Lectures, Shopping and Vampires

Trip Start Aug 25, 2007
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Trip End Dec 20, 2007


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Monday, October 15, 2007

DIS always feels the need to add educational components to these tours.  I really don't know why.  Going to museums, getting guided tours and all that stuff should be educational enough.  Yet, at 9am we headed off to a lecture about the history of Hungary.  It wasn't a bad lecture.  It was just long, early, and we had to sit in very uncomfortable chairs.  Also, trying to fit the entire history of Budapest into 2 hours isn't quite possible.  Hungarian accents are also very difficult to understand at times.

Major points to remember:  Hungary was always occupied...by someone.
-The Habsburgs were here...just like everywhere else.  And left behind a castle.
-Were behind the Iron Curtain, but was the only country to actively be pissed about this.  They wanted to be democratic since the beginning.  Therefore, they were never all that communist and protested in many little ways against it.

After that, DIS arranged another tour, which I'm sure they thought at the time would also be very educational.  It was a tour of the castle caves.  There are many caves around the area...these are not the ones to see.  They served lots of useful things in the past, acting as shelters and storage rooms.  Today, it's basically a tourist trap complete with tour guides who take themselves a bit too seriously.

Our guide was a very creepy young guy who sounded like dracula.  He, like our previous guide, liked to tell all the girls in the group how attractive we are.  He assured us that we would no longer be virgins now that we were in Hungary....yes...seriously.

As for the tour, the caves have been turned into a pseudo-museum that doesn't really make any sense.  The first part has fake cave drawings copied from other places.  This is the prehistoric section.  Weird tribal music plays.  It's a bit cultish.






The second part is a symbolic history of Hungary.  Now when I say symbolic...I mean there's a reason there's a guide with you to make crap up as he goes along.  While he recounted Hungary being conquered by someone for the 50th time, he sent us down a tunnel to see what the Hungarian people felt like under this new rule.  We walked down to find darkness, a dead end, and general confusion.  We came back and all he had to say was, "Yes, I said it was symbolic.  The dead end is symbolic of how the Hungarian people felt."  Ummm yeah.  My personal favorite was the iron curtain.  It was, in fact, a curtain...made of iron.  Clever.

There was also some weird room with lute music playing and "wine" flowing from this thing. 





By this point, I was convinced that our tour guide was actually a vampire and was trying to get us to drink blood.

To give you more of an idea of what the tour was like, read this text panel on the wall. 







The tour ended with us going on this tour of courage...or whatever the hell it was.  He asked us to be quiet so that we could all take our own personal journey.  Obviously, we basically giggled, screamed, and played marco polo in a pitch black room where we were supposed to follow a rope along the wall and, ya know, have a personal enlightenment or something like that.

Somehow we escaped without becoming vampires and went back out in to the light.  We did some souvenir shopping and I picked up some absinthe.  Also, we got to see the market hall. 




This is a huge market hall with lots of meat and cheese.  We got there as it was closing so we didn't see all that much.  The hall was actually designed by Eiffel...of Eiffel Tower fame.

For dinner that night, we had a buffet at a little restaurant.  We had bread, a course of soup, then went up for a "cold" course.  Basically, that means, make a salad.  Since we had vegetarians, two of the salad trays actually only had veggies on them.  The others had a little lettuce, a little tomato and onion, and then huge pieces of sausage and other unidentifiable things.

It turns out there was a little mix up from that point.  When looking at the buffet, there had to be about 10 different choices for the main meal.  Meat was in every single one.  Vegetarian option had been interpreted as "Americans really like veggies so PLEASE put some out there."  So they provided cold veggies.  In a rush, they had a make-shift meal made for the vegetarians.  A fried wedge of cheese, a fried mushroom, and half-cooked rice.  I actually liked to the fried cheese more than the vegetarians so I just ate some of theirs.  They were too worried about all the grease!  Actually, there were also fried potato things on the buffet which MIGHT have been vegetarian.

The moral of this story is to just suck it up and eat meat.
DIS always feels the need to add educational components to these tours.  I really don't know why.  Going to museums, getting guided tours and all that stuff should be educational enough.  Yet, at 9am we headed off to a lecture about the history of Hungary.  It wasn't a bad lecture.  It was just long, early, and we had to sit in very uncomfortable chairs.  Also, trying to fit the entire history of Budapest into 2 hours isn't quite possible.  Hungarian accents are also very difficult to understand at times.

Major points to remember:  Hungary was always occupied...by someone.
-The Habsburgs were here...just like everywhere else.  And left behind a castle.
-Were behind the Iron Curtain, but was the only country to actively be pissed about this.  They wanted to be democratic since the beginning.  Therefore, they were never all that communist and protested in many little ways against it.

After that, DIS arranged another tour, which I'm sure they thought at the time would also be very educational.  It was a tour of the castle caves.  There are many caves around the area...these are not the ones to see.  They served lots of useful things in the past, acting as shelters and storage rooms.  Today, it's basically a tourist trap complete with tour guides who take themselves a bit too seriously.

Our guide was a very creepy young guy who sounded like dracula.  He, like our previous guide, liked to tell all the girls in the group how attractive we are.  He assured us that we would no longer be virgins now that we were in Hungary....yes...seriously.

As for the tour, the caves have been turned into a pseudo-museum that doesn't really make any sense.  The first part has fake cave drawings copied from other places.  This is the prehistoric section.  Weird tribal music plays.  It's a bit cultish.






The second part is a symbolic history of Hungary.  Now when I say symbolic...I mean there's a reason there's a guide with you to make crap up as he goes along.  While he recounted Hungary being conquered by someone for the 50th time, he sent us down a tunnel to see what the Hungarian people felt like under this new rule.  We walked down to find darkness, a dead end, and general confusion.  We came back and all he had to say was, "Yes, I said it was symbolic.  The dead end is symbolic of how the Hungarian people felt."  Ummm yeah.  My personal favorite was the iron curtain.  It was, in fact, a curtain...made of iron.  Clever.

There was also some weird room with lute music playing and "wine" flowing from this thing. 





By this point, I was convinced that our tour guide was actually a vampire and was trying to get us to drink blood.

To give you more of an idea of what the tour was like, read this text panel on the wall. 







The tour ended with us going on this tour of courage...or whatever the hell it was.  He asked us to be quiet so that we could all take our own personal journey.  Obviously, we basically giggled, screamed, and played marco polo in a pitch black room where we were supposed to follow a rope along the wall and, ya know, have a personal enlightenment or something like that.

Somehow we escaped without becoming vampires and went back out in to the light.  We did some souvenir shopping and I picked up some absinthe.  Also, we got to see the market hall. 




This is a huge market hall with lots of meat and cheese.  We got there as it was closing so we didn't see all that much.  The hall was actually designed by Eiffel...of Eiffel Tower fame.

For dinner that night, we had a buffet at a little restaurant.  We had bread, a course of soup, then went up for a "cold" course.  Basically, that means, make a salad.  Since we had vegetarians, two of the salad trays actually only had veggies on them.  The others had a little lettuce, a little tomato and onion, and then huge pieces of sausage and other unidentifiable things.

It turns out there was a little mix up from that point.  When looking at the buffet, there had to be about 10 different choices for the main meal.  Meat was in every single one.  Vegetarian option had been interpreted as "Americans really like veggies so PLEASE put some out there."  So they provided cold veggies.  In a rush, they had a make-shift meal made for the vegetarians.  A fried wedge of cheese, a fried mushroom, and half-cooked rice.  I actually liked to the fried cheese more than the vegetarians so I just ate some of theirs.  They were too worried about all the grease!  Actually, there were also fried potato things on the buffet which MIGHT have been vegetarian.

The moral of this story is to just suck it up and eat meat.
DIS always feels the need to add educational components to these tours.  I really don't know why.  Going to museums, getting guided tours and all that stuff should be educational enough.  Yet, at 9am we headed off to a lecture about the history of Hungary.  It wasn't a bad lecture.  It was just long, early, and we had to sit in very uncomfortable chairs.  Also, trying to fit the entire history of Budapest into 2 hours isn't quite possible.  Hungarian accents are also very difficult to understand at times.

Major points to remember:  Hungary was always occupied...by someone.
-The Habsburgs were here...just like everywhere else.  And left behind a castle.
-Were behind the Iron Curtain, but was the only country to actively be pissed about this.  They wanted to be democratic since the beginning.  Therefore, they were never all that communist and protested in many little ways against it.

After that, DIS arranged another tour, which I'm sure they thought at the time would also be very educational.  It was a tour of the castle caves.  There are many caves around the area...these are not the ones to see.  They served lots of useful things in the past, acting as shelters and storage rooms.  Today, it's basically a tourist trap complete with tour guides who take themselves a bit too seriously.

Our guide was a very creepy young guy who sounded like dracula.  He, like our previous guide, liked to tell all the girls in the group how attractive we are.  He assured us that we would no longer be virgins now that we were in Hungary....yes...seriously.

As for the tour, the caves have been turned into a pseudo-museum that doesn't really make any sense.  The first part has fake cave drawings copied from other places.  This is the prehistoric section.  Weird tribal music plays.  It's a bit cultish.






The second part is a symbolic history of Hungary.  Now when I say symbolic...I mean there's a reason there's a guide with you to make crap up as he goes along.  While he recounted Hungary being conquered by someone for the 50th time, he sent us down a tunnel to see what the Hungarian people felt like under this new rule.  We walked down to find darkness, a dead end, and general confusion.  We came back and all he had to say was, "Yes, I said it was symbolic.  The dead end is symbolic of how the Hungarian people felt."  Ummm yeah.  My personal favorite was the iron curtain.  It was, in fact, a curtain...made of iron.  Clever.

There was also some weird room with lute music playing and "wine" flowing from this thing. 





By this point, I was convinced that our tour guide was actually a vampire and was trying to get us to drink blood.

To give you more of an idea of what the tour was like, read this text panel on the wall. 







The tour ended with us going on this tour of courage...or whatever the hell it was.  He asked us to be quiet so that we could all take our own personal journey.  Obviously, we basically giggled, screamed, and played marco polo in a pitch black room where we were supposed to follow a rope along the wall and, ya know, have a personal enlightenment or something like that.

Somehow we escaped without becoming vampires and went back out in to the light.  We did some souvenir shopping and I picked up some absinthe.  Also, we got to see the market hall. 




This is a huge market hall with lots of meat and cheese.  We got there as it was closing so we didn't see all that much.  The hall was actually designed by Eiffel...of Eiffel Tower fame.

For dinner that night, we had a buffet at a little restaurant.  We had bread, a course of soup, then went up for a "cold" course.  Basically, that means, make a salad.  Since we had vegetarians, two of the salad trays actually only had veggies on them.  The others had a little lettuce, a little tomato and onion, and then huge pieces of sausage and other unidentifiable things.

It turns out there was a little mix up from that point.  When looking at the buffet, there had to be about 10 different choices for the main meal.  Meat was in every single one.  Vegetarian option had been interpreted as "Americans really like veggies so PLEASE put some out there."  So they provided cold veggies.  In a rush, they had a make-shift meal made for the vegetarians.  A fried wedge of cheese, a fried mushroom, and half-cooked rice.  I actually liked to the fried cheese more than the vegetarians so I just ate some of theirs.  They were too worried about all the grease!  Actually, there were also fried potato things on the buffet which MIGHT have been vegetarian.

The moral of this story is to just suck it up and eat meat.
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