Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Budapest to Vienna

I woke up very, very sad. Budapest was such a great place..and while I was excited for Vienna, I longed for more time here. Whoever goes abroad, SPEND EXTRA TIME IN BUDAPEST. You won’t regret it. This morning, I headed to the Jewish quarter just to explore for a bit while I waited for my friends to wake up. While everything was closed so early on a Sunday morning, it was cool to see another area, especially at such a peaceful time. After breakfast at Wombats, Eric, Julie, and I headed out with our list of things we wanted to see before leaving. First off, the Budapest sign. We worked extremely hard to make a picture where Julie and I could stand in every letter, and ALMOST made it until someone accidentally walked in to the picture..ugh..still a cool picture though for sure! After that, we headed to the largest Ferris wheel in Europe for great views of the city! While Prague definitely wins the aerial scenic shot, this is a really nice experience, especially compared to the horrid London Eye. From above, we noticed a “design” market nearby and went to take a look. Although small, this market had many interesting stands, which I wont go in to as they each provided gifts for legitimately everyone I wanted to buy something for! Another plus of Budapest, it is just as cheap as Prague. After that, we headed to the Basilica to check out the interior. It was as pretty on the inside as it was on the out, and we ended up just sitting and chatting inside before pausing to think about the fact that we were having a regular conversation in such an incredible spot. Study abroad desensitization I guess! Next up, the Chain Bridge and the Four Seasons hotel. Four seasons was not what I was expecting, but I really enjoyed seeing the Chain Bridge again (much better than the Virginia version) and was happy to finally get a Kim Weinberg-worthy picture! Last stop, Hungarian 
pastries. At Steve’s suggestion, we went to a place on Oct. 6th street that had an amazing Hungarian cakes. They lived up to the hype for sure. We ran into Tim and David, our friends from the hostel, to grab a quick lunch at a nearby Hungarian to go stand (whatever the chicken and onions dish I had was actually really, really good) While we had a bit of a struggle finding our bus(slight understatement)  we thankfully made it on and headed to Vienna! We found our way to the Vienna Wombats, settled in for a welcome drink, and headed to the city center to meet Nora! One of my sorority sisters, the wonderfully talented Nora Pertz,  was studying in Vienna for a semester and decided to stay for the summer. Clearly, the perfect tour guide for a 24 hour trip to Vienna. She met us at the State Opera, which in itself was a beautiful building, and we took a stroll through the city to an outdoor film festival happening nearby. To see all of the amazing architecture Wien has to offer at night was in itself an experience. It definitely gives the DC night tour a run for its money. The festival we went to was beyond cool. An outdoor area was encompassed with food stands from all over the world, as well as local Viennese specialties. In the background, a projector displaced a Beethoven concert. The music surrounded the area and an ornate church glowed behind it. I was pretty content with that. I tried pork dumplings and sauerkraut, while Julie grabbed poppyseed and apple dessert dumplings. All were incredible. We finished the night off 
by trying “fruit bowls” that are known in the area, which basically is a type of Austrian sangria that includes fruit juice and pieces of fruit mixed with prosecco. Sampling peach and raspberry, I decided on mango. A delicious drink, full stomach, great company, and awesome was such a perfect night, and one we definitely would not have found without Nora! With serious food comas, we headed back to Wombats and found one of our two roommates sitting in the windowsill. Julie and I had yet to experience living in a room with strangers and were a bit nervous about it. However, we shared our space with a seventeen year old Bosnian girl and a twenty year old Bosnian guy, both who were on their way to a two week event for the Red Cross. If there was a more extreme word than harmless, they were it. The girl was so sweet, asking us questions about boyfriends, America, and ourexperiences abroad. Kenan, the other roommate, came back soon after to us in conversation and the four of us had a surprisingly great time. Lesson of the day: Always stay in a hostel, and always make friends. This experience of meeting both our Bosnian friends and the two Americans in Budapest made me realize that the short relationships formed with fellow young travelers is honestly worth more than a hotel, and it comes for half the price. This was so nice and I cannot wait to meet more people along the way with Jamie or Marg!

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