Posts Tagged With: Budapest

My Very Own Noah…

When we were disembarking from the free Danube River Cruise, My Aussie Mate remarked on how quickly the water was moving.  Upon checking it out myself, I realized she was right but didn’t clue in on how the speed and extremely high water levels were about to impact my life in the next few days.  Sadly, I just went about my business doing the tourist thing the best I could with my sprain and got ready to be on my own from the moment I jumped on the train to Vienna.  Everything was just business as usual until the day I had to get on that train to Vienna.  What set that day apart from the ones before it was that My Aussie Mate was leaving at the crack of dawn to catch her flight back to Dublin so she could be at work on time. We bid adieu when she left to catch her taxi and I went back to sleep thinking that she was on her way.  What I forgot to calculate into this equation was that she would hop into a cab with a moronic driver who was about to take her out to the middle of nowhere. Without going into all the gory details, her idiot driver had caused her to miss her flight which lead to work screaming at her to get on the next available flight to Dublin – hell or high water! Between the texting, trying to ensure she wasn’t lost in some remote part of Budapest, and looking up flight details in order to help – no sleep was had by yours truly.  By mid-morning, we were reunited once again only to say goodbye as it was my time to leave.

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Photo of a town close to Vienna taken from a news article from June 2013

I left her as she settled down for a quick nap before attempting to fly back to Dublin once again.  As for me, I quickly made my way to the train station and was comfortable seated and contemplating a cat nap as the train was pulling out.  As my eyes were getting heavy with sleep – a man started yelling at us and sadly, the only words in English were GET OUT!  I had no idea what he was saying and nobody was able to translate.  There were only 3 of us that were English speakers and we were baffled as to what was going on as all we knew was the train was nowhere near Vienna.  With no idea what the hell was going on, we followed the crowds off the train and across the tracks until a little tiny hut of a train station was visible.  Upon entering the hut, I realized that it was nothing but a shell of a building that was just being occupied by what look like the train before us.  There were no free walls to lean up again and barely a square inch that I could claim as my own.  Christ on a bike!

Photo borrowed from news articles back in June 2013

Photo of Vienna borrowed from news articles back in June 2013

As I started to wonder what the hell I was going to do, this blonde hurricane of a woman came through screaming that she’d gotten a cab to Vienna and she could take 3 more if we were willing to split the fare with her.  I know I always say never let anyone transport you from location A to B as this is how you wind up in a garbage bag but there was a desperation in the air that made me jump up and tell her that I was in.  Right after that, a handful of Koreans followed suit and we marched ever so quickly around the corner to where the cab was waiting for us.  In my head I was thinking this could be the beginning of a horror movie but proceeded to take a seat and hope for the best.  The blonde lady was in the front seat next to the driver talking a mile a minute as if she already knew him – none of which I could understand a word of so I really couldn’t tell what was going on.  The Koreans were quiet and waiting on her every word for the next set of instructions.  I decided that despite how tired I felt, this was the wrong time to take a nap.  Instead, I hatched up a kamikaze dive and roll strategy encase we pulled off the highway and looked to be going somewhere sinister.  Luckily for me, I never had to put this plan into action as all the road signs were pointing to Vienna and after about an hour, we pulled into the city.

Photo from a town near Vienna taken from a news article

Photo from a town near Vienna taken from a news article back in June 2013

It may have been a little miracle but I had made it to some random street corner in rainy Vienna.  What the blonde lady was able to tell us in the car was that the Danube River was flooding due to the amount of rain and we were lucky ones who got out as she’s spent a few days trapped in that train station in the past.  As we parted ways, I looked for the metro sign so I could make my way to the hostel and get myself a wifi connection to figure out what was actually going on and what my plan of action would have to be going forward.

Categories: AUSTRIA, austria: vienna | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Budapest – Not Exactly As Planned

I had big plans for Budapest but unfortunately, most of that involved a fair bit of walking.  As we got closer to our Budapest dates, it became obvious that my ankle situation pretty much guaranteed that all our original plans were getting tossed out the window. Being the brilliant friend that she is, My Aussie Mate said that it didn’t matter much as she wasn’t all that fussed about walking around in the rain anyway.  With a heavy heart, I backed out of our street art tour and purchased tickets for the hop on/off tourist bus.  To top off the rest of the time in Budapest, we opted for other sedentary activities such as the dinner jazz cruise and a day at the thermal baths.  What was too late to rearrange was our hostel which was located on the 2nd floor and required either a walk up a flight of stairs or the use of a very old and rather scary elevator.  Sadly, in my state, we had to opt for the elevator ride each and every time and pray like hell that we didn’t get stuck or drop to our deaths.

That's me, trapped inside a tourist bus!

That’s me, trapped inside a tourist bus!

As each day began and ended with a fright, I think it was safe to say that our time in Budapest went rather well since we’re still alive to tell the tale.  Regardless of all that elevator drama, the tourist bus teamed up with our metro pass enabled us to get to most of the destinations struggle free.  If I had to do it again with a strong sturdy ankle, I’m not sure I would have spent my time doing things in the same manner but to my amazement, the tourist bus provided some interesting moments.  Yes, we made it to all the major attractions and then some without any real hobbling involved but that’s not what I’m talking about.  Other than witnessing a dog touring around with us, it also turned out to have free wifi!  Granted, it didn’t work on all the buses but we got it working on one which allowed My Aussie Mate’s sister to virtually join us on a tour in Budapest.  That one split second of shits and giggles was enough to make the purchase of the tourist bus a worthwhile investment.  Well that and the freebies included with the ticket such as free goulash and a cruise on the Danube River.

The view from the free goulash stop

The view from the free goulash stop

The famous bridge with the tongueless lions

The famous bridge with the tongueless lions

Since we already booked our dinner jazz cruise when we found out about the free cruise extra so we decided to be good Samaritans and gift it over to the people we were sharing our room with.  Fortunately, before we could put our good deed into action, it was time for us to board the boat.  I say fortunately because this dinner jazz cruise was a complete and total bust.  It seemed like everything was happening at the same time so we could either be outside to enjoy the view, or eat/listen to the mediocre band that they had playing.  Trying to do more than this seemed rather difficult or maybe it was that I was being a grouch since the dinner was buffet style thus making it difficult for me to fight the crowds and eat properly.  Thankfully, the horrible experience on the dinner jazz cruise turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  The thing was that neither one of us was full from the meal and decided to salvage the night by finding some drinks and maybe late night munchies and thus, separated from the buzzard group and venture back to where we believed we had seen bars and restaurants earlier in the day.

The view from the free Danube River Cruise

The view from the free Danube River Cruise

Turns out we took a wrong turn somewhere along the way so instead of winding up in a square full of bars, we found ourselves on the outskirts of what turned out to be a wine festival.  So we did what anyone else in there right minds would do – join in.  There was wine, food, and a band playing on stage.  Sure, we had no clue where we were but at that moment, it really didn’t matter.  After this moment, the rest of the trip followed the up swing.  We jumped onboard our free Danube River cruise and got the photos that we were so desperate to snap and then ended our time in Budapest by getting the VIP treatment at the thermal baths.

Free fruit with the VIP package at the thermal baths

Free fruit with the VIP package at the thermal baths

The moment when the sun peaked out at the outdoor pools of the thermal bath

The moment when the sun peaked out at the outdoor pools of the thermal baths

Despite all the factors working against us, there was just something about Budapest that I liked.  I can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s enough of a gut feeling to know that I will find my way back here one day and will hopefully be able to do some of those things that were on the original agenda.

Categories: HUNGARY, hungary: budapest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throwing My Hat In The Ring!

Back in the day when I was young and impressionable, I worked with this lady who was an absolute contest whore.  No matter how much she won, she would insist that it was just a numbers game and only possible if you threw your hat in the ring.  Everyday she’d be entering everything in sight and after months of careful observation (and no, not of the stalker variety!), I started to think maybe she’s right.  Her winnings went from little prizes such as a movie ticket here to a gift certificate there all the way to a rather impressive celebrity studded trip to the Grammys.  And somewhere between that and munching on a year’s supply of free bread she won for the office  – I became a believer.

Despite the fact that I morphed into a contest whore just like her, she hadn’t crossed my mind in years until I stumbled upon Nomadic Matt‘s latest contest.  I saw the headline, Win a 12 Day Trip to Europe!  and held my breath as I clicked the link.  Yes, I realize that holding my breath is more likely to guarantee me passing out than winning but some habits are hard to break – DON’T JUDGE!  Anyway, like her, I had won a lot of little prizes such as a digital frame here to a gift basket there but nothing came close to her Grammy trip.  As I read the details of Matt’s contest – it became obvious this was my equivalent to a celebrity studded Grammy trip!  I totally understand that on this 12 day trip there wouldn’t be any celebrities or red carpets but what I get is a self customized Budapest, Prague, Vienna trip that allows for all the shits and giggles that an odd little lass like me could handle.  That in my eyes is worth just as much as going to the Grammys and being amongst all the a-listers a girl like me could barely handle.

Granted I’ve already relocated to Europe to execute on my mission of no stone unturned which will eventually include visits to Budapest, Prague, and Vienna but what winning this contest affords me the opportunity to put my Tour De Street Art into action a lot quicker than originally anticipated.  Even though Europe is full of history, culture, and stunning architecture, what really gets my engine roaring is all that lies just beneath that surface and in my humble opinion, street art is the eye candy of this realm.  There are many different ways of approaching my Tour De Street Art but my plan is to have a few must-see items on my agenda and then just go where the winds blows me.  The things on my list to date are exploring the old Jewish quarter in Budapest for all its works of art, paying my respects to the John Lennon Wall in Prague, and using and abusing the urban art guide map in Vienna until my little heart’s content.

The winner for the contest will be chosen on October 1, 2012 and until that time, I wait with my fingers and toes crossed.  Hopefully lady luck will be on my side and I’ll walk away with my version of a celebrity studded Grammy trip.  Wish me luck!

Categories: *PRE-DEPARTURE | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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