there for four hours – one and a half of which we were eating. It was beautiful nonetheless. There was a neat circus/carnival going on, but my hangover kicked into overdrive in the crowd. We ate schnitzel, and my body was happy to see meat. Starbucks was shamefully one of the highlights of Vienna for me. I was able to find a to-go mug and a coffee bigger than a tequila shot. Happy hangover!
I feel like I have degraded Vienna in writing that paragraph. The palace, the parliament buildings, it is spectacular. The state of mind I was in was not, and we didn't have enough time. I need to go back and do it justice – I feel guilty. I am still so happy to have seen it.
We drove until exhaustion and stayed the night in our car. The one person who didn’t make an effort to keep the driver company was the one who had energy during the 8 hours in which we were actually supposed to sleep. How convenient. After a couple of minutes of what seemed like the longest text message of my life, I said “Josh, what the hell are you doing?”, “I’m playing tetris on my phone,” he replied. “It’s Chinese torture!” Just as I thought I was the naggy bitch, everyone else told him off as well. Sweet dreams.
We planned our roadtrip perfectly. We basically woke up in the Austrian Alps! How beautiful!!! I have a slight bias toward the Rockies, but the Alps go for miles! We had breakfast in a little mountain town in Italy before stumbling upon the Dolomite Mountains. The Dolomites are a famous mountain range in Italy primarily abundant with Germans speaking Italians. It is similar to Quebec because they tried to separate from Italy and be part of Germany. They were beautiful rocky cliffs with vegetation growing on parts of them. It was a wonderful way to spend the remainder of the road trip.
Budapest was my favourite trip so far. It was just a really fun group of people and a great place to be. The fact that it was a road trip added to it for sure. The food is fantastic. Oh flavor how I love thee. The way to my heart is through my stomach. Also, usually I have a guide book where I pretty much know exactly what to go and see, but I loved the spontaneity of that trip. We explored, and it was more about the journey and not the destination.
I am going to Paris for the weekend. It is supposed to rain and everyone from our group of internationals has said bad things about Paris, but I’m still so excited! I will have a photo of the Eiffel tower for you guys next week.
Love and miss you,