Sunday, December 13, 2015
TRAVEL: Budapest Exchange part 1
Hi everyone! As you might have noticed, I have been a bit quiet on the blog lately, but I can assure you that I have not forgotten about Chapter75 in the meantime! While I did not post anything new, I have been collecting new material for future posts! I have been quite busy, including a lot of fun stuff that I am planning to write about in the upcoming weeks, but while doing all the fun stuff, I had to spend the little time I had left on my school work rather than turning everything into a blog post! Also it took me a while to go through a thousand plus pictures that I had taken on my exchange trip to Budapest last month, but finally I'm able to present you the first few pictures that I selected from my stay! Out of those thousand pictures I took, almost seven hundred will end up in my picture album. Only a hundred-something will appear on this blog in either two or three parts, along with a story about those days in this beautiful Hungarian city... because Budapest is truly wonderful. I absolutely loved it. Those buildings, brown or colored, with all their details, the sky was perfectly clear and blue the entire time, and all the little lunch places and coffee places were what we would call extraordinary, hipster-ish, with not one piece of the furniture matching another, but at the same time forming a whole altogether, and random stuff put up onto the wall. A dream coming true for any young person. I don't think it was anything like I expected an East-European city to be like, but I know for sure that I fell in love with it. What I think was most striking, and very pleasant too, was how calm this capital city appeared to me, especially in comparison to a West-European metropole. In the city center, traffic was not overwhelming at all. Of course there were few cars, but most people used public transport to get around since parking cost a lot of money. I can't remember many people in a rush, nor a feeling of annoyance because of big crowds or rude people. All in all, a city of dreams.
Of course, my trip to Budapest was not just a city trip - it was an student exchange trip, that I was involved in thanks to our association for psychology students in Nijmegen. We went with 25 students, and before we arrived we were matched up with a Hungarian psychology student, at whose place we would stay during our trip. When we arrived at the airport, our Hungarian buddies were already waiting for us. We went to their houses to pack down. Me and my buddy spend that afternoon visiting a fairytale-like castle, that was originally from some rural town but was recreated here in Budapest. For lunch I had a cacao roll and a chocolate filled with cotton cheese - both very Hungarian. In the evening we had dinner in groups at one Hungarian's place, and they made us a typical Hungarian dish, which can be best described as a "meat pancake": they baked pancakes, filled it with stewed chicken, put a few pancakes in an oven dish, and covered it with some kind of sauce, probably paprika-flavored, since they put paprika on everything. At first the Dutch people were a bit skeptical, but the dish turned out to be delicious! Afterwards they served us some kind of sugary - very sugary - piece of Hungarian cake. That night the whole group met up at a pub, where we got the chance to get to know each other a little bit. As we all were a bit tired of the day, we didn't stay out late this night.
On the second day, my buddy surprised me with typical Hungarian breakfast, including a piece of toasted bread, paprika-flavored salami, some butter or cotton cheese, and a bite of white-colored paprika (which was strange to me, but it appeared to be the most common type of paprika in Hungary). It was really good. Then we had a lecture at the University of Budapest (as our trip was school-related). After that we had lunch with the entire group together. We spent the rest of the afternoon having a scavenger hunt through the city, that took us to some of the most important spots in town, like the basilica.
In the evening, my buddy and I had lunch at this popular street food place (take-away food) called Bors Gasztrobár, where I had a bite of pork brain on a sandwich, as you can see in the picture in the lower right corner below. My own sandwich contained some sort of typical Hungarian sausage, and again it was delicious.
That night we had a pub crawl, going from pub to pub. The rest of the night we spent at a karaoke bar, and I had never thought karaoke could be that much fun! It was already quite late before we went home.
Doing this exchange meant that we got to experience Budapest like a local. The Hungarian students enjoyed showing us around and letting us taste their kind of food and taking us to places they usually hang out at. I don't think there is any better way to get to know a city than going around with a local. Good thing they will be visiting us in Nijmegen this February!
Part 2 will be online soon!