Sunday, August 14, 2011


We slept on the bus and arrived in Budapest at about 10 a.m. The bus parked in the center of Budapest, we grabbed our swimming suits and went to enjoy the varied-temperature swimming pools that the city is well-known for. We also went and sat in the sauna, which is a hot, hot steamless room where you sit and let all the water evaporate out of the body. Then you go and jump in an icy cold pool. It is supposed to be healthy. Oksana did not enjoy it. She said, "I think I'm in hell." But we did enjoy doing laps in the long pool (which we had to buy a 100-forint plastic swim cap for which just resembled a plastic bag) and the hotter pool for relaxing.

We were allowed two hours to swim and then one hour to eat. We were late finding the cafe that had been recommended by the guide, and the food took awhile, so we had to tell the waiter to box it up. Then we had to race off to find our bus. We were lost for a few minutes while we hunted for the landmarks we remembered on the way to the pools (a sculpture of four checked cars in a river and another sculpture of a partially submerged house in the river), but eventually found our way.

Later, we walked around Budapest with a guide and viewed all the main sights.  The problem with going on a Ukrainian tour is that everything is in Russian. Oksana translates sometimes but it's difficult to all the time so most of the time I just walk around the perimeter taking pictures while I wait for the guide to finish talking so we can move on. We had a little free time to walk through a souvenir market and then had to hurry to meet the group at the bus at the appointed hour.

That evening we drove to our hotel. Oksana has never stayed in a hotel before! I pulled out the video camera to capture this second first (the other being that she has never been in a foreign country before.) She was excited to find out that there is a shower in the room, and there are amenities like TV, refrigerator and cabinets. I warned her not to eat the things in the fridge or she'd have to pay. We walked to a cafe to eat and then I used the free wifi in the lobby to call mom and post a few blogs. The room was really hot before we opened the window and Oksana said, "This is the second time today that we're in hell."

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