Architecture, a reunion, and the Sziget Festival

Trip Start Feb 22, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

  And after a short flight from Istanbul we arrived in Hungary's capital city Budapest, which is divided by the Danube River, to the west is Buda and on the east - Pest. It is very much what you'd picture of a thriving European city, highlighted by it's remarkable culture and architecture. We were immediately surprised by how many Hungarians knew or were fluent in English. However, we were still very grateful to have a resident to help us out while we were visiting. Missi's friend, Brandon, had traveled to Budapest several years earlier and had never bothered to return.  It would soon become clear as to why.

After some hassle with keys, we were able to gain access to an apartment for the next few days (Brandon's old apartment) - and it was awesome!  . . spacious, 12 foot ceilings, parlor doors, and a balcony looking out over the Danube. Now this we could call home for a while. On our first night, we went out to a delicious dinner and later to a very popular out-door bar for drinks where we met up with some of Brandon's friends.

The next day we set out to do some Hungarian sightseeing. With our great location we were able to easily set out on foot and cross the Danube to explore Buda and Castle Hill. This trek yielded spectacular views of the winding river below and Hungarian Parliament building. We wandered the cobblestone streets above the city before heading home.

Sziget Festival! We had timed our visit to coincide with the Sziget Festival - the largest European, cultural and music festival. This huge event lasts one week and is held on Old Buda Island. It also happened that Aaron's travel buddy, Brian (who we stayed with when we were in Rio de Janeiro), was also in Hungary and at the Sziget festival. We met up with Brandon and Anna and headed out on a ferry where the beer began to flow. We soon arrived at Sziget and were truly impressed. It was in a beautiful location with much of the island and the festival within a forest. There were all kinds of booths, games, activities, and many different kinds of music playing at the various stages. We immediately set in - exploring, absorbing new, Hungarian music, dancing to some great, new bands, and even taking in an acrobatics show. The night ended in techno at "the rave tent" until we could hardly stomp anymore and our feet forced us home. (Sziget is being toted by some as Europe's alternative to Burning Man. Okay, but don't miss Burning Man.)

Cricket game and BBQ last night

We headed out by train the next day to watch Brandon's cricket match. Aaron got a chance to also play, while the girls looked on from the shade. It was good fun and ended with eating some pizza at the train station on the way back. Upon our return we went shopping and purchased a new digital SLR camera with zoom lens.  (Our other camera had died and it was time to upgrade anyway, as Africa was up next in the trip!)

Our last night we had a BBQ/goodbye party at our apartment. We awarded Brandon with a "gold medal" for best cricket player, ate tasty Australian cooked BBQ (tho no shrimp on our barbie) while enjoying our last views of the Danube from our balcony and with the people we'd met. What a wonderful and perfect stop on our trip. Thanks again to Brandon and his friends for making it so much fun!

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