Monday, October 12, 2009
On Saturday I changed lodging locations. I moved from my couch surfing hosts' place to a hostel for two nights. She and I had gone out on Friday so we slept in a bit on Saturday and I left her place around noon. I made it to the hostel pretty easily and checked in. The last few things I wanted to do could easily be done in one day, so I opted to make Saturday a "zero day" (as Eddie informed me they are called) and didn't really do a whole lot. I went to the store and bought salad fixings and some pasta to enjoy for the next two days. I had it for lunch and dinner that day as well as dinner on Sunday!
Sunday morning I attempted to go to the Jewish Synagogue but had my first failure of the day. There was a special closure of the temple for October 11. So lame! I had missed the sign when I was there on Friday so I didn't realize. Ugh. I then attempted to find a restaurant to have some goulash. Unfortunately every restaurant I passed was closed and the few I had marked on my map (that I had found recommendations for online) were either also closed or non-existent anymore. I was set on having goulash for lunch on this semi-rainy day so I decided to go to the next site on my list and take care of lunch afterwards.
I went to the Terror Museum which has exhibits about the terror of the Nazi and Communist control of Hungary spanning from the end of WWI all the way to the late 80's (I think?). Most of the information was in Hungarian and the little English was a little confusing. Anyway, the museum was interesting enough (although I am glad I got my student discount) and they had prison cells and some actual areas that were used to hold inmates during these times.
After the museum I walked to Hero's Square. As I continued to approach the square I noticed that there were quite a few police officers around. I finally saw the monument and the square as well as a huge mass of police officers in their riot gear. My stomach did a little nervous flip but I decided that it was silly to be afraid since I was doing nothing wrong. I discovered that there was a rally or protest of some kind going on in the square (hence the massive police presence) so I opted to maneuver widely around it. I still have no idea what was going on, but I do know that I did survive and nothing "exciting" happened, which I am thankful for.
I continued to fail in my quest for lunch and so ended up back at my hostel around 2:15 to look online again for another option and ask the hostel owner if he knew of anything around the area. I found a few options online and he gave me one recommendation, and with that I set out around 2:40. Three of the four places were again either closed or non-existent, and as I was discouraged and on my way to the fourth option (which was supposed to be more touristy and expensive) I stumbled across a restaurant I had not heard about and they were open! So I went in, had a beer and a big bowl of goulash (which came with bread) for about $7. Amazing. At 3pm that meal was the best thing ever. :)
The rest of my night was pretty low key (which I loved). This morning I went out and bought some treats for myself to spend the rest of my Hungarian currency (except for a few pieces to keep as souvenirs). I then got on a train to Vienna and had a fairly uneventful ride into town. This afternoon and evening have been spent planning the next few days. I also touched base with a family friend who is living in Vienna and it looks like we are going to be able to get together for a drink or something. I am also planning to go to an opera and possibly a ballet performance. If I choose to stand the tickets are pretty cheap (about 3 euro) so that is nice.
Tomorrow I am going out to explore the town, take some pictures, and probably visit a museum or two. I will also go to the Hofburg Palace tomorrow and anything else I can fit in. Wednesday will be another castle and the opera. Thursday is a day of museums and visiting the Stadttempel (a synagogue) which was the only one to survive in Vienna during the Kristallnacht (when the Nazi's smashed as many Jewish Synagogues in one night that they could). Friday will be a little low key and I will fit in anything that I missed and might do a little shopping and try to mail some things home. Friday night I may go to the ballet (standing room) and then will meet up with my family friend and some of his friends. Saturday I am off to Salzburg!
For those of you who haven't seen them yet, I have posted some videos on Facebook. You have to click on the Video box in my profile and find the video's that I posted (not the ones I am tagged in). Some are just fun and some are interesting. :)
I will probably write more tomorrow (hopefully) ... so until then, have a wonderful day friends!