Wednesday, July 13, 2011

European Chronicles June 25, 2011

(I’m not doing bullet points today because it was pretty pointless yesterday. I wrote about the same that I normally would, but I put little stars in front of my paragraphs. Really? Did that serve any purpose at all? No!)

            Today began with pounding….crate pounding from white boy….at 0600. Awesome. I did my best to tune him out and go back to sleep. I slept fitfully for a bit longer and laid in bed until around 0945. I didn’t feel like putting the time and effort into doing my hair today so I pulled out my trusty hat (shout out to Carolyn Pearsey who gave it to me for my bday—best hat ever!). I woke Sammy up, got dressed, locked the devil doggies in the kitchen, and we departed for yet another day of adventure.

            We rode the tram into town again, but stayed on the other side of the river. The conductor said something over the intercom at one point (which of course we didn’t understand), but a nice Hungarian lady leaned over and told me we all had to get off at the next stop because there was some celebration going on.

            When we got off, the tunnel was completely closed off, there were crowds gathered, a stage set up, and children dancing to Hungarian music. I saw a sign that indicated that a river party was going on. Interesting. We were going to ride the trolly-ish thing (it has a name, but I can’t remember it) straight up (and when I say straight up I really mean it!) the hill to the castle, but the line was super long.

            We decided to walk instead. Awesome. The last time I walked that hill was the winter of 2005 and it was snowing and I was freezing and it was not enjoyable. Although it’s a long walk, it wasn’t half bad this time—good work Glinn and Giordano physical therapy! My knees felt just fine. We got to the top of castle hill, which is absolutely beautiful, and memories flooded back to mind. I remember Taj back in 2005 playing the tour guide up there at night talking about how the man riding the horse (statue) was using his flute to change the sound of music. Hilarious! It was quite a bit more enjoyable than the numerous tour guides we saw today screaming at their followers about Hungarian history.

           And of course, all throughout the day, I got some amazing pictures of the sights (and the people!!!).

           We meandered away from the hill and came across a building still full of bullet holes from WWII. Amazing history here, folks. I had seen the building before, I even have a picture of it, but I had no memory of where it stood. I was able to piece all that together today.

           We stopped and ate at a quaint little café that served interesting burgers and sandwiches—I had one with ham, mozzarella, and basil. It was delicious. But the best part was the music—Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys, the Jump! Jump! Song, and a song about peaches in the country that Natalie Witham used to play a lot. Sam and I were quite enjoying ourselves.

          We then moseyed on to the Fisherman’s Basilica (I believe that’s what it’s called) and saw some incredible sights of the city. I also photobombed a couple getting married—yup, I stood (on purpose) in the background of their picture—and took some pictures of them on my own. The closer we looked, we realized that they were getting married inside the Basilica in one of the open hallways with an amazing background of the Danube and the Parliament and gorgeous churches. Sam and I were quite envious. I could not think of a more picturesque wedding at this moment.

           I wish I could describe in words the wonderment of the buildings here, but words cannot do them justice. Hopefully you’ll get a better view of it all when I post all of my pictures after I get home (see my Facebook!). The architecture is just breath taking—churches so intricate that you cannot even take in all of the detail, roofs made of tile patterns that seem unreal….this gives me an idea for a writing assignment for my kids next year. Put up a few of these pictures and let them work on descriptive writing… if it works, I’ll let you know. J

           After seeing the basilica, we wanted to take Sam to see a special statue that is quite well known in these parts. We weren’t sure exactly where it was, so we wandered around….and wandered….and wandered. We finally found a map and realized it was way back where started, but the walk was nice nonetheless. I could walk around those gorgeous cobblestone streets all day!

          When we happened upon this statue, there were about three tour groups of folks along with some lone stragglers. The statue is of a man riding on a horse—doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary for these parts—however, this particular horse has a private body part quite visible. The legend has it that if you rub this particular body part, you will have good luck in your studies. Now, I’ve seen this horse a time or two, but I was always too embarrassed to go near it. I was quite surprised that no one was up there (because it’s usually quite crowded on the platform). All these tour groups were just staring at it. I just had to do something about it. So, I kicked off my flip flops, dropped my purse, and climbed on up. There were people actually cheering for me! Dad snapped a few pictures (and about everyone else around there did too). Talk about the most epic photobomb ever! (For those of you who don’t know, photobombing is when you get in other people’s pictures). Sam climbed up next, got her picture taken, and thus started the trend. Another man climbed up after us, and quite satisfied, we went on our way….

         After visiting the statue, we made our way back down the hill to the river level. We decided to walk out on one of the bridges and take some pictures. Again, I am SO glad I chose to wear a hat today—it was SUPER windy. We got some neat pictures of both sides of the river and the Chinese and Hungarian flags (seriously have no clue why there are Chinese flags everywhere, anyone? anyone?).

        Then it was back to the tram and back to the car and back home. The dogs were pretty much elated to see us. Good news, they did not kill each other or pee or poo on anything (at least that we can tell so far…)

        We had a bit of down time at home….worked on the update a bit…read…played some cards. Then, of course, it was time to eat again. Why not experience some more Hungarian delicatessen and go to….McDonalds! We went to the mall to eat, shop a bit (they had an H&M and I found a cute shirt, and a store called “American Store”, and a Tesco where we purchased carpet cleaner to attempt to clean the couch where the dogs have done their business).

        Back home, we cleaned the couch, skyped with Grandma and Papa, talked to Mama and Scotty, and played some more cards. It wasn’t until after we finished playing cards that I discovered a bite on my leg that had pretty much erupted. It’s HUGE people. It’s also swelling a bit. Not so sure what we should do about it. Well, nothing tonight seeing as it’s almost 2200, but perhaps tomorrow after church? Let’s just pray it calms down by then…

        Tomorrow (if all goes as planned), we’ll go to church, maybe hit an early movie, put the doggies in the kennel (yeah!!!) and head back downtown for dinner. 

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