Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A Weekend In Budapest

The boyfriend and I hooked up with some good friends of ours and made the epic journey to Budapest. Flight time is only 2hrs and I know this hardly constitutes the description of 'epic' but you weren’t in the car with us on our way to Heathrow. Trust me when I say that the drive south west from our house was nothing short of 'epic'. There was enough 'epicness' in that single journey to cover both the car ride and the flight.

Once we were finally there and had our feet safely on ex-soviet ground, we made our way to the baggage collection. In the time it took for our bags to arrive we had all had a toilet break, Justin had eaten a ham and cheese roll I smuggled off the plane and Sam and I had been put in our place by an old lady who clearly preferred the ‘old ways’ over westernised tourist asking silly questions about transportation to the hotel. Did I mention the old lady worked in the Information booth? Bored already with the airport, Morven kept us amused as he too got a stern telling off from the Information Lady.

Finally our bags arrived and we were on our way to the hotel. Being the young, sober, excited folk we are, Sam asked the taxi driver if he could recommend any particular beer to try. He literally turned around in his seat and proceeded to answer with, “Beer, drink, yes, beer, good. Music?” clearly English wasn’t a second language to him, but what concerned Morv was his ability to drive at 100miles an hour while talking to us girls in the back seat.
“I think if we want to get to this hotel in one piece we should stop asking Jackie Chan questions.” We all giggled and agreed.

The hotel was clearly build in the 70s. The 70s of which century we’re not sure of. It had character and a 4star rating. We very quickly came to the conclusion this was a 4star Soviet Union rating not westernised-chocolates-on-your-pillow 4star rating. But really, so it was advertised wrong… very wrong. We didn’t complain. We were there to enjoy the culture and get away from Western Europe and experience something new. The something new was clearly in the wardrobe that was missing door handles and screwed shut. We came to the conclusion this was where they used to hide the video camera. What also surprised us about the hotel was the suspicious fire alarm that went off at 8.30am. Me being me, I laid in bed while Justin ran out into the hallway to investigate. No fire, just the hotel manager trying to drum up some clientele for breakfast down stairs.

Day one was spent wondering the streets and taking in the sights, smells and tastes of Hungary’s biggest holiday. I would compare it to America’s 4th July. It was huge! What were they celebrating? I don’t know, missed that part, I was too busy stuffing my face with food and washing it down with £1 pints. The Red Bull air race was on and in the evening we were treated with a huge fire works display. It was really beautiful. Once the fire works were over we decided to head back to the hotel. Morven and Justin were in charge of the map. (Bit like they were in charge of the map going to Heathrow… but that’s another story all on its own!) Who knew where they were leading us. Eventually after walking in the wrong direction for close on 15mins Sam took control and took the map. Within minutes we were back on track and walking the other way up the road. We gave the map back to the boys who examined it and then proclaimed that THEY now had us walking the right way. Sam and I consulted the map a few more times (while they held it) and eventually we got back to the hotel. The boys made it up to us the following day, when they treated us to a day at the spa. The hotel manager was a funny fellow who could give me a run for my money in the cunning department. He told us that he could sell us the tickets to the Spa. Only 3800HUF, the same price as it would be at the Spa. We kept this in mind but we wanted to wonder around first and not be tied down to only one location, so we made the decision to buy our tickets at the spa. Upon arrival we took a look at the price board. Same price hey Mr. Hotel Manger? You are a naughty, lying, cheating, hotel manager! The price was in fact only 3000HUF!

The Spa was amazing!! Over 20 different pools all different temperatures, saunas and steam rooms! The boys even got to see some granny boobs!! We spent over 3hrs there taking it all in and toping up on some much needed sunshine. Only in Hungary can you order a beer poolside!

After the spa we ate some mustard with a sausage. No really, not sausage with mustard, this was a paper plate filled with mustard and sausage for scooping the mustard into your mouth. It was good! With our mustard swimming in our tummies we made our way back to the city centre to find a beer consumption house. Instead we found a back alley restaurant and ordered wine. Okay, we didn’t order just wine, we ordered Absence as well! So now quite merry, we made our way to the next bar where us girls had a bottle between us and the boys drank god knows how many pints. From there we found an English pub and drank some more there. It’s usually at this point I’m close to done but seeing as we were on holiday we decided that some dancing was in order. Don’t ask how and please don’t ask why… we found ourselves in some club-thing-amu-do. Just as we thought this night couldn’t get any better, we found a karaoke room! KEN LEE!!! (Youtube it, now imagine it live, my tummy hurt from laughing!) Doubling over in fits of laughter after hearing "Rike a Wirgin", Sam and I went and chose a song for us to sing. We didn’t tell the boys until it was our turn. All four of us took centre stage and belted out the best rendition of ‘We Are the Champions,’ that you’ve ever heard. The crowd. Went. Nuts! They had their lighters out and waving them above their heads, they were all singing and dancing and wrapping their arms over each other shoulders. We truly rocked their world! The night went on and didn’t stop. Not even when Morven broke a cigar cutter – the funny part was the four of us trying to keep a straight face while watching the bar tender try and fix it! After 2 more Absence, some Unicum and a Flaming Lamborghini we were well and truly done. Pit stop by the local kebab shop (they’re called Gyros) and we were slowly but surely on our way back to the hotel but not before Morven took a wiz off the bridge.

We got back to the hotel to find Mr. Hotel Manager behind the desk. Morven proceed to tell him, “Guess what! The spa gave us special deal because I’m so good looking. (He blew a kiss) Only paid 3000HUF. COOL!”
Sam and I quickly bound the pair of them in the lift before they could blow anyone else kisses.

The following day was a quieter affair. Nursing hangovers, we walked the city and took in the sights that we had missed in our drunken shambles the nights before. Budapest is truly a remarkable city filled with both modern sights you would expect to see but it also carries an undertone of history. There is something very touching about the buildings that still have bullet holes in them and also the memorials to all those who perished. Hungary has been torn every which way. Most countries have a wanted a piece of it at some point or another. The locals are mostly friendly and happy to help and even have a chat with you over a shot of Unicum.

The morning we flew out, we were sad to say good bye. It was a weekend that we will laugh about for years to come!

*All photos taken by Sam Brocklehurst*

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