November 12th, 2012

That Time We Were “Rich” In Budapest

Ciao friends! Here is the final installment of my posts about fall break!

After Poland a few of us went to Budapest in Hungary. The first thing you need to know about Hungary is that they have this crazy currency. Called the Hungarian Forint (abbreviated HUF so we called the currency “Hufflepuffs” after the house in Harry Potter, but more on that later), their currency is so inflated that $5 USD is equal to 1000 Hungarian Dollars. Crazy! It was mindblowing to go to the ATM once our plane landed and take out 10,000 “Hufflepuffs”(or about $50 USD). As we were taking our money out we were all laughing about how many ‘Hufflepuffs” we had on us and how we were “Hufflepuff big spenders.” Well I guess that someone overheard us because not five minutes later when we were ordering a cab did we hear a couple behind us ask the taxi stand attendant, “How many Hufflepuffs will this cost?” We had started a trend!

We spent our first day in Budapest doing all the touristy stuff. Budapest is technically two cities, Buda and Pest (you can’t make this stuff up), that has been combined into one city. They still, however, call the west side of the river “Buda” and the east side “Pest” (we were staying in Pest). We walked through Pest seeing the famous Gerbeaud coffee house along the way. We crossed over the Chain Bridge into Buda (but not before stopping to take a million pictures!) and started making our way to Castle Hill. We saw St. Matthias, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and had a great overlook of Pest, especially of Parliament. It might have been cold and overcast but it was still so beautiful!

The next day, however, was one of the most relaxing days I’ve had abroad. We spent the entire day in the Gellert Bath House. Hungary, and especially Budapest, is known for its bath houses, all located over natural hot springs. The Gellert was huge, with 6 different pools of various temperatures, saunas, and every spa treatment you can imagine. We spent hours just swimming around, talking, and relaxing in the water. It was a perfect way to end a crazy busy fall break trip and we left feeling refreshed but ready to be back at home at the JFRC!

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