Posted by James
It was Thursday afternoon, and as I attended my last class of the day I couldn’t help but get elated. Cannon and I turned in our travel document sheets at the front of the class, and then turned and left differential equations early. As we walked out we both just gave each other a stare.
“That felt like such a weight was lifted off my shoulder” I said.
“Budapest here we come,” Cannon chanted. And as far as weekend trips go, this is one of the most I looked forward too.
Our trip starts in Metz-Ville Gare (train station) as always, but ends much farther away: Budapest. Being Hungarian, I was definitely going to visit Hungary at some point during this fall semester. Earlier in the semester I sent out messages on our Facebook group trying to assemble a crew to visit “the homeland” with me. That Thursday evening at 6 pm we boarded our first of 6 trains and began our 15-hour trek to central Europe.
Friday, September 23rd:
I feel the sun on my face as I open my eyes; they’re sore from the night before from frequently waking to change trains. In the background I can hear a strange but familiar sound: people talking, talking in Hungarian. As my ears begin to convert the words I feel a sense of relief and joy come over me. I wake and look around me. Noticing we are on the outskirts of the city, I tell me friends that the weekend is about to start.
A traditional way to begin a day or holiday with family and friends begins with palacsinta (pancakes) in Budapest. I led our crew to my favorite palacsinta spot on the “Buda” side of the city. I was set to do the whole while acting as their personal tour guide retelling the history of each part of the city, just as it had been told to me by my mother, my father, my grandmother, my uncle, and the rest of my family. After finding our hostel, I set out for my weekends work. My primary goal, apart from visiting friends and seeing my mother’s birthplace another time was to show my travel buddies the gems of Budapest. We started the day by taking some trains downtown to eat some authentic “Magyar” food. As I ordered all our rounds of food I felt a calming sense come over me. It may have taken a day and a half to get here, but as the guylas and spicy paprika warmed our throats we all began to agree it was worth it. The second course consisted of csusza and csirke paprikas, heavy cream based foods filled with cottage cheese, potatoes, and chicken.
An iconic feature of Hungary are the ruin pubs. A key part of these bars is the architecture and the environment. Each pub has their own look and vibe that corresponds to the drinks and food they serve there. Hungarians are a very somber people and seldom go to these pubs the same way as Americans or other cultures go
to drink. These often represent hang out or meeting places, often a way to start the evening.
Saturday consisted of mostly the same, touring different parts of the city eating guylas once again and enjoying the city’s beautiful unique attributes. And as we boarded the train Sunday morning at 5 am, all thanked me for the weekend. Yet, I deserved none of the thanks, I was just lucky enough to help my friends see the beauty of my parents’ homeland.