Budapest, Hungary. Prior to my weekend trip there, I knew nothing about this place. My friends Emma and Delaney had plans to visit and I spontaneously joined them. Something about the unknown and element of mystery associated with this foreign country was very exciting to me. When I stepped off the plane into Ferenc Liszt International Airport, it was evident that I just entered a drastically different culture.
That weekend, I was constantly being reminded that I was a tourist by way of two obstacles: the language and the currency. Obviously these are very common cultural differences that all travelers must adapt to. However, "forints", the Hungarian currency, and the Hungarian language are so unique and drastically different from anything that I've ever encountered. It was certainly a challenge performing mundane tasks such as buying train tickets and navigating the airport. In fact, I unfortunately missed my flight back to Barcelona due to an unfortunate occurrence rooted in the language barrier. However, I am grateful for every aspect of my experience because I learned a lot about a new culture and gained a much more worldly mindset.
The highlight of the trip was the Széchenyi thermal baths. The facility felt like an amusement park for adults; Instead of rollercoasters and cotton candy, there were hot tubs and beer. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? I must also emphasize that it is a photographer's heaven because of the beautiful layout and aesthetic. Two large baths outside, filled with hot spring water that created billows of steam lingering just above the hundreds of bathers' heads. The yellow bathhouses, an architectural masterpiece, consisted of countless rooms, each host to a bath with a unique shape and style. Winters in Budapest are very cold so the warm water felt amazing!
Budapest was also one of my favorite places to eat and drink compared to the rest of the cities I visited. At each restaurant, we would order a traditional Hungarian dish that our server recommended. Three of my favorites were goulash, langos, and mulled wine. We ate numerous well-deserved meals after discovering the history of the city on a free walking tour and crossing the bridge to explore the Parliament building. I truly enjoyed my time in Budapest. I think that missing my flight might have been a sign telling me to stay!
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<p>Hey there! My name is Mary Zarba, I am a junior in college, and I am studying abroad in Barcelona with IES Abroad in the Spring of 2020. I study environmental science at a school connected with Syracuse University called SUNY-ESF. Being from Long Island originally, I absolutely love adventuring outdoors especially if I'm near the ocean. I never forget to bring my camera on these adventures. I have a passion for capturing the moment through a lens and transforming ordinary photos and video clips into creative masterpieces.</p>