Dream trip Day 63 Farewell Budapest, hello Szob and Slovakia

Woke up to a sunny morning and the sounds of construction.

Across the street the large hostel chain I’d stayed with in Brussels and would soon stay at in Vienna were in the midst of building another location.

Construction began at sun up so it was early, just after 9am.

As I packed up my roommate, who stayed in the bunk below mine, came in and began to change.

Nothing unusual other than she was female but seemed to have no issue getting down to her undergarments with a strange guy in the room.

I merely focused on my packing, same attention I’d give to a guy changing.

Dropping my bags in the kitchen I encountered a Swede who was standing guard over noodles on the ground.

‘We had accident, be careful of the noodles and good morning!’ He exclaimed.

Another guy soon arrived and began to sweep up the mess while they talked and laughed.

Fairly sure they’d just come in from a night out, but couldn’t confirm as they were talking Swedish.

By the time my water was boiling, they were done with the clean up and were also enjoying the rest of their noodles with coffee.

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the instant coffee go down…

Another group soon strode into the kitchen area and one guy grabbed the communal guitar and began to strum chords.

Soon a CSNY song was sung, then John Denver.

Europeans love John Denver and so do I.

It was a very nice send off right up until he said, ‘here’s one I wrote…’

The a song, alas, was in another language, but I didn’t know which one. He had played it before as a couple of friends chimed in.

I was really pressing my luck today with this trip as I didn’t have a train ticket nor had I secured a hostel.

I didn’t have an issue finding a place to stay and didn’t think Bratislava was a big tourist destination.

Oh how wrong I was…

I emailed the 2 hostels I found in the city, but both weren’t on the booking websites I used and I figured one would hold a bed as I planned to arrive around check in time.

On my walk to the train station, I had roasted chicken from the place near my hostel.

So much mayo, so much mayo here but great tasting, cheap chicken.

The train station was about an hour walk so I felt it best to tram there.

I encountered the same Swedes from my hostel, crowded around the ticket kiosk.

They smiled and laughed and one came over to me.

‘Hello, yes, you need a ticket, a one way ticket, maybe? I just bought one but I actually need a round trip ticket so maybe you buy it from me? It’s good, valid I swear!’ He pleaded.

His friends all began to tell me not to do it, he is lying, it’s a scam. Friends are the same wherever you go haha.

I had exact change, so I bought his ticket, then shook his hand to the cheers of his friends.

It does suck buying 2 tickets when you only need one and have no way to get your money back for the incorrect ticket. I’d been there before for sure.

We parted ways and my ticket did indeed work to access the tram to the rail station.

Turns out the station was a labyrinth even with maps indicating ticket booths.

I saw that they were to the left but didn’t see a walkway on my left so I kept walking until I came to a dead-end.

Walking the opposite direction, I saw a map indicating the tickets were to the right, as they should be but no walkway or ticket booth!

Somehow I made the correct set of turns and found myself on the platform with ticket kiosk.

I knew there were direct trains and a connection in Szob that would take me to Bratislava.

Kiosk was easy enough and had English option, just type in your destination city and it would quote a cost.

Bratislava was not an option but Szob was so I grew anxious. It’s always best to buy a complete ticket to your ultimate destination.

I knew that somewhere there was a person who could sell me the correct full ride ticket in this building so I walked around the platform.

To my surprise, they had signs, in Hungarian and English: international tickets.

I arrived into a small room full of people and, of course, a single lady seated behind a glass partition. This may take a while to get a ticket.

I pulled a number and waited not even 30 seconds before it was called.

‘Sia, English please?’ I asked.

‘Not much, yes, uh where?’ She asked.

‘One way today to Bratislava please?’

I pointed to the clock and then down indicating, today.

She turned her screen towards me and pointed to a number in Hungarian currency.

I was out of fonits so I paid by card and asked what time and platform.

She held up 3 fingers and then pointed in the direction of the platforms I’d just come from.

‘Um 3…15 minutes, Bratislava. 5…track, too’ she managed.

‘So which one?’ I asked.

‘Bratislava, both’ she said as she swung the screen back to her direction and handed me a ticket.

I glanced down at it and it was all day, round trip Budapest to Bratislava, but I had asked for one way.

She was clearly done with me and didn’t seem to care she deliberately sold me a more expensive, incorrect ticket.

I had a moment to calculate the total in my head and it was around 10 bucks for the ticket.

I figured I’d just made a small donation to the Hungarian rail and left it at that. One cannot have an argument in a different language.

The platforms were labeled so I just hopped onto the one that read Szob.

I tried to get a conductors attention to confirm my route, but for some reason there wasn’t any around. Usually the platform was full of people who could help.

I sat down and tried to ask a girl across from me if she knew where the train was stopping but she shook her head no after I asked her if she spoke English.

My heart pounded as the train pulled away from the station.

Sigh, worst case, I had a round trip ticket, so I could just get on a train back if we were going in the wrong direction.

I used wi-fi maps as long as I could and we were going north, the correct direction, but I wasn’t sure if we’d turn east or west.

The landscape was bleak, not green, abandoned houses and buildings dotted the countryside for the first hour.

Finally after a couple stops, green hills and farms appeared.

I did see a conductor but all he did was motion towards another compartment after looking at my ticket. I’d sat in 1st class.

‘Bratislava?’ I ask.

‘Uh yes, please, next compartment.’ He said as he motioned to another compartment.

I didn’t see any difference in seat quality nor anything on my ticket indicating where to sit, plus both compartments were rather empty.

After a couple of hours writing, reading and looking out the window, we pulled into Szob.

I quick waked to the conductor to confirm I was heading the right way.

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‘Uh yes, Bratislava. Uh next yes,’ then pointed to his watch then held up 3 fingers, then pointed down to the tracks.

Ok so at 3pm another train would stop here that would be heading to Bratislava I conclude and thanked him.

It was hot, painfully hot and that seemed to be the norm around here as this small station had water misters.

Everyone stopped a moment and stood under the cooling spray, including the conductor who lingered awhile after removing his hat.

We smiled at each other as I joined him under the misters a few feet away. I closed my eyes and let the water cool me.

This station also had covered benches so I sat at one to dry off.

Soon, I was joined by the rail crew who sat a couple of benches in front of me.

I was mesmerized by the lone female’s ample bottom. It was like that location was where all her excess calories went as she didn’t have any other part of her that was large.

The surrounding areas were very grim, industrial…the sign that hard work had been done to live here.

I got up in search of a restroom and saw the empty ticket booth in the 1 room station.

Men’s room had a locked steel gate on it, but no locks on the female room so I hoped for an inside lock or walled stall.

No women came in while I handled my business.

Back and forth I paced on the track, waiting for my train.

Other trains arrived on the 3rd set of tracks and when you cannot read the language, doubt creeps in.

‘Is that my train? Did something change? Am I stuck here?’

Another train rolled in from the direction of Budapest and the conductor waved at me and pointed to it.

I smiled and waved back as I boarded.

I slid into a small compartment with a sliding door and sat near the window.

We stopped several more times and I was joined by a five person family.

We all smiled at each other as I extend my hand for them to sit. I wish I knew how to say welcome in Hungarian or maybe Slovakian.

The views alternated between lush green and dull gray which stayed until we pulled into Bratislava.

My phone soon indicated I had cell service so I scanned my emails.

The horror was soon revealed: both hostels were full for the weekend.

I check Airbnb and send a couple of requests.

Luckily they responded within 15 min but again, no they are out-of-town and cannot have guests this weekend.

What to do now? Hotel it would have to be I reckon.

Found one across the river about a mile away so I walk that way.

At the end of a very steep hill I find a nice hotel, going to be expensive, have to be prepared to negotiate.

The sun was going down as I entered the courtyard so this will have to be the place tonight.

“Yes we have 1 room left. I can give it to you at xx€. Best I can do, its busy season.”

I mention the online price I saw and he said no it’s the last room.

In my mind I calculated this room would cost the same as 4 days in Budapest. Why did I leave?!

At least I could afford this place, I think. It’s not so bad, I’m not out on the streets for the night, plus food soon.

I entered my sterile room and attempt to turn it to max a/c but chain hotels know this now so 70 is the lowest temp.

I lie down and cool off, been sweating all day and a bit road weary.

A nice nap while my phone charges and I’m ready to shower.

Whilst air drying I search for a local spot that serves beer and real Slovakian food.

There was a spot not a mile away that made their own beer and served Slovakian food!

It was another huge wooden place that smelled wonderful.

A good meal usually raises the spirits. Plus this place has a bar so I don’t have to sit alone at a table.

I order their house beer and ask the bartender what is their best Slovakian dish.

‘Steak is good, also we are known for schnitzel.’

Odd, those seem German, also most expensive items to get here, too. Haha same everywhere it seems.

I get real schnitzel made with pounded flat veal and sip my beer.

They are playing US music here too and I’m still surprised. I guess my thinking every place would have a live local band playing hits from their country was way off.

It made me realize how much influence US has on many facets of life around the world or maybe they just find a Pandora or Spotify playlist over here just like we do.

We talk a bit about what to see and do and I’m directed to another huge cathedral.

No statues, buildings, or scenery.

He laughs, ‘Not much to see in Bratislava, my friend.’

The beer was great as was the schnitzel. They did have a different gravy here vs. Germany, plus no pasta, just mashed potatoes.

Yup meat and taters, standard hearty fair worldwide.

It was after 10 when I left the pub.

Most of the city was closed so I found a cool square to sit and people watch.

The tram ran by here so I watched as people got on and off.

No matter what time, day or night, there’s always plenty of people out in the Euro cities I visit.

By midnight, I’m tired of people watching combined with the after midnight rain forecast, I head back to my room.

I don’t know how I got lucky but I literally arrived to my hotel just as it begins to sprinkle.

I watch it rain for a few moments before going to my room.

My most trying day was really only taking a break.

Tomorrow I would once again fight to leave Bratislava.

Song: Aaliyha  Try Again

Beer: Mestiansky Bratislava Leziak 12

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Dream trip Day 62 Roast chicken and last chance see the moon by bridge

I had extended my stay at the hostel a couple of times as I wasn’t sure if I’d like a city so I typically booked 3 days at first then ask if they were full and extend or get out. I wanted to stay here, Budapest was beautiful and inexpensive.

I had walked past a chicken joint, well a normal one, not paprika chicken, but it closed super early, and had a line out the door by noon.

Today was the day to see what the hype was about and it was good, roast chicken. Only bad point is they used mayo like it was water, just drowned potato and corn salads in it to a comical degree.

I finished just as the line was forming.

Thing is I had no plan since I’d done just about everything I found to do online so it was another day of just walking around.

I decided to investigate the cave temples in Buda, across the river.

Centuries ago monks lived in natural caves and carved the mountain since they had nothing else to do, it’s what monks do: they pray and carve stuff. Or make beer.


A small waterfall added to the spectacle, these monks were onto something, it was very serene and no doubt had a lovely view of the city.

Back over to Pest side via bridge and I was in tourist downtown, near a Hard Rock Cafe so I had to stop and get a pin for my bro.

I stopped for some ice cream but mainly to people watch. It was hot so the cone cooled me down and I saw the insane things tourist families do.

Arm loads of souvenirs that likely won’t make it back home. Long waits for dinner at a place listed as ‘must eat in Budapest.’

Plus, my favorite tourist staple: themed shirts with sir and family name. Basically and ad for, ‘hey I’m prob lost so take advantage of me I’m not from here.’

I then popped in for a final pint at Red Ruin. They had a lot of American beers so I put myself in the bartenders hands and asked for a pale ale.

He delivered, it was good. Going to miss this spot and all the posters.

I made my way over to a coffee shop for wifi so I could figure out Bratislava, a place I was going solely because it was close, cheap, and on the way to Vienna.

I located a couple hostels and emailed them asking about a bed for the weekend when it began to rain lightly.

I had another cup while the weather broke.

I took a new route back and located several older gothic buildings, cathedrals were rare due to communist rule.

I looped back to the river and the sun was setting in the next hour or so. Grabbed some beers at corner store and walked the bridge.

I again ran into the German receptionist who was chatting with 3 other people I hadn’t met before.

A guy from Sweden and a couple from New Jersey, cute girl, long-haired bearded guy.

We heard cheering and looked down to see a party boat sailing under and it was close. So close we knew at some point someone had to have jumped bridge to boat.

We agreed to hang and walked to an outside table at a bar near the river chatting about Spain, Italy and Morocco.

No one had been to Bratislava and wondered why I wanted to go. Just hang with us here for the weekend.

In retrospect that is what I should have done.

It was late and the NJ couple wanted breakfast before the walking tour so an early morning for them.

I stopped in for a final pint at the pub next to the hostel. Only soccer on TV tonight, but several very drunk people were making a racket.

It was one guys bday and he gave me a big hug and said he was gay.

After talking to him a bit I suspected he wasn’t gay but pretending so he could get with a pretty girl in his group.

They took shot after shot, occasionally one would talk to me for a moment before joining back up with the group for another singalong.

They were a loud, friendly group. I knew they wouldn’t be as entertaining once all the shots took hold so I waved goodbye and hugged my way to the door.

A fine way to end good times in Budapest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is top 5 pics of all the ones I took on my trip.

Song: Breaking Benjamin   Breath

Beer: American Pale Ale

 

Dream trip Day 61 Hungarian spa and encounter at the river

Woke up and had coffee in the common room. Overheard a girl speaking English, ah conversation!

Not having talked to anyone it is interesting how desperate I was to talk to someone, but yet old fears crept up as this female was rather attractive.

Long, curly blonde hair, tall, secretly fit as she had on baggie clothes. I dug her. Hesitantly I mentioned if she’d ever been to the island park. Soon we were talking about our trips.

She was a hospitality major so she was able to get a work visa. She’d just finished a month in Romania working in a hostel. She was winding her way back to Louisiana via England, Iceland.

At least she confirmed that workaway website actually connected her to the hostel so it was a good tool for future trips.

I rolled up my towel and headed to Buda side as that’s where the best spa was located. It had been around for centuries, since the 1500s!

I’d been advised it was better and less crowded, tourist-y than the others.

Boy was he correct on all points! After a confusing exchange with a lady receptionist who spoke no English and made no attempt to understand anything I asked, so back to pointing to communicate, I soon had a spa only ticket.

They had just remodeled so they did have lockers to stow my stuff.

I got a watch like key that synced with the locker. I hoped it would work, I cannot imagine trying to explain my situation to this place, it was very Hungarian.

I missed the pile of loincloths that most guys wore. It was basically a flap of material they wore on the front crotchal region.

It was very local so the majority of guys walked around with nothing on.

I entered a very nice, huge pool room. In the middle of the room was large, main pool with room temperature water.

A small waterfall cascaded to one side and a man stood underneath as water rained on his head.

It was surrounded by 4 smaller pools at varying temperatures from very cold to very hot.

I mean these people had things figured out; the cold was take your breath away cold, the hot was barely tolerable for more than a moment.

The middle one felt nice so that’s where I spent most of my time.

The pools were smaller to the point where sometimes you’d be shoulder to shoulder with a naked stranger.

A bit of a change from the US spa I went to that was unisex as well as robed.

As I was soaking my feet in the hot water, I heard a guy grunt and cough as he emerged from the water…with a full, raging hard on.

I turned and sighed, at least he was headed to the showers to settle down. Cold shower stat dude.

I floated around the middle pool a long time, the water supposedly had healing qualities.

Not so sure about that but they for sure made you thirsty.

I spied a fountain to one side I’d seen others drink from so I went over.

Holy hot water fountain! Again just too hot, not scalding.

Damnation these are devious people when it came to water temperatures.

I was already out of the water and soon realized I had wet shorts and no change of clothes! What to do?

I walked around showers and massage stalls before locating a cool water fountain and a quiet room.

It was a small room with wood beds, no bedding or padding, but the pieces were adjustable so I set it with the feet up a bit as I heard it was good for short naps.

Well damn, maybe there was something in that water, I instantly fell asleep for over an hour and a half!

I fell asleep again after noting the time!

This place was a maze and it took me awhile to find my locker to collect my things and towel off. Even longer still to find the exit.

I passed by everything several times, even locating a small waiting area near the entrance, but it had no exit.

No one to ask and it wouldn’t have mattered, no one spoke English.

I finally ventured into a fancy, wooden locker room, sure enough at one end there was a guy who took towels, loincloths and the watch access thingy.

Decided due to the nap that a coffee was in order so I walked across the bridge to a huge, 2 story joint and took my cup outside to soak up the sun, plus my shorts still weren’t dry yet.

I pretty much waited for night and sunsets, sitting by the river and walking the bridge were all I really cared to do at dusk.

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There was a small grocery store on the way to the hostel so I popped in to get beers and dinner.

After changing into drier clothes, I hit the street towards the river, sitting on a stone seat closer to the skateboarders.

Tonight one shredder brought a very pretty girl wearing a midriff top and black pants, long dark hair. She didn’t look like a skater girl, way to go, brah.

After eating and watching the river a bit, a shirtless, drunk guy staggers up to the skaters.

A brief exchange and he sees me and staggers over.

He leans in about a half-foot from my face and slurs something that couldn’t be nice in Hungarian. I said, ‘ NO, go.’

‘I kill, aaaaaaarrrrrrge,’ was all he managed to retort in English.

‘ GO,’ I said again through gritted teeth, staring him directly in the eyes, no flinching, hate on my mind.

More mumbling as he as he walked away, clutching a glass wine bottle.

Dang that was close.

I was clutching my beer, I knew I could deliver a blow, at least hurt him a bit, give me a chance to run. I felt sure the skaters would have my back, too.

I was surprised my heart rate didn’t change. I was ready and not scared so he moved on.

If anything this trip taught me was I could handle most things life throws at you regularly and in this instance, rarely.

Being threatened shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, especially in a foreign country.

I walked the bridge again and finished my beers, still an amazing view of the moon over the Danube River, I’ll miss this nightly bridge stroll.


Still early I walked into the small pub next to my hostel and found a seat at the bar.

It wasn’t too much later a large group of kids walks in. It was pretty obvious by their look and due to the tentative nature they entered and went to the bar one at a time they were underage.

‘ID?’ The bartender asked one girl. She left soon replaced by another guy, ID ready.

‘6 Long Island iced teas please.’ He said.

It worked, the kid got 6 bevs and I guess the bartenders just figured, technically they didn’t do anything wrong, they sold to a person of age. If he gave bevs to anyone underage it was on him.

 I was pretty much the only person in there so they definitely could used the business. 

The drinking age was 18 overseas, which is so strange to get used to seeing very young people with pints, not to mention that sometimes you would be near a group of loud kids on one of their first nights out.

Drinking is a privilege for sure, not everyone can handle it, especially young ones, but yet we expect them to serve in the military 18-20.

The more correct law would be 21 and up non-military, 18 with military ID. 

If you are trained to kill and operate military weapons, as well as die for your country, well that deserves a beer if you ask me. I just wish we didn’t have deadly conflicts.

The kids were annoyingly loud as expected, giggling, sharing videos, just enjoying being dumb kids, a thing we’ve all done before.

I also realized kids will be kids on this trip and to just let them be, that’s all we ever wanted at that age: to not be scolded by a strange adult.

Let them skateboard, kick the back of your seat if they are young enough, nearly run into you whilst chasing each other.

Just remember you were that annoying kid to others at some point, don’t be that annoying fun ruiner of an adult.

But if you are in a situation with annoying kids that you can leave, do it.

Which is what I did, finished my pint and went to the hostel.

I’m tolerant but they were pretty loud, haha.

But I didn’t tell them this was my pub, be quiet.

That’s what old people do…

Song: Franz Liszt  Hungarian Rhaposdy #2
Beer: Borsodi

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Dream trip Day 60 Budapest communist tour, bridge beers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Dream trip Day 59 Budapest, Danube River, paprika chicken 

On my walk across town when I arrived, I noticed most places advertised Hungarian paprika chicken so it seemed to be the local dish to try.

I walked a short way down to a spot that was highly rated and relatively inexpensive but I was the only one eating.

The chicken was served uniquely: a leg still attached to a boneless breast. It was good but I didn’t get a big paprika flavor.

There was a huge city map in the hostel that showed there was an island up the road that was entirely a park.

I crossed the elegant bridge over the Danube River humming the waltz all the way.

I was now in Buda as the map explained a long time ago Buda and Pest merged into the big city we know as Budapest.

It was over a mile walk but seeing the river and the city made it worth it.

I had to walk over another bridge to access a smaller bridge that lead to the park. It was crowded.

I finally located an empty bench but oddly all the benches faced away from the river so everyone sat backwards to see the boats, river.

I watched boats and ferries pass by for a while before walking to the interior hoping for a drinking fountain.

People rode by in a bike car contraption and it was funny to see usually only 1 person peddling while the rest just enjoyed the ride.

In most parks, there are spigots that I presumed were for humans to drink water.

There was an equal chance this water was for pets since most of the time they were located near a kiosk selling bottled water.

All I cared about in this moment was that my thirst was quenched. Plus I didn’t have anyone behind me waiting so I drank awhile.

I faintly hear classical music so I walk following the sound until I’m in a clearing with benches surrounding a large fountain.

Gah I stumbled onto another randomly cool event. Every night at 6 was a water show set to classical music in the park. I sat and watched.

Several symphonic pieces are played whilst the fountain shoots water in narrow streams in all directions until it lands perfectly into the pool of water. Very well synced up too

After the show ends I walk by the fountain and  notice they have a small moat around it so you can dunk your feet into the water but not be all up in the fountain. That’s doing it right !

I walked back towards my hostel on the Pest side of town so I walked by their huge, elegant statehouse.


I make a note of the location of a statue that is the meeting place for walking tours.

There was 1 brewery in town so I thought I should try it but I got fairly lost and found the scenic side of the city.

I suspected I was in the right place when I saw a large group disappear inside a building that was size of a city block. Massive.

I didn’t see a bar to sit at and the place is full. A portly man with an immaculate mustache stops me from leaving and points to a 2 seat table. ‘Please, we’d love to have you! Need a beer?’

I order a house beer, a pilsner, and settle into my seat. I hate sitting alone in a restaurant with servers. Feels odd, lonely and I know the servers hate it too. Only 1 person for same effort as 2-3.

This place is old, full of wood, history, large groups of tourists and old men pushing large carts full of Cole slaw, the house specialty.

I saw probably 10 carts go by me, en route to large private rooms that line the opposing sides of the restaurant. Long, communal tables lead into the central kitchen, bar area where everything was prepared.

I ordered roast beef with dumplings in a cream gravy off the house favorites.

Thing is out here, spices aren’t really a thing.

Cream or meat sauces are as good as they got, but really other than pepper, nothing had much flavor, much less heat or spice.

Plus the dumplings were more like light bread than the pasta like dumplings I grew up eating. It was a good meal, a different take on something I had grown up eating.

Earlier this morning at the hostel I’d talked with the receptionist who told me he enjoyed watching the sunset on a nearby bridge that was closed to cars as the city worked on adding a rail line.

I decided this was a great time to check out the bridge at sunset.

People would bring food, beer, wine and guitars to hang out for most of the night on the bridge.

The more daring people walked up a narrow beam to the highest point of the bridge for no doubt amazing but perilous views of the city and the Danube River below.

I bought a couple of cans of beer at a small shop on the way to the river. I sat down on a long wooden bench that stretched hundreds of meters along the river.

Off to one side kids were skateboarding, Turing tricks and filming their exploits.

I drank a beer while the sun went down watching party boats float by as well as the skaters before walking over to the bridge.

 

I was stunned by the view. The sun was just below the horizon lighting up just enough of the mountainside so that it glowed.

The city was also lit up and it was then that I realized walking a city at night is way better than during the day.

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After crossing the bridge I began to notice the many spider webs built over the lights, lights which attracted moths, flies and other flying annoyances.

Every light and beam had a different web and spider in it. Some webs were huge and full of wings, others had just a lone spider.

Some spiders were small others nearly thumb sized.

No one else seemed to notice these feared predators were near.

I wondered if anyone thought it strange to see me hovering around the lights, but then I would see a moth fly into a web and quickly a spider pounced wrapping it up and I stopped caring.

Nature is fascinating and I’d rather check out spiders.

I made it back to the hostel and it’s still early so I buy a couple of beers while I chat with the receptionist.

He is from Germany studying in town and fell in love with the city. He was looking to find a place to live.

He was surprised I’d been to Karlsruhe, nobody goes there except students.

He tells me that a popular thing to do is visit the spas, pool all day. He tells me to go to one over in Buda that is very old and less touristy.

I finish my beer and bid him gutentag, then climbed into my top bunk. Always top bunk it seems for me.

Beer: Soproni Klasszikus

Song: Vivaldi the Four Seasons, Op. 8

Dream trip Day 58 Farewell Barcelona, flight to Budapest, more rain

My hostel directed me to an airport bus stop a short walk away.

Very helpful for travelers to have a direct option, especially for early flights.

No issues this time, bus went to both terminals and mine was the first drop off.

Boarded a half full flight, but was seated next to a guy wearing headphones.

Once doors closed he hopped into an empty row, taking his loud tunes and Maccie’s meal he had stashed in his bag.

I instantly fell asleep as it was a 930am flight, I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

It’s always strange landing in an EU country as you just walk by passport check, but since I originated in another EU country, they don’t check anyone.

I note that there has not been a plane bombing in an EU airport despite no passport checks. In US I hear that states want to require passports for intra-state travel.

I locate a long line for the bus into town and realize the machine takes Hungarian currency, and only coins, which I have neither.

Found an ATM and the currency is way different, everything is in thousands of fornits.

I randomly pick the smallest amount to take, I have no idea what this translates to euros or dollars.

It’s raining again so I figure I’ll break my smallest bill, 1000, to get coffee, which is 200.

There is an angry lady in front of me who is insisting on paying in euros, ‘this country is in the EU, why are my euros no good? This is a stupid country!’ She exclaims and storms off leaving her coffee and a perplexed look on the barista’s face.

She struggles to give me change, lots of coins and bills. I explain it’s the smallest bill I have and wish the banks would create ATMs that dispensed reasonable, smaller notes. This was an issue wherever I went.

I sit and sip my coffee and watch it rain. I figure out my route via bus and it’s far, plus a long walk from bus drop off to my hostel.

I may as well taxi since its direct and Hungary seems to be quite cheap.

No issues on the ride, just silence as we do not speak the same language.

I stash my wet items into the room and head into the lounge to charge my phone and wait out the rain.

I talk a bit with a guy at a table tapping away on an iMac. He is working for a company in town and has a couple of meetings but pretty much, he says he can work anywhere.

I decide that today is a rain out so may as well do laundry.

I find a highly rated wash spot across town and head out. I shouldn’t seem too odd wearing a raincoat, it is raining after all.

Hungry I stop into a small noodle joint that has a sign reading they are best noodles in town, don’t be afraid of their small size, good things come from small packages.

There are maybe 2 seats to eat inside, it’s likely a takeout spot but the lady smiles and motions to sit while she prepares chicken and noodles in a wok.

It’s incredibly fast, tossing in veggies, sauces and finally noodles, while a chicken breast fries in a shallow pan.

It is a very delicious box of noodles.

Full, I navigate through the rain to my wash spot where I’m met by a guy who handles money, detergent and wash cycles. ‘1 hour,’ he says. ‘I also have internet computers here if you like.’

One room is full of washers and dryers the other full of computers and gamers playing some sort of multiplayer shooting game as they are chatting away on head mounted microphones surrounded by screens.

I pop into pubs during each cycle, trying a new beer each time. They cost the equivalent of 2$ a pint. Wow.

It’s grey, overcast as I walk back to my hostel.

A search for pubs brings up a spot called Red Ruin, a communist themed pub. I had to check that out. Plus it was a good 20-ish minute walk so maybe I can figure out things to see tomorrow.

I cross a Main Street full of cars and people on the way, I was entering the tourist area.

Hard to miss the bar as it has a painting of VI Lenin with a Mohawk on the window.

It’s small pub and all seats are filled so I lean against a wall watching the bartender.

There are communist propaganda posters all over that almost seem real until you read them:

‘No toilet paper isn’t a problem. We don’t have much food to eat so we don’t need it!’ Read one.

The toilets are in the basement which has even more paintings: Stalin dressed as a referee holding a red card stood out.

There are only a couple of guys downstairs and I ask for restroom in Hungarian, thanks to google.

As I leave one says something in Hungarian to me so I shrug, ‘English?’

‘What? I thought you were local, you look Hungarian. Cool you learned a word in our language. Join us?’

They are pro skiers studying in town. Both speak several languages as they’ve been going to private schools all their lives in different countries.

They are drinking liters of a wine drink. I saw the bartender make them earlier: about a quarter of rose wine and soda water.

They are hungry Hungarians, haha so they go to eat but want to go out somewhere with me later. They’ll be back.

I get a pint and wait, sure enough they come back so we go back down to the basement.

They are pretty drunk but still get half liters of the wine drink.

They tell me Hungarian is the most difficult language to learn and pronounce.

I try a couple of phrases and they laugh, I don’t have the right sounding phrasing.

We take off towards city center but not before finding a store for more wine. They pass the bottle to me and I take a gulp.

We walk and drink, they take turns talking to random girls in different languages, hoping to get a couple to join us.

The most receptive are a couple of girls from Ireland who agree to join us.

They both seem way into the Hungarian athletes, but that changes for a moment when I reveal I’m on an extended trip.

They are finishing a month-long trip due to school starting. They are staying up all night due to their very early flight.

They say I’m the 1st person they know who sold everything to travel, something they’ve talked about but now had proof it’s possible.

We arrive to a club a bass thumping, neon lazer club. The girls are less into this idea now as am I.

My plan to talk to them also fails as I point to a small pub and tell them to join me if they wanted to keep talking. I drank a beer alone.

It was late plus I need to orientate myself as I’m in a different part of town.

I’m most definitely in the tourist part of town as no less than 3 girls say hello to me, then ‘would you like a blowjob? I’ll suck your dick, you know you want to.’  These were pretty girls, too, I would safely call beautiful.

I was just buzzed enough to say ‘No but can I ask you a question? You’re really pretty, why are you out here?’

Again I’m shocked most were not offended at the question and gladly told me they enjoyed the thrill of the moment and getting someone off made them happy.

One said she made enough money to support her family in the country.

‘I make more in one night out here than a week working in an office. I only work when I want to and I’m free to do anything during the day.’

Hard to argue if they aren’t being exploited or forced to sell themselves that it was wrong.

Dangerous certainly but so was dating, life, you know? They picked who they wanted, likely only tourists, and seemed very happy.

I had a new perspective or at least something to think over in terms of prostitution.

Made it back to my hostel, it sprinkled rain the final moments of my walk.

Beer: Dreher Classic

Song: Brahms Hungarian Dance #5