Budapest or bust
Trip Start Aug 01, 2006
35Trip End Dec 29, 2006
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Putting the monkey in the stroller we set out to absorb the sites of the city
Left over from the Turks are several large public baths. Of course we went to one that was very entertaining and refreshing. We rented a small cabin to change in and then entered the swimming area. I say swimming area because there were three huge swimming pools in roughly a line filled with people. The intensity was similar to a preschool.2 The first had a circular section in the center of the larger pool with powerful jets that would push you around in this inner circle. Similar to a roller rink but you didn't have to skate or put any effort out at all. I don't know who liked it more, Collette, Christy or me because our giggle levels were about equal. The middle pool was strictly for swimming laps and everybody had to wear a bathing cap and thus was way too intimidating to me to go into. The end pool had a few statues shooting water jets like little water falls. Upon entering this pool I was surprisingly tantalized. The water was about 80 degrees and was like wearing a blanket on a cold day. Statues surrounded all three pools and a light yellow building that in most countries would pass as their capitol. If you thought this was all you would be greatly mistaken. If you left the swimming area you could pass into another building that had many different rooms that in turn are filled with varying sized pools each with a different temperature
On the Buda side we went up the hill; actually we had to take a small bus because they said there were tunnels underneath the ground and a large bus might cave them in. At the top we visited Matthias Church. Its prized possession is a 16th century statue of Mary and Jesus. Anticipating Turkish invasion, locals hid it in the wall. The Turks used it as a mosque until 150 years later during the siege of Buda a store of gunpowder exploded, exposing Mary in the wall. This freaked out the Turks (as any good religious icon should do) who gave up the building without a fight. It frustrated me to no end that I couldn't find this icon in the church, and we finally had to leave because Collette was acting like a 30-pound mosquito. Then we wandered around the cobblestone streets enjoying an ice cream and the view of the river and the rest of the city below. I refused to pay4 for the funicular so we hiked to the bottom with the monkey on my head. A storm was brewing5 so we heading to the parliament building to do some serious touristing. We discovered the most confusing and frustrating line of all time. To Americans line etiquette is ingrained from elementary school and line cutting is a serious offense. To some other countries cutting is a part of life. I will not go into the details but it included going from one mob into a building with an X on it to a new line then going back out across a barrier and then waiting in another mob. By the way your ticket is not the glossy printed paper they hand you but the ordinary looking receipt. I lied and went into the details. The rest of the tour was very impressive even though the building contains a renaissance dome and a gothic exterior.6
The last thing we enjoyed was a night tour boat up the river
We found the Hungarian people to be much like their subway system: efficient, courteous, and user-friendly. As we are visiting different places often our comfort level and enjoyment not only comes from the sites but it comes from the general populance and the feeling we get from them. I felt more at ease with the Hungarians than many other countries. They were fairly reserved. Often over friendly people frighten me and make me uncomfortable. "Why is this guy being so friendly?" "When did we become best friends?" Too uptight people also make me weirded out.3 But the Hungarians were very courteous and for lack of a better word nice. Often when we were on a train and were lugging around Collette people would give up their seat to us. Even teenagers. Once you started talking with them they seemed genuinely outgoing and interested in you. They had a nice blend between being reserved and warm that I appreciated and could relate to.
1. Mostly pedestrian but is also shared with delivery trucks and buses which come startling close to your table
2. Seeing men in Speedos, or in this case lots of men, always makes them appear closer than they are. I think they should put a warning label on them like they do for rear windows on cars saying," Object may appear closer to you than it actually is."
3. I have a lot of issues to work out.
4. Approx. 7 dollars each
5. A clever double meaning because we did not know the riots would come about 2 weeks later.
6. I read it in a book.
7. Somebody please buy our house.
8. At this time my ear was still plugged but the smelly wax was subsiding.
9. One couple was not too good but seemed to have had a good time.