Saturday, February 26, 2011

Touristing in the Capital City--Feb12

Kevin and I in the mirrored hotel elevator heading down to the restaurant in Hotel Budapest.
Some buildings in the Capital
View from our balcony

Here's the door to our balcony. We were up on the 6th floor. Yes, I did purposefully walk the stairs ONE time from the restaurant up to our room.
Ahhhh, feels so good to stretch out.
Close-up of the texture of the wallpaper in the room.

More views from the balcony. Note the red tile roofs--these are very common here.

An interesting note: when we first entered the hotel room, we immediately went over and plugged in the cell phones, tried to turn on lights, checked the heat settings--nothing was working. Then we noticed this little slot right under the thermostat. We inserted our room key card and voila! lights and plug-ins and fan all sprang into action.
Lion's Crossing

Sorry, right this second I can't find the map we used so am pretty clueless to identify the above buildings. On with the journaling . . .

Journal entry, Saturday, Feb 12, 8:30 pm

Well, we are here in ____ (capital of AbbyLand)

I slept quite a bit of the way from Germany. I am SOOO incredibly tired. I sat on the plane between Kevin and a young lady from AbbyLand who has been living/working in Germany. She said from __ (capital) she'll have a 6 hour bus ride to her home near the Black Sea because in winter a person can't fly directly to her city.

We had no issues with baggage, passport control or immigration. And true to her word, Toni was right outside the customs area sitting in her wheelchair accompanied by her brother Marty and holding up a sign with our last name in bold print. Toni speaks excellent English; Marty doesn't speak English but I'm told he understands everything.

(Fell asleep. Smile)

Journal entry Sunday, 4:45 pm

Let's get back to yesterday: Toni and Marty brought us to the Budapest Hotel and Toni got us checked in. (Whew!! Tired again. Smile.)

This is a nice hotel. Toni suggested we NOT go to sleep until bedtime in order to try to get our bodies on track with a different time zone. So we went for a walk instead. I almost talked myself out of going because it was cold outside and because I was so tired. If I stayed in that room I would have gone to sleep--no doubt about it.

I am so glad we headed out the door. The very nice English-speaking gal at the front desk gave us another "better" map showing the sites we need to see and pointed out a couple routes we could take.

One OLD church had parts that dated back to Emperor Constantine. I am just fascinated by places whose history goes back so far and when home-schooling the kids I particularly enjoyed studying the Roman Empire. This building was so cool. It had something like 5 layers of frescoes inside and ruins outside. I wanted one of the booklets describing it--and they had one in English--but even though I offered the attendant $5 she said she could only accept euros or leva and at that point we had neither. RATS!

Good grief! I am sleepy again.

We saw Roman columns (we think) in front of a museum. We were enthralled with a huge cathedral and so enjoyed trying to figure out the murals on the inside though evening was approaching and it was lit only with candles and windows. We saw Bible story after Bible story--like the Nativity, the boy Jesus in the temple, Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus feeding the 5000, the disciples. These murals were throughout all the alcoves and extended way up to the tippy-top of the tallest ceiling. Simply gorgeous. Of course, no pictures are allowed inside.

Outside though I took tons of pictures of the places we passed. As we were passing a mosque we heard what sounded like a Muslim call to prayer. I'm not sure that's what we were hearing--I didn't see anyone around me dropping down on their prayer mat anyway. We had a couple little brown boys begging for money with their very sad eyes. Toni told us later that evil people force these kids to go out and beg and the children don't end up with the money. She said it's better to just buy them a burger at McDonald's or something so their tummies can be full.

My hands were chilly by the time we were done. I had to keep taking my hands out of my pockets to snap another scene. But at least we didn't get lost. I was able to sound out the Cyrillic street signs well enough to ensure we were on the right road and Kevin (unlike me) has a great sense of direction.

Journal entry, Sunday, Feb 13, 8:10 pm

We had a great dinner in the Budapest restaurant. It is Hungarian Cuisine Month but I don't know whether what we ordered was Hungarian or not (Note: It WAS on the Hungarian menu when we returned at the end of the week) The entree was translated "Good woman." Too funny. It was pork steak with a creamy cheese sauce with green peppers, mushrooms and a little chili pepper. Totally delicious and very attractively arranged. We also had french fries and two 8 oz. Cola-Lights apiece.

The same young man who was kind of like the bell-boy at the front desk was the waiter in the restaurant. Kevin and I were the only ones in the dining room during most of the meal. It was convenient to be able to charge the meal to our room. This can be paid either cash (dollars or leva) or credit card.

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