Thursday, 24 April 2008

A Visitor

Krista came to visit this past week and besides having an awesomely good time, we did the usual Scottish round-up. A Scottish round-up includes going to almost every pub in St. Andrews, travelling by bus through the Scottish countryside (although I made Krista go to Edinburgh on her own - my schedule was not very flexible this past week), I made haggis, we were entertained by my British flatmates, and we discovered one of the finest beaches in Scotland. Of course, there was the usual St Andrews tour, which takes about 2 hours: the castle, the cathedral, the campus, the town, and the golf course. Add on another half an hour to walk back to my flat.

Correction: As Krista pointed out, as did several other visitors, I do not exactly walk through fields to get to class. There is a paved path. But the fields border it - one side being hay fields and the other being a hedge and playing fields. The rabbits and ravens are the most frequent site along this walk.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Budapest, Part 1: Arrival

It's been awhile since I set foot in the land of writing blog entries. For the past several weeks, I travelled to a myriad of places. Nothing too obscure - unless we want to discuss the Beckett I read for my Irish literature class - I jaunted my Bohemian self across the plains of Europe to better explore Budapest and Paris. Of course, if I needed any less Bohemia, it might be now. But that may be another story to follow.

I arrived in Budapest around midnight, following a day of airports. If I ever appreciated train travel, it is now after spending at least 2 full days at airports in order to acquaint myself with Europe on a budget. I have come to learn that the budget airlines of Europe are all talk - they are extremely uncomfortable, inefficient, and often make up the 'budget' price with a variety of fees. However, after a jaunt with WizzAir from London to Budapest, I was more than happy to meet the transportation of Eastern Europe. (My experiences of public transportation in Poland were very limited.) Lena, who I was visiting, met me at the airport and we then took the night bus back to her flat in the center of the city. Unfortunately, she had never been on a night bus this far from the center of Budapest and it proceeded to become an adventure, one in which we picked up some random Italian guy, also hoping to get to the center of town.

After getting off the airport shuttle at the metro stop, we waited for a bus, Lena, me, and the Italian. We waited at the stop, trying to ignore the exceedingly drunk and fat Hungarian man. But unfortunately this was no ordinary drunk, content with talking to himself. He kept making noises at us, "Wsht, wsht, wsht" he would say, and then he kept getting closer, close enough for us to see the spittle we had previously imagined. Luckily for us, the bus arrived. Unluckily for me, the drunk decided to climb on the bus ahead of me, and as I tried to climb the stairs with my suitcase, he fell backwards off of the steps. I jumped off before he could hit me, jamming my finger against the handle of the suitcase, while tentatively trying to get past him. Eventually, I joined Lena on the bus and we were off.

After about forty minutes, we made it back to Lena's apartment, a grand relic of the Soviet era. It was like the similar Polish relics I had seen, but it was surprisingly decent on the inside. While small, the apartment was comfortable and the owner had made a thorough attempt at decorating it. I readily admired the various retro Hungarian ads the filled the walls and the simple, yet attractive mixture of antiques and Ikea. As it was late, we went to bed, Budapest waiting for the next day.