Thursday, December 15, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
I spent this past weekend in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary. My trip began with a phone call from one of my travel buddies at 2:25am informing me that the taxi was waiting. Unfortunately, my alarm had failed to go off, I jumped out of bed, changed, grabbed my bag and coat, and ran out the door. So after a frazzled start, I began my journey to Budapest. Because the buses were on strike for the day, we had to take a taxi to the airport. We hung out there for a while and then took the short flight to Budapest. When we landed, it was 6:00am and -4 degrees Celsius. I had a long, cold day ahead of me.
We took a bus and the metro to our hostel where we were met by the owner, a soft-spoken Hungarian woman. She showed us our room, and we quickly decided to nap before beginning our excursions. Around ten, we went out into the freezing city. We visited the market hall down by the Liberty Bridge, walked through the Christmas market for the first of many times (my two travel companions both bought extra socks here to help insulate their freezing toes), ate a late lunch in a Hungarian café, and then crossed over the Chain Bridge to the Buda side of Budapest. By this point it was dark and I could see a little bit of snow on the bridge. The city all lit up was beautiful. We went up to the top of Castle Hill where the views of the city were best, and went to a wine tasting at the Faust Wine Cellar under Buda Castle. The walk back to our hostel was very icy, but I was enjoying the city nonetheless.
Saturday we went up Andrassy ut to the Museum of Fine Arts where we saw an exhibition on mummies and a huge collection of el Greco paintings. We walked past Heroes Square and the State Opera House on our way to St. Stephen’s Basilica. It was beautiful on the inside and outside. In the square right outside was another Christmas market.
I loved the Christmas markets. They were so spirited with the wooden stalls, smells of cinnamon, sounds of holiday music, lights strung in the trees, and people milling about. I got my only apple cider of the season, mulled wine, the cinnamon chimney stack, and a gingerbread cookie.
That evening we went to a Hungarian folk dance show followed by a dinner cruise on the Danube. It was a ton of fun.
Sunday morning, after a delicious breakfast, we returned to Athens. When I stepped off the plane, I couldn’t help but think oh, what gorgeous weather. It’s like spring! There was such a sharp contrast between the dark, cold Hungarian weather and warm, sunny Greece. I’ll definitely be enjoying this weather for the little time I have left here.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Just a quick update this week since papers and exams abound!