Friday, November 22, 2013


The Contiki group was onto its final stop, Budapest. I was most looking forward to the city from everything I had heard. Our tour manager who has been to pretty much everywhere said it was her favorite city so I was ready for it. The drive from Vienna isn't too long so we made a pit stop in Slovakia at a town called Brataslava. You might recall from the movie Eurotrip when they end up in a town and scrounge up their money, a whopping $1.50 or so and end up living like kings. Well, it wasn't exactly like that. But it was really pretty. Every street is so picturesque and even the graffiti is nice to look at. We went up to the castle, which should really just be called a big house and then ended with a wholesome meal at McDonalds. 

We got to Budapest in the evening and I was experiencing peak Contiki cough. It was a free night so we went to a restaurant near the hotel and had goulash over Hungarian pasta. It was delicious. Hearty, warm and felt like a home cooked meal. By the time we were done with dinner, everyone went back and crashed at the hotel. We had an early tour of the Parliament building the next day. The parliament is one of the nicest in Europe. Over 40 kilograms, maybe it was only 20, of gold went into the making of the building. The tour was brief and the inside is really beautiful and it gave us a break from the cold, damp weather. Here are some shots of the Parliament building.

From there, we went towards castle hill and spent a few minutes up there. Unfortunately, it was raining so we quickly found shelter in a coffee shop. Super random, but in met this old couple who were originally from San Francisco and moved to Amador county. My biggest regret of the trip - they were Giants season ticket holders and I didn't even give them my business card to get some tickets. Idiot! I was able to snap some quick photos before we moved along. Plus, I found this pervy karma sutra bottle of alcohol that I had to get a picture of. 

We went further up the hill to the lookout area. Supposedly, it is the best view of the city during the day. Our luck, it was completely foggy and we had little visibility. I'll take their word for it. Even standing in front of their lady liberty was difficult to see.

I'm very disappointed to say that during our free time, I went to the hotel and slept. I did not go to the thermal baths like everyone recommends, I just tried to get better. It was our last night, so I wanted to make the most of it and sleeping was my only way to do that. Our farewell send off was on a river cruise with some tasty food and wine. Budapest at night is so beautiful it needs to be visited at least once. It is so breathtaking and all the buildings are lit up to look like gold. 

After the boat tour, there were some left over bottles of wine so I did what any smart person would do and I crammed them in my jacket. 4 bottles in total, only 3 could fit in the pic. I am the definition of lush. 

Our last bus ride was so bittersweet. It was our last time so we played our day song, couch potato or something like that, and our wake up song, Wake me up by Avicii. Still, when I hear it, I think it's time for me to get going. Everyone was singing and dancing and taking pictures. As if we don't have enough photos together, Kristy, Brianna, and I got one last one. It's weird how you can only know people for 10 days, but you feel like you have known them forever. I cannot wait to travel to Australia and New York to see those girls again. Oh, and Texas, I can't forget Lisa. 

We finished our last night together at a bar that was quite interesting. For starters, the toilets were holes in the ground and there were grab bars for us to hold onto. I guess I haven't seen everything. Then, they sell carrots. Like whole, peeled carrots. So strange. Plus, the people that work there are not the smartest bunch. I am in the middle of pulling a wine bottle out of my jacket and Brianna is holding one when some security guy (if you can call him that) stops us and asks us where we got our wine. Without missing a beat, Brianna responds that we got it at the first bar, but we didn't get glasses. He inspects the bottle and I'm waiting to be kicked out when he says, 'I'm so sorry. Please forgive me for stopping you. There are glasses over there and please enjoy your night.' Brianna and I looked at each other and nearly died. This bar also had some great mixed cocktails. They muddled lime with ice so it was like a vodka soda slushy. 

After a bit, not sure if I could say what time, the three of us headed back. By the morning, both of them were gone and I met up with a girl from Contiki, Laura who is a Canadian who quit her job and has been traveling since August or September. We spent the day relaxing and then got dimmer with the 11 remaining people from the tour at a Vietnamese restaurant. It wasn't as good as Sunflower back home, but it was comforting. Most of my time in Budapest was in the hotel room, but I got to see it at night, so I can't complain too much.

Already missing my Contiki friends...


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