Monday, September 8, 2008

The Beginning?... I Guess

The picture to the left is of the Pest side. The building in the center is parliament. It was built during a time when Hungary was 3 times the size it is today. The next picture is of the Buda side. The largest building there is of the castle. The last picture is a close up of what I believe is St Matthew's Cathedral.

This is the most beautiful city I have ever been in. The Hungarians are a bit strange. They will do anything to escape paying taxes. Now I know, you're probably thinking that everyone is like that but these people created new floor names to escape a luxury tax. Not too long ago there was a tax on all properties that were over 5 stories high. Most of the buildings in Pest are 7 stories by American standards. The first floor is called Ground Floor, then First Floor, then Floor 1, 2, .... 5. I live on floor 3 which is actually floor 4... in America. Not every building has a First Floor but every one that I have seen has a Ground Floor.

I've been here about a week and a half now and since I've arrived, I've climbed to the top of Buda hill to the Citadel 3 times and taken a tour bus once. It gives you a great view of the city and every time I go I try to make myself sentimental to make it actually hit me that I am here. What I find amusing is that it hits me more when I think about the time difference. All I have to do to figure out what time it is back home is jump 12 hours ahead then add three hours. It gives a pretty good idea that I am half a world away. Like right now, it's 2:30 in the afternoon here and in Sacramento it's 5:30 in the morning.

Sometimes I'm amazed how far pointing will get you. I don't know the words for basically any food so I've been choosing what to eat based on where there is no crowd and what is easy to point to. Although I do know how to ask for a cup of coffee (kerek egy kave (minus a few diacritics)). Another thing that is great about this place is how cheap certain things are. The coffee at most non-tourist places ranges between 130-180 forint. That's about $1. Wine is szuper cheap at around 280-500 forint, $1.75-$4, and it's gooooood wine. They also have a delicious candy here that is cottage cheese coated in dark chocolate. Sounds gross but it's not like cottage cheese in the US, it's actually good and drier. I'll miss it when I'm gone because it's not really sold outside of Hungary.

My apartment is gigantic. It was built in the late 19th century and it's right next to City Park, which is right next to Hero's Square, two museums, the Sechennyi Baths, a zoo, and an amusement park. But all of those are on the opposite side of the park. I love where I live because it's on the farther side of Pest and my school is in Buda so I get to explore everything in between. Essentially it rocks.

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