Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Budapest Trip with Niki

My weekend in Budapest began with an hour+ drive to Szolnok, courtesy of Adam. He was going home for the weekend and offered to drive Niki and I to the Szolnok train station as it would reduce our travel time. After that day's training, we packed our things and started on our way. The train ride from Szolnok to Budapest would only be an hour. From there, we took a city bus to the outlying suburbs where Niki's family lives. Her mother had taken the day off of work to prepare for our visit. We were greeted by the traditional Hungarian cheek-kiss, which of course I botched, before being ushered inside for a snack of lunch meat, cheese, and various vegetables. Finally we showered off our travels and headed to Niki's room for bed.
We woke a little after 10 and had a family breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried ham, crescent rolls, various meats and cheeses, and veggies. Niki's father Istvan (Stephen) took us to his auto repair shop - the 2nd largest in Hungary - and then to the phone store in hopes to get Niki a new iPhone. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful on our mission. Instead, we ended up shopping for Istvan's birthday gift from the family: a new watch. Back at home Kati, Niki's mother, had lunch waiting. The food was delicious! We ate garlic and red onion soup with cheese, ground meat with rice and green beans casserole, add some sour cream and VIOLA! For dessert, Kati made apple pie...yummo :) Niki and I drank some coffee before venturing out back into the city for some sightseeing and shopping.

First stop: Hősök tere. "Hero Square", as it is called in English, is surrounded by the Museum of Fine Arts and Palace of Arts. Located at the end of Andrassy Avenue located near the City Park. There is a giant column erect in the center of the square, with the archangel Gabriel located at the top holding the crown of St Stephen, the first king of Hungary. At the base of the column sit 7 horsemen, who represent the Magyar chieftains who led the Hungarian people to the Carpathian basin. Behind this monument are two semicircular colonnades, each with 7 statues representing great figures in Hungarian history. Next we ventured towards the city park, taking in the various historical sights. We passed the Műjégpálya Ice Rink, which is currently under construction before stopping for photo opportunities in front of the Vajdahunyad Castle. Further down the street, you could find the famous Széchenyi thermal baths and swimming pool. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs; the water has many minerals that include sulphate, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate and a significant amount of fluoride acid and metaboric acid. Our walk back towards Hero Square took us past the City Zoo//Botanical Gardens and the famous Gundel Restaurant. We took the yellow M1, Millennium Line downtown to Vörösmarty Square to meet up with Niki's sister, Ivi, for some shopping. After a few purchases, we went our separate ways: Niki and I to Oktogon intersection to have dinner, and her sister met with their parents to head home. Niki and I went to TGI Fridays for some American hamburgers and cocktails. Taking the metro and bus back home, we were exhausted and unsure if we would make it out to the disco with Ivi. Nothing a cup of coffee can't cure. We dressed quickly and rushed to catch the tram. Cue a series of unfortunate events:
1, it was raining.
2, we left the flat too late to catch the last subway so after being dropped off by the tram we sprinted through the rain in attempts to catch our bus.
3, we went to the wrong bus stop. Once realizing this mistake, we ran further down the road just in time to
4, watch our real bus speed past us. BOSMEG!
Luckily, the bus driver from the first bus stop we went to took pity on us and offered to drive us part of the way so we could try to catch the bus again. Köszönöm szépen!!! We rode the bus a few more stops to where we would catch a tram to take us to the...mall? Apparently at night, this mall opens a few pubs//bars as discos. Interesting. We met up with Ivi, split a bottle of champagne before heading upstairs to the party. We danced the night away, meeting some of the local Hungarian basketball players. Many of the American bball players were out that night, and I was definitely overwhelmed by all the English that was spoken. We finally were ready to call it a night around 4:30, heading out to find some kebabs to cure our midnight-munchies.
We slept until around noon the next day, packed our things and headed to the train station to head back home to Bekescsaba. It was a great weekend full of fun and laughter.
Until next time readers...szia!

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