Trip Start Apr 28, 2009
Trip End Jun 01, 2009

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Thursday, May 14, 2009

  I woke up early and headed to the train station to catch my train to Eger. It was really rough getting up this early! Eger is a town that is 2 hours away from Budapest and I wanted to experience a smaller Hungarian town. The train that I took was dirtier than a Winnipeg City bus! It was so dirty that I deprived myself of water as I was scared what the washroom would look like.

Got to Eger and felt like I was the only English tourist around. There were tons of school children taking their field trips here though. I headed to Eger Castle which was really neat to see. The castle is in partial ruins and it was fun walking through the grounds. There were cannons in a few places but I wasn't too sure if they were originals. Checked out a wax museum on the grounds which shows famous figures of Eger's history, plus Hungarians dressed up in local costumes. There was also a spot where you could scramble around in the casements of the castle walls which was fun!

This area was defeated by the Ottomans and in Eger there is a minaret that stands out from the rest of the buildings. It is the northernmost minaret in Europe. It is nice strolling through the town as it is night and day different from Budapest. Despite the size difference, Budapest is much "newer" and Eger is a little more dated with historical buildings that date from the 15th century. I have noticed that the people here look a lot different than those in Budapest. Hungarians are known as the Magyars which 2000 years ago came from Mongolia. Typically Hungarians have more of an Asian look. The language is very different too as it shares no similarities to any of the languages of the surrounding countries. The only language remotely close to it is Finnish. So, the people in Eger have darker features than others. And no this isn't a gypsy settlement!

I checked out this market hall which is a site to see! There is remarkably more poverty here than what I have seen so far, and seeing all these elderly people pathetically looking at you trying to sell a handful of flowers is pretty hard to take. Inside the hall there are all these fruit and vegetable stands and meat counters. It was odd to see people rearranging the fruit while smoking. At the meat counter people were buying whole pig heads. How do you cook a pig's head? It even had it's eyes open. I went upstairs to grab some lunch and it was a challenge to order something. I usually end up ordering a mystery meal but I saw that they have Langos so I went for that. However I lucked out on my toppings and ended up getting sour cream, cheese and garlic. It was different to see them pour the sour cream through a ketchup bottle. So I get my langos and stand at these tables in the eating area and looked around at the others eating. They were all staring at me with these sad, dirty faces of theirs. I am not exaggerating, but they all looked like they could have been extras from Borat's home village! And they KEPT staring!! It was a stare that I took out of them being curious and not threatening. Like they were thinking to themselves "why would she ever want to eat at this dump?" But the lagos was better than the one I had the day before and was cheaper, under 2 dollars!

The one thing that I have noticed about Hungary is that when you leave the tourist area no one will speak English. The phrase book I have is useless as when I try to pronounce something, they still don't understand. Then they will talk to you louder and more excitedly in this language that you don't understand. That is when I break out the universal language of interpretive dance. Haha. If you want something you act things out or point at pictures. When I booked my sleeper I ended up having to fake a yawn and pretend to lay my head down. I got what I wanted! I am hoping that Romania will be a little easier as a lot of German is spoken there and the language is considered a Romance language and is tied closely with French/Italian. I hope this means that when I try to use my phrase book, what I say sounds somewhat similar to what I want!

The weather has been miserable today and is spitting rain. This combined with my hangover and lack of sleep I decided to catch the earlier train and head back to Budapest. I think I am going to have an early night as I have lots to do tomorrow. Going to check out the Szechnyi Baths!
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