sábado, 23 de junio de 2012

Good bye Germany... Hello Budapest

Adrienn and I in Hungary
A new step of my trip around Europe was close. One part of this adventure was already completed. I had lived in the capital of Naziland for two months, I had studied German and finally after so many years of study and hard work, was well worth the effort  The night before I left Berlin I went out to party with Lola and Filo. We went to a very uncommon bar, at the entrance we were given a wine glass and we could drink all the wine we wanted, and before leaving we only had to tip. I mean, I drank around 6 or 7 glasses of wine of all type and only tipped 2 euros. It is a pity I knew about this kind of bars exactly the last night, otherwise I would have been there every single weekend. We stayed until 1am as my flight to Budapest was the next day at 11am.
I had to wake up very early to finish my luggage and be at the airport 2 hours before my departure. We left the bar and walked to the train station. There, I hugged Lola and Filo and said good bye. I got home around 2am and immediately went to bed. The next day I woke up very early and started to fight with my luggage. I had to get rid of some stuff I was given in Germany, some books and a winter jacket, because they were way too heavy. When I was about to finish, the landlord's apartment got there, she remembered I was leaving very early that day. Here, I would like to make a pause and talk a little bit about this weird woman. As I wrote in previous posts, Frau Rupp was very nice to me at the beginning, only at the beginning!!! Later on I realized she was crazy and kind of abusive. The first days we set a deal, she would go the apartment once in a while to do her laundry as she did not have washing machine at her boyfriend's place. The first month it was okay, she came only a few times.

The second month I started to feel a little uncomfortable. She came every single day. One day, she came after 11pm to "wash something". Please, somebody explain me what was wrong with her? I got really mad, a Saturday, when she came, opened the door, turned the light on, saw I was in the room sleeping, she did not care and came into the room for something, and she only said: -"Entschuldigung" (sorry) if I could kill someone just by looking at, I would have killed her in that precise moment. The worst part is that she was not even pretty at least to justify her abuse. Another day I told her my cousin who lives in Madrid, and we have not seen each other for a long time, was coming to Berlin to visit me for one week and told him to stay with me so he could save some money. The crazy lady told me it was okay, but I needed to pay her extra 25 euros per day as my cousin was going to use her water! WTF? I did not say anything in that moment. I breathed deeply. I thought of beautiful landscapes, sheeps walking around and I tried to calm down. Thanks God my cousin did not go because I was not going to give her a shit.

Her "laundry" started to make me feel uncomfortable. The old lady came almost every day to wash something, her underwear, her husband's or whatever. She came in the mornings and nights. Could not she come in the afternoon when I was in class? I do not know what to think about it. One day she came and told me if I agree to pay her extra 30 euros for using the washing machine! I was about to have a heart attack! I asked her if she was crazy. Besides, I had already paid her two months of rent and everything was included. It looked she did not like it as she did not bother me for the last week. She only came the last day because she knew I was leaving that day very early. She said good bye to me and told me to forget about the 30 euros. She had already talked to her boyfriend and he told her to leave it like this. However, she said if I wanted to give her 20 euros "voluntarily" she had no problem. She was more than crazy! I did not give her a shit. I took my luggage, said good bye and left.

Amphibious bus on the Danube
I left behind the apartment where I had lived for two months. I walked slowly towards the tram. Then I took the train and later on a bus to get to the airport. When I got on the train, around the fourth station, I remembered I had no ticket. The one I had for February did not work anymore, it was already March. I scared so I decided to buy a ticket. I did not want to be caught up my last day in Berlin. I got off the train and bought a single 2.30 euros ticket at the same station. I waited for another train and got on again. At the next station I heard someone say: -Fahrkarte Kontroll!-(tickets control) definitely I am way too lucky. If I had not bought the ticket I would have been fined with at least 80 euros my last day in Berlin, I dogged that bullet! The woman in charge of controlling the tickets asked me and I gave it to her (Mm that sounds weird) to make sure I must always buy my ticket, I saw how a guy was being fined right in front of me. So you know guys, buy your ticket the last day, the other days does not matter lol hahahahahahaha
I got off the train and took my bus to the airport. It was less than 15 minutes. I was carrying my extremely heavy backpack, a 23-kilo suitcase and a little-15-kilo suitcase. It was still cold, but carrying all these stuff made me feel hot. Minutes later I got to the airport. Everything was perfect. The guy who served me at the check-in seemed kind of stupid. When he checked my passport, he realized I was not German so he spoke in “English”. He tried to ask me where I wanted to sit, aisle or window. The funniest thing was I answered him in German and I am sure he thought: “So hard that was for me to ask you this question in English and you answered me in German!” I went to the boarding area. Something I must tell is the horrible it was. It looked like a huge garage. It did not look like an airport lounge. There were only two or three little shops where you could buy some food. I had not have breakfast and I was about to faint. I walked around watching the shops to see what I could buy. I only bought something because I was really hungry. The cheapest sandwich was 5 euros and a coffee 3 euros. I had no choice so I bought that. I waited 30 more minutes for my flight to be announced, I boarded and I left.

I could almost smell Budapest. I could already imagine Adrienn waiting for me outside of the airport while I was carrying my luggage and running to hug her. There were some people on board speaking Hungarian. I also wanted to learn some words in that weird language. My flight was only two hours from Berlin to Budapest with Air Berlin. The flight was extremely CHEAP, only 48 euros, even though Air Berlin is not one of those low cost European airlines. I was only so lucky when I booked that flight. I must also say I liked this airline very much. Good service, good facilities and cheap. Do not hesitate to use this airline.
Me in Hungary
I landed in Budapest around 2 O’clock; I do not remember it very well. I got off the plain and it was kind of cold, but no as cold as Berlin. I did not do any immigration process in spite of entering another country. For most of the European countries immigration process when entering and leaving a country is not necessary, it is something like a domestic flight. I waited around 15 minutes for my luggage. I could already see everything was written in that weird language. I picked my luggage and walked towards the exit. The automatic doors opened, I looked around and right in front of me was Adrienn, weaving her hands and smiling. I ran faster towards her. Once I was closer I dropped my suitcases and hugged her very hard. I just could not believe it! After 2 years of having promised her I would visit her, I had finally made it. It seemed unreal to me that something that started as a silly promise, in a summer camp in 2010, in the US, had finally come true in that precise moment. I praised her for her beauty. We picked my luggage once again and walked towards the bus station. Adrienn had already bought one ticket for me. As same as in Berlin and many European countries, you must buy a ticket, validate it using a machine inside the bus, tram or station, this gives you a time, and then if you are asked for it, you must give it, otherwise FINE. I cannot even imagine that system in Caracas, it would never work. The bus took us to a train station. We were talking and talking and I could not stop repeating “I cannot believe it, I am in Budaspest!" From that moment on, I forgot about Spanish and German, I will be speaking only English for more than a month. In contrast to The U.S.A, here you can always find a Latin, in the banks, supermarkets, groceries. Here you can speak Spanish whenever you want. In Germany, I used to spend my time with Spanish speaker people. However, from this moment on, none of my friends knew Spanish, except Alberto, who was the last one I would visit. We got to a train station. We went to a supermarket to buy something, I bought something to eat, some candies and then we left. Then we walked to the train station. There are no barriers to get in, there are only two people at the entrance and you must show them the ticket, so they let you in. We went down the stairs to take train, Oh my God! I was shocked. It looked more an old can of tuna than a train. I doubted to get on. I turned and saw Adrienn trying to tell her “Is this our train?” We got on and the train started, it sounded like a broken car. Inside it was old and rusty. Now I was like WOW! I was in Europe and I was on a train that, for sure, had more than 100 years! Adrienn explained me that one of the lines of that train, the yellow line, was the first electric underground line in the European continent. The M1 line of Budapest’s Metro was opened in 1896 and has more than 110 years. The trains of that line are very old and are preserved in that condition to show their age. When the system had 100 year, all of the stations were restored keeping the same old style.

If you know how to appreciate history, you will surely understand how wonderful this Metro is. The entire system has 5 lines, the first one, as I already told you, not only the oldest in Budapest, but in Europe. This Metro system is not comparable to NYC Subway or London Underground; it is more compared to Caracas Metro, for its simplicity.
Yellow line train station

What I felt for Budapest, was love at first sight. I spent 7 days in the capital city of Hungary. I stayed at Redbus hostel, in the center of the city. At first I was supposed to stay with Adrienn at her place, but at that time when I went, her house was full. Instead she found me that hostel. The good thing of staying at that hostel was that I was in the center of the city; I could walk wherever I wanted, and everything was near. When we got to the hostel, it was on a second floor, I had to carry my heavy suitcase one more time. When I got to the second flood I realized there was an elevator. Although it was old it worked. At the reception a nice guy assisted us. He showed us the facilities, it was an old house, but completed restored. It had a kitchen and a fridge. My room was a private room, not like in other hostels where you usually sleep in a room with 10 people. The room smelled like new. It had two floors, downstairs was the bathroom, and a little table, then a short ladder that connected the two floors, and upstairs there were two beds. I really liked that room very much. The first thing I did when I was in the room was taking out my tablet from my backpack and uploaded the pic of Adrienn and me I've just taken on the train. I could not believe it, I felt like dreaming. 30 minutes later we went out for a walk, my first walk in Budapest. I was amazed by everything I was watching. Everything was very old. My obsession for taking picture was back, I started to take pictures of every old building I saw. Adrienn looked at me like if I was crazy and could not understand why I was so amazed by those buildings. She was trying to show me new-built constructions, but I did not care. The thing is that a person that goes from America to Europe surprises every time s/he sees so many old constructions and castles that were built in the 11th century and even earlier. By that time, in America, we were still wearing loincloths and the Europeans did not know anything about our continent. I see it this way: while in Europe people were building castles, huge churches with perfect finish, in America we were still hunting monkeys and living in huts. I do not mean to say we are some level below Europeans, I just mean to say what surprises me a lot; all of the constructions we have in America are new compared to Europeans. We kept on walking and seeing the city. The first thing we did was walk through a large boulevard with store full with typical Hungarian stuff. Later we walked to one of the station of the yellow line. As we were going stairs down I felt like watching a “Back to the future” film. Everything was old. The station is not so big and it is similar to the old train stations of the New York Subway. We waited the train to come. What I saw was also amazing; it was a short old train.

We went out and walked around. We were hungry, so ironic! It is great because I was going to try my first Hungarian dish, I was so happy! The real thing is that we went to a Mc Donald’s. Yes, but at least it was a Hungarian one. Days later, Adrienn took me to a place where we had a delicious Hungarian soups called “Gulasz”. The average price for a Mc Donal’s meal is around 5 euros, and you can find exactly the same food in every country. I admit I am not a great fan of this type of fast food; sometimes I ended eating there, especially when I was in a country where I did not know a thing about the food. It was already dark when we finished having out “Hungarian dinner”. We walked to the train station, by the way, it is very deep in earth, and this is because the train must go through the Danube River. We got off on a station which I do not remember the name. When we came out of the station, what I saw left me lost for words!!
Gulyas!
We were on a side of the Danube and right on the other side, in front of us, we could see the Hungarian Parliament lighted up completely. On the water of the Danube reflected the imposing and amazing building we had right in front of us. It is definitely one of the BEST things I saw in my trip around Europe. This Parliament is considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and I totally agree.

The best moment to contemplate this building is at night when it is lighted and you can see how it is reflected on the water. This is the most beautiful building of Pest, eastern part of the city. The construction of this building began in 1885 and it was finished in 1902. According to something I read on the Internet, during the construction more than 40 million bricks and 500 thousand ornamental stones were used. The front of the building is one of the largest in the world, it has 250 meters long. The style is half gothic and half baroque. I would say a mixed. Inside the building is one of the most important treasures of Hungary: The Holy Crown of Hungary. If anyone of you would like to take a tour inside you must book online some week previous.

Hungarian Parliament
After this wonderful view, went to eat in place on the next street. We had Hungarian Pancakes, Oh my God, it was the best! The best I’ve ever tried so far. They are as thin as a paper sheet and you can have them filled with whatever you want; chocolate, nutella, curd cheese, fruits, and so more. I was in Paradise. Besides, the place is very very cheap. It is one of the cheapest you can find in Budapest. If you are planning to go to this city, you cannot skip this place. It is right behind the station “Batthyány tér”. The place is called “Nagyi palacsintázója” and according to Adrienn, it means, The Grandma’s Pancakes. Don’t think I speak Hungarian, I wish I could! I asked one with chocolate pudding and another one with curd cheese and fruits. I repeat, if you are planning to visit Budapest, you MUST go to this place. After our sweet dinner I had to go back to my hostel. Outside of the station Adrienn took the bus to get to her place. She lives in Buda, the western part of the city. I took the train to Deak Ferenc Ter, I never forget this name because I remember I said to Adrienn it sounds like “diferente” in Spanish. I was so happy, I had already spent my first day in Budapest and there were many more things left to see. There so many things that the next two posts will be completely about Budapest, this wonderful city I felt in love with since the moment my feet touched the ground.

Only with perseverance and dedication everything is possible. Many people say the sky is the limit, but I totally disagree. If the sky is the limit, what can I do if I want to go to the moon? And I mean seriously. That word is not in my dictionary. The obstacles we find on the way are because we want. If I find a rock on my way, I jump it, if I find the sea, I find the way to go through. Life is one and if I do not live it no one will do it for me.

Regards,

Moisés

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