berries, berry picking, Buda, Buda Castle, Budapest, Castle District, culture, delay, England, English, Europe, food, German, Germany, Hero's Square, Hosok tere, Hungary, Jaguar, Matthias church, metro, mulberries, Munich, night train, Pest, protest, Romania, Skalica, Slovakia, tran, transfer, Translyvania, trdelnik, trolley
I’ve been getting up and going every day for as long as I can remember. Today was finally a break from that. I woke up slowly to the sun coming in the window of my friend’s sister’s room, cuddled with a purring cat for some time, then worked on my computer a little before showering. Eva and I had breakfast and chatted so long that we ended up deciding not to tour Budapest until after lunch. In the meantime, we grabbed a plastic pail and headed down to the mysterious “strawberry trees” she told me about.
Turns out the word in English is mulberries! We walked over an aluminum bridge and through a field of blue cornflowers, red poppies, and golden wheat until we came across one lone tree standing alongside the path. A homeless man used to live here and I can see why. The tree was weighted down with huge, dark berries, some so ripe that you could cup your hands under them, touch the branch, and watch a dozen fall off. We filled the pail, talking about health, my travel, and cultures, finding we had a lot more in common than we realized. It felt good to finally talk to someone after all of these weeks, someone my age with similar interests and with no pressure to get me anywhere by a certain time. We walked the pail home and gave it to Eva’s mother who incorporated our berries into her cherry-raspberry cold fruit soup. She also cooked plates full of other foods for us to eat and made a dessert out of the cherries we picked the night before.
After lunch, Eva and I walked back through the field to catch a bus into the city. We took the metro to yet another bus and landed where we were yesterday in front of the tunnel. She walked me to the banks so I could take pictures of the Parliament from across the river. Then we took a trolley around a windy bend towards the castle and walked to yet another bus station. This bus took us up to the castle district on top of the hill. We photographed the guards protecting the president and filmed the relief as several soldiers marched to the drums at 5PM and dismissed the guards. We walked along the museums and the beer festival, taking more pictures of fountains, wrought ironwork, and Roman ruins. Going up the street some, we walked around and I photographed several old buildings, like the Matthias Church.
I absolutely loved the roof and Eva was good at telling me the stories behind everything in the city. We took photos of the view from here, too, and also a photo of me in front of an antique Jaguar… I couldn’t help it – I love old cars! We decided to head back down into the city, taking a bus across the lion bridge as I like to remember it. We went through similar areas to where we were the day before and I photographed some more facades and statues. Finally, we headed for a square near the metro station. There were several museums here as well as a demonstration. Eva explained to me that groups wish to reclaim Transylvania (Romania) and that this was an example of one of them. This was in Hero’s Square, or Hősök tere, where there are several statues of past kings and other leaders surrounding the square. We got on the metro and Eva explained that this metro was the first on the continent ever built (London having the oldest in Europe) and that it was the closest to the surface, too. Then, coming out of the metro at our exiting station, Eva insisted on buying me a trdelník especially after hearing my experience in Skalica with the traditional cakes there. I got one with walnut and it wasn’t quite as thick as the cakes in Skalica, but all likely have an origin in Transylvania. We took the bus home, dashed across the field, and scrambled to pack my things so we could run back out to the same station and get me to my train on time. When we were offered a ride to the station, we got time to sit outside and chat some more about anything and everything. Rushing to the station was still an issue, though, because time went by quickly. Of course, after speeding to get there on time, we found out that my train to Munich, Germany was delayed by 40 minutes. Upset that this was going to take away time from my seeing Munich, I boarded the train in relief to see that the cabins were at least nice. I didn’t want to pay to lay down, so I was going to have to sleep in my seat. It was in this car that I made friend with Nelson, a businessman from Brazil, who occupied my time by talking about languages, travel, and Munich after Eva and I said goodbye. There was also a puppy in my car with a woman who only spoke German trying to explain to us how she rescued the dog who is only nine months old. The poor thing look terrified, but I could tell it is going to have a great home. After only a short time, we flipped off the lights and I became sleepy. I hope this transfer isn’t going to be a problem, or a night sleeping in a train seat…