Birthday [The Beatles]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

[August 26, 2009]


Hungarian of the Day: “Happy Birthday!”

boldog születésnapot!

[bol-dog soo-leh-tesh-na-pot]

This may be the most self explanatory of them all! TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! On this day 24 years ago on a not-so-little Air Force Base I came into this world! Go me! (And go mom!) Today I

celebrate in Budapest, the city that is about to become my home away from home for the next two years. What a birthday it has been!


After sleeping in (yes, again) mom and I put on our bathing suits and headed for the long walk to the baths. We decided to go to the most famous of the baths - not only because they were within walking distance, but also because they have the reputation of being the best in the city. We strolled down Andrássy and headed for Burger King. Now, I know you’re probably reading back a few posts to where I swore off American fast food for the rest of my visit, but it’s my birthday. I wanted a hamburger and fries - a good old fashioned American meal. Or as close as I was going to get to it, so BK it was. (Ps. they make you pay extra for Ketchup! Just as a warning, either be prepared to pay about 50 cents for a small packet, or learn to take your fries dry).

So full, fat, and happy we finally ended up behind Hero’s square in the park. About a five minutes walk past Hero’s square stood the baths. After a little confusion with paying (cabin v. locker) and finding the cabin (which is like a giant locker that one person at a time can fit into) we were ready to go! Now, there are no pictures from inside the baths because Rick Steves told us that cameras were not allowed. And we heard someone ask if they could take their camera and were told no, so we decided not to tempt fate. However, once we finally found our way outside (the indoor pools were a labyrinth to navigate) there were tons of people with cameras. Drat.

Anyways, we started in the “fun pool” where people were just sitting on the steps or hanging out over the bubblers. Why the “fun pool” you ask? Well, in the center of the pool there is an area sectioned off where the bubblers are and around that is an

area which makes a circular lane around the bubblers where it makes a whirlpool. The bubblers and the whirlpool alternate (probably to save power) and both are equally fun. Though mom and I did favor the whirlpool - you can just pick up your feet and get spun in circles for ten minutes straight.

Next we made our way to the “hot pool” and it was as it claimed - hot. This is the pool where the pictures of old men in speedos playing chess on the sides come from. Sadly there was only one set of old men playing chess and they had only just started so I couldn’t ask to play and show of my chess prowess. Such is life. As it was quite warm in the water, and quite hot outside too, we only stayed a few minutes. After taking a quick dip into the fun pool to cool off we went inside to test the indoor pools out. They varied in temps from about 60 degrees up to maybe 104 degrees. It was intense, but felt AMAZING.

After returning to the outdoor pools for one last dip we changed, got our refund (if you stay under three hours they give you money back!) and made our way back into the city. Along our walk back we took a detour down to see two of Budapest’s newer monuments. The first is a giant spinning hour-glass with enough sand to tell 24 hours of time. It was designed and built to be

unveiled for Hungary’s entry into the EU, but for some reason it doesn’t work at all. The Hungarians think it’s a huge joke now,

and as it’s more expensive to get rid of it than to keep it they leave it for tourists like me and mom to stare at. Next to the broken clock is a monument that’s actually pretty impressive. It’s another monument to the 1956 uprising, but I think I like this one best. It starts off with just a bunch of random rusted metal poles in the ground but as you walk along it they get close and closer together and more shiny and polished until it pretty much forms the

bow of a boat that is breaking into the paved square. The idea

behind it is that separate the people of hungary are rusty and inconsequential, but when they work together they can do great things. Pretty nifty if you ask me.

For dinner we stopped at the Indian restaurant again (mom’s suggestion, can you believe it?) where I got some chicken kourma and mom had some lentil soup. We went back to the hotel so we could relax a bit after the day at the baths and then it was time for dessert. We had been saving up our visit to the Gerbaud restaurant for my birthday. It’s said that they make the most delicious deserts in all of Budapest - and that’s accurate as far as I can tell. I had a nice slice of a chocolate layered cake and mom had a cheesecake-type square with fruit on top. Both were delicious and if I ever have money while I’m a grad student I will treat myself to dessert there


So that was it, my birthday in Hungary. Pretty simple, but pretty amazing. Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes. I miss you all terribly and hope you’re able to make a visit sometime!

1 comment:

  1. That tidbit about the broken clock is hilarious! I want to see it! Man, the reasons for making a visit to Budapest are really starting to add up... ;)


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