I’ve come to the point of my tour where I don’t want to spend money so instant coffee with sugar sounds like a great way to start the day, but really it isn’t. It’s like coffee flavored liquid, not much to it.
Plus you get so wired you have to walk it off.
Most of the hostels had brochures for tours of all types in all cities, from boats, busses, to walking tours.
The best were free walking tours, you just gave the guide a tip when it was over.
I selected a free tour of communist Budapest, given by a local history student.
She had a small backpack, water container, short hair and hiking clothes. She was cute, especially with her light accent and she was super intelligent.
What’s shocking to me is Hungary was under communist rule in the 80’s. They’ve only been free for perhaps a generation.
The Soviets helped them fight the Nazis, but afterwards never left so the citizens didn’t choose to be communist, it was forced on them.
Travel was extremely limited even within Soviet countries via a lottery. Of course a whole family never all won, it was mother and daughter, 1 child at a time only, so escape wasn’t an option. They had party members with them, too, watching, listening.
The tour hit in some controversial landmarks to Soviet liberators and Hungarian Jews who died during the war as well as Soviet style apartments.
The Soviet memorial was deliberately located just outside the US embassy so that was always in their view.
The US put a Reagan statue up in sight of the Soviet one, as if he were overlooking their memorial. This is what countries do, just mess with each other inside a 3rd country.
After learning so much about the city’s communist history I had to stop by Red Ruin again for a pint amongst all the propaganda posters.
Hardly anyone there so I was able to talk to the bartender. I’d tried all the local drafts so he showed me a couple of bottle options.
I selected one that was trying to make American style beer, but was Czech. It was pretty hoppy.
The place soon filled up and I felt odd sitting alone at a long table so I left.
Once again I watched the skaters turn tricks by the river. Watched the party boats sail by, couples pausing to gaze in each other’s eyes or snap a sunset pic.
I walked back over the bridge but this time I encountered the German receptionist and another hostel worker. I decided to join them for my last beer.
We talked about where we were all from: Germany, Brazil and the US, what we missed about home, what we like about Hungary and where we were headed next.
I told them I was headed to Bratislava for a couple of days as it was on the way to Vienna where I really wanted to see. I knew nothing about the city so why not go?
I waved goodbye after finishing my beer, now I really had to pee.
Turns out there was a pub next to the hostel but it closed early so I had missed it in the afternoons.
Ordered a pint and headed upstairs to the restroom which was odd, restrooms usually are down in the basement.
I sat at the bar and talked to the bartenders for a bit about the city. They both lived out-of-town so they didn’t have sightseeing tips for me.
I sat and watched a non pro soccer match then got another pint.
The bartenders are talking and laughing about something, I don’t know what as I don’t speak Hungarian.
Soon I grow tired, lots of walking and beers, plus sitting in silence yet again is frustrating.
I wish we all had translator earpieces so we could talk to each other regardless of language.
It’s about the loneliest I’ve felt on the trip.
Beer: Zipfer Urtyp
Song: Johann Strauss Blue Danube Waltz