Buda Buda Buda Buda Rockin’ Everywhere!

3 Mar

After a very stressful weekend, a sad loss of my iPhone, and not much inspiration, one Skype convo with my mommy and I’m back on the blogging train!

buda

A week ago, Allison, Kurt, Kyle, and I took a trip to the wild city of BUDA! Never thought I would make it there, but after many Europeans raved about Prague and Budapest I am now able to cross those 2 magical lands off my list! Not knowing too much about Budapest, except for caving and thermal bathes, we booked our trip through Andy Steve’s, son of travel guru Rick Steves, program called WSA (Weekend Student Adventures). I 100%  recommend Andy’s trips to any college students traveling around Europe! Him, his girlfriend/work partner Jenna, and our Hungarian tour guide Bogi, were SO much fun and made what would have been a completely chaotic trip, if we did it on our own, into an unforgettable adventure!!

Coming from 50 degree and sunny weather in Rome, the dinky RyanAir plane landed on the snow covered runway and the whole cabin started clapping. Apparently it’s quite the achievement for a RyanAir plane to successfully land.. well good thing majority of my future flights are RyanAir.. that’s reassuring.

545338_10151289622643465_1017268218_nOf course, no journey is complete without some sort of problem. Not even 5 minutes in Budapest and Kyle’s card is eaten by the ATM in the airport. The group’s stress quickly passed as we were welcomed into the Hungarian city with a nice piece of Hungarian ass and a babushka.

datassTransportation from the airport to the hostel was very seedy. I felt like I was riding my way into the movie, Hostel. It was late at night and we had to transfer buses on this dark, sketchy, empty street in the middle of no where. We finally made it to our hostel around 2 AM and the party was just getting started.

Let me explain our hostel. It was called RETOX Party Hostel. If that doesn’t say enough, I don’t know what will. The reception desk is pretty much a high top bar table surrounded by sloshed staff probably on their 20th beer of the night. There’s a courtyard bar that’s clearly covered in the winter. Retox is run by a group of people who took a trip to Budapest much like I did, and loved it SO MUCH that they decided to stay and make others fall in love with the city just as much. These people are the definitions of functioning alcoholics!! They party till 6am, get up at 7am, and the place is impeccable when everyone wakes up. They make Charlie Sheen look like a lightweight and Project X look like a church group. They’re smart people! Knowing what condition their hostels guests would be in during their stay, the room keys are attached to bracelets so you could never lose them. I’m surprised I returned to Rome, but I’m even more surprised that I returned without an ass tatt or nipple piercings (Just a couple of the services Retox provides). I would return to this place without a doubt!!

retoxx

549798_10151277323236513_2058448494_n

Beer pong off tabletops

Beer pong off tabletops

retoxroommroom

The bar looking spotless in the morning

The bar looking spotless in the morning

The greatest example of the effect Retox has on its guests was waking up the morning after to one of our bunkmate’s rolling over and mumbling in the most confused tone, “Where am I…?” We laughed about that for days. A backpacker’s worst nightmare, traveling so much that they don’t know what country they’ve woken up in. We bonded with Chip, a Georgian who tried but failed to get us drunk everyday starting at 1pm.

Friday morning we met Andy, Jenna, Bogi, and the 12 other traveling students. It was the perfect sized group and I felt like over the course of the weekend I got to know a lot of them really well! It snowed that morning and the city looked like a Winter Wonderland. We had a walking tour before our afternoon of caving, so I strapped on the “gymies”.. can’t remember the last time I wore an outfit like this.. sad.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Inside the gorgeous cathedral is St. Stephen’s actual fist, the patron saint and first king of Hungary. One great thing about the WSA trip is that they take care of all the bus/metro/tram transportation and hold onto all of our tickets and we took a TON of public transportation over the weekend that I would not have been able to master on my own. And probably would have gotten a few fines along the way. We made our way up to Buda Castle Hill where we saw St. Matthias church and Fisherman’s Bastion which are the best lookout points of the city!

st matthias

snow

Up next was our big caving adventure!!!! The minute we got off the bus the snowball fights began. I think I got a chuck of ice straight to the head, but I was so on my game and my aim was at its prime! We hopped in our jumpsuits and hard hats and followed our caving guides through the snow.

Nothing like those saggy crotches!

Nothing like those saggy crotches!

caves

The whole adventure felt like I was reliving my childhood: snowball fights and crawling and climbing for 2 1/2 hours. We split up into 2 groups depending on difficulty levels and I couldn’t be happier that Allison convinced me to go easier because even “easy” was a struggle. Our guide was Frodo, “cause I’m tiny and hairy!” He was a blast and in his broken English said, “Having a group of girls.. It feels like Christmas morning!” I’m sure he had no problem literally pushing our butts through the caves. He seemed to be very impressed with my caving abilities and I have Mr. Patton and my high school rock climbing/bouldering class to thank for that (nostalgic moment)!

cave

cavee

At a few points we all turned off our lights, sat in silence, and all you could hear was your heart beating and you couldn’t even see your hand waving in front of your face. It was pure meditation. That is until we heard the other group catching up to us and decided we’d sit there in the dark and scare the crap out of whoever crawled up first. Hide-n-Seek.. literally my childhood. Frodo showed us this hole in the ceiling that he was small enough to basically dive through, so I thought I’d give it a try.. these Hips Don’t Lie. Made it halfway and couldn’t pull myself out, as mom would say to me, “You look like a stuffed sausage!”

Frodo was liking the view from behind.

Frodo was liking the view from behind.

When we finally came out, it was night time and we were covered in clay. Nothing like another snowball fight to clean off a little. I can’t believe people explore these caves for a living, it was an amazing experience I’ll never forget! We were on our own for dinner but a few of us took Andy’s recommendation for dinner at a place called, Most. We bonded with a couple girls studying in Paris, and stuffed our faces with delicious pad thai and beer.

most

Hostel tip: Be the first one to hop in the shower, or be prepared for an ice cold one. Everyone was soooo pissed at me for using up all the hot water, but you know what I say to that, “You snooze, you lose!” Friday night our hostel organized a Booze Cruise on the Danube river (included in WSA). Before we left, Andy bought a bottle of the Hungarian liquor, Palinka, so we all squeezed up into our bunk room for some Hungarian Welcome shots! Our entire hostel, plus a couple hostels nearby, all headed down to the river where as we waited to get on, another snowball fight broke out. While getting pelted with hard snowballs, the hostel owner screamed, “BOAT. TOP DECK. CHAMPAGNE. EXPLOSION. FACES.” Everyone raced onto the boat and grabbed their bottle of champagne. Allison and I had a lot to celebrate that night, so poppin bottles on the Danube couldn’t have been a better celebration!

You got it, Retox!

You got it, Retox!

Standard public transportation in Budapest..

Standard public transportation in Budapest..

cruisecruisee

Parliment

Parliment

As Hungarian legend has it, everyone is supposed to kiss someone under each of the 7 bridges we go through, but me and Allison decided it would be best to not go back to Rome with herpes of the mouth. Cause you know, what happens in BUDA stays in BUDA, except Herpes.. that shit will come back with ya.

Andy filmed the Harlem Shake Budapest edition in his underwear and a dinosaur head (keep in mind it was less than 20 degrees). Try to find me.. I’m the girl swaying back in forth because I had no idea what was going on!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jabNFZleDtk&list=UUThVbARchXemBHvs8ihWoWA&index=1

After breakin it down on the dance floor all night long, the boat docked and we found ourselves hittin up the famous $1 pizza shop for some late night gourmet slices. The pizza is made down the street and then a guy runs it down to this tiny shop (very cost effective thinking!) Here’s a look during the day because obviously this was not a one stop kind of place..

pizzaa

pizza

Saturday morning everyone struggled to get out of bed at 9, Kurt practically punched me in the face as I tapped him to wake up, and apparently my bunkmates weren’t too happy with me snoozing my alarm every couple minutes. What’s not to love about Demi Lovato and Benny Benassi at 8 am?! We grabbed breakfast and walked around the Central Market Hall, the biggest market in Budapest. It’s right on the river because boats used to drop off all their produce and other food to that location, so they built a gorgeous market hall. Another nostalgic moment, it definitely reminded me of Milwaukee’s Public Market! Many people got the Langos which is traditional fried dough with sweet or savory toppings. Looked DELISH and if I wasn’t already dreading to put on a bikini for the first time this year I would have indulged in one as well!

market

We took the underground metro to our 2nd huge Budapest adventure which the city is most famous for: Thermal Baths. We went to the Szechenyi Baths which is the largest medicinal and one of the largest public baths in Europe. It’s been open for over 10o years with pools inside and out ranging from 110 degrees to ice baths. It was so cool to be in the hot baths outside as the snow fell down on us. Little old men played chess in the water, majority of them in speedos with their big bellies hanging out.. yum.

We jumped from the super hot baths to the ice cold ones to the burning saunas to the lukewarm pools. In one sauna there were 3 young kids hovered against the wall covering their eyes and mouths with towels.. I felt like I was in a gas chamber – not to be diabolical or anything. On the bright side my nasal passages were cleared right up! It was an unbelievably relaxing experience – definitely romantic!

baths

bath

That night Andy took us out for a Hungarian dinner and it felt like the first time we were all together telling stories and picking Andy, Jenna, and Bogi’s brains about traveling. Many people tried goulash for their first time, but Kyle and I split Hungarian style pizza and the delicious duck breast with cabbage pasta and cinnamon apples! We definitely left room for the night’s main event!

Saturday night’s event was the ruin pub crawl. Many years after Budapest’s Jewish Quarter was destroyed in World War II, some of the broken down abandoned buildings were transformed into these hip ruin pubs.

ruin

We went to the third best bar in the world, according to Lonely Planet, called Szimpla Kert. At night this pub is bumpin, with old eclectic furniture (some hanging from the ceiling), a huge outdoor movie projector, an old stripped down communist car you can chill in, and several rooms including an outdoor courtyard. Drinks are cheap, people are friendly, music is awesome, there’s a hookah bar, and the environment is trippy.

szimpla

Sidenote: During the day Szimpla turns into a food market (taste testers up the wazoo) where vendors sell honey, chili, baked goods, produce, and my favorite, BudaPesto 😀

szimplaa

Another famous ruin pub we went to was called Fogas Haz (meaning “Teeth”) where there was an awesome DJ in the main room, tons of smaller rooms upstairs, and a huge courtyard and tent area in the back. It felt like these bars just went on for miles.

fogsor

After stopping for some $1 pizza, a few of us stayed up really late hashing out high school and college stories, making fun of Kyle who passed out next to us and snored like a bear, and bonded in the best way any college students can: playing Never Have I Ever. Paxton, the clown of the group who’s studying in Prague, literally made me laugh till the break of dawn. At some point slap happiness came over me, but he was definitely my main source of entertainment that weekend, I think everyone else would agree.

Since it was so late when we went to bed and we didn’t want to wake anyone up by turning on the bathroom light, Paxton and I brushed our teeth with his flashlight headband. Trying to go to the bathroom in the pitch black stall was a hassle and I heard him outside whispering, “Need me to shed some light on the situation.” He could do a perfect Charlie Day impression, and he had no idea who Charlie Day even was, and he was our Jaimie from Eurotrip – camera and all! HYSTERICAL!

After saying goodbye to the majority of the WSA group Sunday afternoon (tear tear), a few of us wandered the streets until we found this tea house called Sirius Teahaz. It feels like you’re in Alice and Wonderland. There are all these little doors that you need to crawl through to fit in, mouse sized private rooms, and ramps to sit up in little alcoves. We took off our shoes when we walked in and sat on pillows on the ground, sipping our tea. If my cousins (or other family members are reading this) you guessed right, I obviously got Camomile. Very cool place!!

sirius

siriuss

siriusss

Our last stop before heading to the airport, Kyle and Kurt took Allison and I to the Candy Shop.. 😉 But really.. it’s called Sugar! and it’s any woman’s fantasy land. Cupcakes, macaroons, gummies, oh my! I got my cupcake fix and Al went straight to the gummy section! Best quote from Allison that weekend, “This trip has given me a new appreciation for gummy bears… and Jews!”

sugar

It was really sad to say goodbye to Budapest, our new friends, and even more, Retox. As much as I love my clean, warm, bed bug free bed here in Rome, I really miss Retox.. and our bunkmates.

tel aviv

Until next time,

Ciao! ❤

4 Responses to “Buda Buda Buda Buda Rockin’ Everywhere!”

  1. Judy Cerone March 4, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    Dear Marlo(that girl), I am looking forward to your next trip. The caves have me so intrigued. You know I love “old”. Keep safe—keep your guard up. Have fun! Loving you,your Nani Judy

    • marlomarisie March 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Nan!! Next trip is Tuscany (Montalcino, Siena, and Florence) next weekend!! My friend Allison and I are staying where Elise and I stayed at Il Poggione! So excited!!! Still busy with midterms, projects, and papers, but we’ll Skype soon! Love you!

  2. Frodo March 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

    Hi! My English is not broken… -.-” It’s just “too young”! I had a great time with you girls! 🙂 It was feel like Christmas eve (we are opening presents at the evening here in Hungary), with all the sadness that Christmas only comes once a year… 😉 I hope we will meet again some day!! 😉

    • marlomarisie March 27, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      OMG! FRODO! I can’t believe you found this!!! So amazing! You made our caving experience so perfect!!! Maybe I’ll be back some day! Or come to the States!

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