Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Budapragna Triangle: First stop, Budapest

Cynden and I made our great escape from summer camp on 3 July. It was a make a run for it and jump through the open window while the car is still moving kind of escape. No stopping, no looking back, just bring us to the border, driver, and step on it!  Well, I woke up wanting it to feel that way. In actuality, the taxi showed up 30 minutes late and we stood alone outside the camp gates wondering if the next car to pass in that early morning light would be ours.  After he finally arrived, I'm pretty sure he went to go get some food from the camp kitchen as we impatiently sat in his car, waiting to start our adventure into the Budapragna Triangle (pictured to the right).
We were driven up and down the bumpy dirt roads to the Ukrainian-Romanian border so we could catch a bus to Hungary and meet up with Logan, who had gone to Kiev a few days ealier for a NOFX show. We breezed through Ukrainian customs, crossed a river, and waited for the Romanian border guards to open their little windows and stamp our passports. A man came out and excitedly told us to "wait five moments," which I slowly started to realize meant an uncountable amount of time. Lucky for us, five moments turned out to be about 25 minutes. The man behind the window was really friendly and he even called a taxi for us so we could make it to our bus on time. 

Our bus left from Sighetu Marmatiei, Romania. We drove through small towns that stretched as far as a five-minute bus ride. Looking out the window from the front seat, I saw multiple people carrying bread, big breasted women of Grandmothering age, sickles in motion getting rid of weeds, and plenty of shirts with English words--"men at work," "Linkin Park," "Just have fun!" We transfered at Satu Mare, which I think is part of Transylvania or on the way to it, anyway.

We finally made it to Budapest around 5pm. Logan was supposed to meet us at the hostel, but he was late. We waited while drinking Cynden's Budapragna cocktail--Red Bull (yuck) and some random brand of vodka. Logan made it eventually, in case you were worrying, and thus our exploration of the triangle ensued. Here are some photos of Budapest and Pécs, which is a beautiful and peaceful city in Southern Hungary. I've included some notes.
We talked about this place during our whole trip because they gave us
 free prosecco and an awesome cheese platter. We felt like kings.

This is in the Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kassim, built in the sixteenth century
by the Ottoman Turks when they occupied the area...

...It was converted into a Christian church later on.  So, the Turks destroyed the 13th-century
Bartholomew Church, built their mosque, and then the Christians took it back. When I say took it back,
 I mean they painted this wholesome mural of them taking it back and killing the Turks.
The mosque, from the square.

Student artwork in church basement.
The Sziget Eye Ferris Wheel  in Erzsébet Square where, it seems, a lot of young college-age kids
 hang out, drink, skate,  and watch other people (tourists?) pay a lot of money to go on the Eye.

A study in lamps, at a Ruin Bar
Embroidery at the Palace

Short short fashion

The changing of the guard

Turkish Bath House where I got the weirdest pedicure of my life here (weird in a bad way). This was a pretty relaxing experience, though--sitting in the sun, trying out different temperature pools, and people watching.
Next stop: Prague.

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