Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fried cheese it is

Well, dear blog, it's been quite some time since we last met. So long actually, that I have no idea where to begin. I've been riding a wave of adventures, and I just came into shore for a short break. So, I left Berlin for the first time since I arrived in Europe and had one hell of a time. Incredibly hilarious, informative, and a little cold, but still great. First stop was Vienna, which rivals Paris as the most beautiful city in Europe. Everything is preserved, unlike in Berlin, and there is no ugly Soviet architecture to ruin its elegance. We visited Schönbrucker Palast, which was the summer home of the royalty of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and why it was only their summer home, I have no idea. The most beautiful part is the lawn behind the palace, which extends up a huge hill that provides a gorgeous view of Vienna, when you have enough stamina to climb it. It also contains the oldest zoo, but for 14 euro I passed on that opportunity.

We also rode bumper cars that night, which seems like minor detail, but was probably the most fun thing I had done in a long time. When you actually know how to drive, you can strategize and run into people full speed. I could not stop smiling for an hour after.

Next stop, Bratislava, Slovakia, which to me was a pretty random place to go. We took a boat on the Danube from Vienna to Bratislava and it only took about 90 minutes. I made the whole trip with 25 other Americans from my program and two Germans, who organized it for us. Bratislava was definitely the most entertaining of the three cities, but beyond that, it didn't have much going for it. It's pretty small, the hotel we stayed in came straight out of the Soviet era (15 floors, hideous orange carpet, and architecturally unsound). Our tour guide also talked in the best Slovak accent, made the best jokes, but mostly at the expense of "gypsies." She said, no lie, "Keep your bag close because the gypsies will take your money" as well as "The gypsies are all poor, have no jobs, and take all of the Slovak money." I have a feeling she was a pretty good representation of the standard Slovakian as well. Oh my. It is a different world I guess.

Finally, we made it to Budapest, which was quite nice. The last night, we climbed to a beautiful look-out spot, and although it was cold, it was definitely worth it. The best part was this ultra-touristy Hungarian restaurant, where they fed me fried cheese (apparently that is all they know how to make for vegetarians in Eastern Europe. I ate it three nights in a row....), and force fed us wine from this funny little contraption. All of the waiters were decked out it traditional Hungarian attire, and I even got to dance onstage with them. I then proceeded to buy a bottle of wine with my face on it, without even realizing it. I guess they took pictures of every one of us and pasted them on bottles of wine. What a great souvenir :-) We also went to a sort of ranch out in the country (again, ultra-touristy) that reminded me of home a bit. It reminded me of hayrides and thanksgiving at my aunt and uncles. I also won a free bottle of wine because I knocked over a bottle with a whip. Random, but great. Also, we got free apricot schnopps.

Our last night we went to a club somewhere in Budapest, and it was actually quite good. I was surprised because every other night we hadn't been able to find much night life, but this place was large and packed and they also played all of the American pop and rap music I had been craving, namely the Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga.

Well, I start class on Monday, so I guess back to reality. Tonight I'm going to a fake Oktoberfest in Alexanderplatz. I wanted to go to the real one, but poor planning yields poor results. Oh well, better for me to rest up I think.

Bis später!

1 comment:

  1. Erin, this sounds like the greatest of adventure of all time!!! Right up there with Alexander the Grape!! Keep on keeping on and have fun. (Grandma says HI!) Love DAD