Saturday, November 8, 2008

Budapest (Day 1)

I once read an article about Budapest in one of my dad's Smithsonians. I've wanted to go there ever since. The author painted such a vivid picture of the city, of its beauty and rebirth from its communist past. Now finally I get to experience the magic of this city with my own eyes.

We took an overnight train to Budapest. I always find something magical about this land-based transition. Emily, Tiffany and I tucked ourselves into the cramped (yet cozy) sleeping quarters of our triple bunk. We made Emily sleep on the bottom bunk after she informed us about her sleepwalking tendencies.

Snug as a bug.

Since our train was late, for some reason beyond my comprehension, I decided to take that as a sign to sleep in. Big mistake. I was woken up by Piotrek bursting into our cabin announcing our arrival. Three seconds later, disheveled and dazed, I stumbled out of the train into the hazy Hungarian morning.

For breakfast I had "Hungarian-style" scrambled eggs, which consisted of red bell peppers, grated cheese, ham and the Hungarian staple PAPRIKA. Breakfast definitely hit the spot, even in my bewildered state.

Afterwards we had a tour of Pest, the industrial section of the city. Our tour guide referred to Budapest as the "Paris of the East," and it rang true due to the architectural style and wide avenue that ran down Pest, remnant of the Avenue des Champs- Élysées in Paris.

For dinner we were treated to an all-you-can-eat Hungarian restaurant called Trofea Grill. I think the restaurant was mainly occupied by customers who were celebrating special occasions, because we were the only group not celebrating a birthday or wedding. The food was excellent though and I especially enjoyed the paprika chicken.

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