This felt like a short week since we only had class for three of the five days! One of which was spent doing class presentations. I was still recovering from my flu and according to my classmates, I looked terrible. But all turned out well- our group received top marks.
We left for Budapest Friday afternoon by bus that left at the Erdberg station. Shorter bus ride this time too- only three hours!
We checked into our hostel early evening. Robin, Sarah, two Austrians who were traveling with our group and a fellow from France, all stayed in our room. The bunk beds were frightening and not very sound, but no one had any incidents which we are thankful for.
We had a traditional Hungarian feast that evening a a local restaurant. I had a beef goulash which was delish.
The next morning we got up early to have a breakfast of toast and nutella. We had a walking tour of the Pest side for the better part of the day. This included touring: the Great Synagogue; Holocaust Memorial; Gozsdu Court; Opera House; various Embassies; Heroes' Square; the Palace and Roman era ruins.
When we arrived at the Palace we tried some Hungarian salami and pizza- both turned out to be very good.
We traveled the last part of our tour by metro, which is the oldest in Europe, being built by simply digging holes then putting wood and metal slats over it. Once we emerged from the tube, we found ourselves not only at a parade but walking right through it- marching band and all! It sure was exciting!
After the tour concluded, we stopped in on the famous Market and tried some Hungarian style pork chops and freshly squeezed OJ. We did a little shopping and then headed back to the hostel.
The next morning, Niina, Sarah, Robin and I all got up early and toured the Buda Castle. We walked from the hostel, crossed the Sisi bridge (which was destroyed during WW II) and took the tram up the hill. We had a chance to snap a few pictures of the view from the top and tour the courtyard where Sarah and I tried our hand at archery. Hhmmm needless to say, I remember it being easier than that. This followed trying a traditional sweet that resembled a donut which consisted of dough rolled and grilled on a stick then rolled in vanilla flavor. Yum. So far the 'culinary tour' is going well!
We walked down the mountain and crossed the Chain Bridge back to the Pest side. We walked about 10 minutes to the Parliament building which makes up the famous waterside-scape of Budapest. Robin tried to cross the rope to walk through the parking lot- but it was obvious that she wasn't in the right when whistles started blowing and the guards were running over. Intense!
We then ventured over to the mall to walk around a little before we had to make our way back to the hostel to meet up with our 20 something group of ESN students.
The ride back was uneventful and everyone was glad to be arriving home again. :)