Well, it's been a good couple of weeks. Bet you didn't think I'd ever say that did you? Being the eternal ranting cynic and all. I'm actually quite positive, you just don't see it through all the swearing.
Anyway. So it was my birthday last week :). So now I'm the ripe old age of 23 and still the youngest here! For quite a mature 23 year old, unfortunately I didn't really show it on my birthday weekend. I reserved a table at one of the nicest places in Brno for a meal and a few drinks for 20 people. 20 people only because I that was the amount of people I know who I thought would come if they could come, but actually expecting closer to 8. 19 turned up. Looooots of drinks and unexpected presents bought later and a hangover ensued. The meal was (for Czech food) exceptional, despite the mishap with the waiting staff accidentally-on-purpose not telling us they were serving us v.expensive wine. We moved onto to a little bar that I've mentioned before called Charlies where a stag-do was already in full swing. Lucky for me the hen party was there to and I was treated to the most disgustingly oiled up stripper you've ever seen. I admit I had a lot of fun watching this man stop his sock fallin out of tighty-whities though.
Sunday was a write-off and I spent most of it shuffling from my chair to the bed, occasionally to the bathroom and kitchen and then back to bed. Worth it though.
So my actual birthday on the tues was nothing spectacular having done it all on the sat and i jsut went for a bit of food n glass of wine with the blokes from work before goin to bed for my 5am the next day.
Like the queen though, it didn't stop there. Me and Andrew planned a trip to Budapest for around my birthday so last Thursday at 3.11 am I got on a train in Brno for the 5 hour journey to Budapest. The trains in Europe aren't like ours. For a start, they're always on time. Secondly, they have one corridor to the side and then compartments all the way down with 6 seats in. The widest seats you've ever seen too. With curtains/ tables and everything. However, they do get quite full and storage is a bit of an issue in compartments so I wouldn't recommend them without a reservation. I managed to get a bit of a nap in though before andrew came to meet me from the station.
We stayed in a hostel and it was the nicest place. IT was a lovely historic building literally opposite a museum. Our room was lovely, a bit quirky and eccentric with elephant tapestries on the walls and an old typewriter on a desk but was waaay nicer than Paris, jsut without a TV which I promptly informed Andrew before he moaned, he wouldnt be able to watch anyway because Hungarian is the WEIRDEST language you've ever heard. It sounds like a lot of grunts. It's got influences from Scandinavia and eastern europe as well as others and is therefore nothing like the surrounding languages (or any others for the matter) which could be an issue had we not been in the capital. It's very similar to CZ in a lot of ways but also very different in others.
Despite my ealry start we got out quite quickly and went to the baths first. They were set in this gorgeous building in the middle of a huge city park. It was quite expensive but so worth it. NAtural hot water at about 35 degrees in the open, with little fountains and statues spraying wamr water over your back. We spent a good couple of hours there before leaving to get some dinner. We went down to them opera house and waled back to the hostel from there, walking through the middle of town and gettgin traditional food from the hut market int he centre. Paprika comes from hungary so they use it in everything. It's really tasty in potatoes though i've no found out. After walking an hour home I was in dire need of a nap, so before we got ready and went out for tea I dozed for a while. We got ready and went to a little restaurant not far from our hostel. It was reeeally nice n not too busy for Fri. We tried a couple of places for a drink and ended up in what looked like someones living room at the end, but the wine was cheap.
On Saturday after a good sleep we got up early and went over the river to explore there. We went up to the Church first, which was kind of fortified on a hill, and was gorgeous. The roof was spectacular, the tiles were laid in a pattern and were all different colours. We then walked over to the castle not far from the church and got in to the history museum inside for free for being EU citizens and under 26. I need a good job if I'm going to do any travelling when i hit 26 after being spoiled for being youthful these past years! Again, we walked back along the river and went to a little soup shop for dinner which was delicious. THankfully the guy spoke english. As we were situated right opposite the national museum we thought we might as well have a peruse, so after dinner we did. It was interesting, Europe has changed so much jsut over the last 100 years. Hungary used to be a huge country but after all the tragedy it's seen has diminished quite a lot, losing Austria and other countries to independence.
We went to a really nice place for tea that took our cats and had musicians playing. Inadvertently we'd walked into somewhere that was 40 years to early for us though. The meals were really yummy but were on sidhes that didn;t do them justice. You shouldn't put small food on big plates. 2 pieces of small salmon and a little mound of spinach is going to get disgusted looks from customers like me if you bring out a meal that small for that price. Nevermind, it was really tasty, jsut too expensive for what it was. Wine was good though.
We found a really quirky little bar after though that redeemed the night. It was very dim inside with cadles on the tables and odd things stuck to the walls, like old toys and writing that customers had done. I really liked it though and it was packed out and inexpensive, so I think popular with the locals.
Our last day was Sunday and we both didnt have ot leave till 7pm. We trammed it up to city park to find the feal market but to no avail. We had a lovely walk around this huge park but i was soooo cold. The sun was out but the wind was so fierce it felt like it was -2. We went to the house of horror museum after, which is a museum showing the horrors of world war 2 and the soviet union in a house where murders and torture used to take place by people who headed the atrocities. You'd never guess this building in a middle of an avenue could hold all this tragedy. There was lots of info, films and artefacts that had been collected and the cells had been maintained and taken over by the museum to show you the conditions these people lived thourgh. Eerie but brilliant.
We went for lunch at a restaurant called menza after, not far from the house. It was recommended and I'm so glad it was. It's reminiscent of the 70s with all this vibrant wallpapering and the atmosphere, but the food and service was amazing and really cheap for what we got too. I treated myself to apple strudel which they do really well over these parts too.
Our last little trip was to visit the Jewish quarter and to see the synagogue and museum. I tell you, we couldn;t have soaked up more info or culture if we'd tried. It was nice and interesting but the guide was a bit stern so we ditched her n looked around on our own for an hour. The sun had come out for the last part and the wind had died down so we went to pick up our things and left for the train and airport. I got in at 1.30 am and flopped after the mad crowded train ride home. I'm glad we chose budapest though, it's a beautiful, interesting quirky city but I think if you don't live there, you only need a few days to walk around it, so it was perfect. A really good brithday weekend away.
So there you go, photos to come. :)