christabel_daae: (Крыши рыбацкого бастиона)
Another hello from the past. This time the entry will contain, I guess, even less descriptions of sights. Almost inclusively words, words and words about nothing. As for the photos, they mostly depict food). Though there'll be several nice takes of Lviv City. Like this one:

This entry was written during the last day of my trip, when I had to stray in Lviv, waiting for my evening train home. I couldn't find the necessary clarity of thought to continue about my journey in chronological order, so I wrote mostly to distract myself. No wonder this is such a large entry - I even cut it in two!
A great amount of text with several pictures )
christabel_daae: (Крыши рыбацкого бастиона)
Decided to post another entry from my dear paper journal. As before, along with several photos. This time the post's very short. And as before, very stupid, pretty personal (though surely not That kind of personal for me to keep it locked). This one's about my decent meal and our arrival to Pannonhalma (I'll tell about the Abbey later, but put all the photos already here)

Photo teasers



Some paragraphs and a number of large pictures )
christabel_daae: (Default)

Friday, the 20th of July
11:30 AM


I
start my writing sitting on a bench in a small green square with fountains and a playground for children. According to my map, that must be ‘Honved ter’. At least I know for sure that one of its sides is Szemere Street. I open a bar of my favourite extra dark chocolate, ‘Roshen Brut’ – I brought it from Kyiv along with other travelling snacks and have kept it until this minute. (Kyiv… I’m already so homesick…) <…> *Oh God, I wish it were cooler than 40˚C and my chocolate were a snack, not a drink*

View from my park bench



(16.07.07)

Natalie turned out to be a marvellous guide. She is rather a dandy – very stylish, with an outstanding general image and neatly chosen accessories. She’s rather tall, but nobody would call her lean. She has long curly red hair, long though neat nails. She smokes long slim cigarettes in cigarette-holder. The lady is a very intelligent person, she knows loads of facts and stories from various spheres – and she can tell them so amusingly! Her wit is great. I was happy, blissfully happy to spend three days in her company – from Monday to Wednesday.
So, returning to Fishermen’s Bastion. Natalie told us the history of Matthias Church (which was at the moment partially hidden under that stuff for builders – its exterior is on reconstruction). Next to the church stands a hotel – ‘Hilton’. An ugly modern building. I’d kill people for erecting such things among beautiful historical monuments. (That means I’d kill the authorities and public architects of Kyiv). A funny occurrence: among others, there’s an old man, quite a Soviet-looking old man in our group. That’s his first visit to a western foreign country. So, this Mr. Joseph M. asks Natalie: “Dear, you said this hotel is owned by representatives of some dynasty?” – “You’re quite right – the Hiltons”. “The Hiltons? Who are they? I mean, nationality” – “Well, Americans – but have you never heard, for instance, of Paris Hilton?” The answer was only an ‘ehrm…’ :)
My Pictures of the Sights )


Trinity Square – unfortunately, the monument there was taken away for renovation. Well, five years ago I did get a glimpse of it. Nice medieval (or renaissance, I’m bad at such niceties) streets… an old theatre where Beethoven gave a public concert… the President’s residence (nothing around it that could show one that this is not an ordinary mansion). The Royal Palace – this time only a brief look through the gate. We walk back to Disz ter, get on our bus and drive over Chain Bridge (or Széchenyi Bridge, after the great count István Széchenyi).  

 

My pictures of the sights mentioned )

Chain Bridge - a popular shootview, isn't it?)

***
…Central European time 13:10. I sit in a café (or a pizzeria, they serve pizza here) – Nádor Kavéház in Nádor Street 19 (I write from the menu). I was simply tired of walking in 40˚C, this talk of the town (probably the temperature’s higher, according to my feelings). So I came to the first café which seemed to be not something terribly posh and expensive. It’s small, two-storied and cozy. The hostess doesn’t speak a word in English, German, French or Russian – my foreign languages; fortunately by this day I’ve learnt to read menus in Hungarian. Pizza – quite clear:), as well as ‘kávé espresso’ (and ‘üdítok’ seems to mean drink in general). I choose their ‘déli menü’ – 24 cm pizza of your choice (I pointed on the word ‘salami’ and on a drawing of a mushroom), 200 ml (they call this quantity 20 dl) of Coca/Fanta/Sprite and ‘kávé’. At this very moment I am waiting for my salami&mushrooms. 
My Lunch



16.07.07.

On the Pest side we were shown the Parliament (as if I need to be specially shown this magnificent building which makes me feel so envious…) *ah, here comes my pizza. A little burnt, but starving Sasha will devour anything… but the pastry is really thin and the filling is tasty…* The next stop was next to St István’s Cathedral (or basilica, I’m not always good at finding precise English equivalents). How do I like the architecture of Catholic temples, both outwardly and inwardly! The organ was playing mystic variations during our whole visit. Icy air (in comparison to 36˚C outdoors), stone pillars, really high ceiling (the main dome is 96 metres high, for Hungary was formed as a state in 896 AD), these sounds… that was magnetic. Subsequently I changed my money (“Ah! Finalmente!” – ©Puccini, ‘Tosca’) and buy a card for international calls. But the automatic telephones didn’t work for me. They simply asked for extra coins (which they shouldn’t do, according to the instructions on the card) and devoured them with no result. That was a great disappointment. Only on Thursday I managed to activate it and have a fine talk with my parents. 
My pictures of the sights mentioned )

The bus drove to Heroes’ Square, Városliget (City Park) and the… well, here I dare not choose a description or epithet… Vajdahunyad Castle. I absolutely adore that part of it which is a copy of some famous building in Transylvania. (Besides, the Hungarians still wish that Transylvania had been returned to Hungary, as it had been for a long time until the end of World War I). So, I took a really great number of pictures of someone’s castle (I also returned to the spot in other days). You see, just before my departure from Kyiv I spent a week reading Hellsing manga and fanfiction (trying to choose my favourite pairing Al+Tegra), then discussing the whole matter with dearest Tatiana (or simply Nazgul for close friends)… so Hellsing fans would understand me. 
The castle which captivated me

My pictures of the sights mentioned )

Around 1 PM our free time began. Some of us went to the zoo, some chose the Luna park. I was among those who went to the famous Széchenyi Spa Baths (Széchenyi fürdo), a nice neo-Baroque building. 2400 forints for four hours, 200 of them repaid for every hour unspent. The baths are really, really nice. There are 11 (I counted them intentionally) indoor pools, from small to rather large ones. The temperature varies from about 15˚C up to 40˚ (or even 42˚C). Again, underwater seats everywhere. After a long journey I felt dizzy and almost fainting, but some repeated submersions, done in turn in the 15˚C and the 40˚C pool made me feel alive.

Photos of sight mentioned above )




***
4 PM. Finally after hours of walk I ‘landed’ in a café. A tiny confectionery with two round tables. Again only one of two women behind the counter understands some words in English. The punch cake is ‘comme ci comme ça’; kind of a chocolate muffin with thick marzipan icing is better… But at least an item costs 230 forints, not 500 or 1000! My thought returns to Széchenyi Baths…

(16.07.07. still:)
Yes, the Baths were fantastic! I noted already the number of indoor pools. Among them were one with a stream, another, where a coach showed everyone aqua fitness, three (or was it four?) Finnish or dry saunas, two of them included pools of cold water and tubs full of ice… a ‘Russian sauna’ – the sweating room with steam. Outdoors there were three large pools, two with streams for hydro massage, there also was a big section with powerful stream which turned the pool into kind of a merry-go-round. The third was the only deep one. I wished to have a swim – I adore swimming and dislike places not deep enough. But I wasn’t allowed to: only those with bath caps are. Do they think there exists a bath cap to be pulled over my whole amount of hair? I spent quite enough time by making a ‘Hairstyle for Bathing’, in order not to let a lock to become wet.
Still, as I’ve said, I had fantastic time in the Baths.

Among others there were two ladies from Lviv, mother and daughter. This was their second visit to Budapest (they came just for Thermal Medicinal Baths this time), so they could give the others many tips. It was them who recommended me a fast-food restaurant, or rather a canteen some minutes walk from Heroes’ Square, in a modern building of glass and metal. Guess what? Quite true, the staff didn’t know a word in English, German, Russian or French, or even Ukrainian. The strange-looking dishes were also signed only in Hungarian. I risked taking some goulash-looking red soup, and it turned out to be really a goulash, and not a bad one. And an Irish coffee, that’s universally understandable.

At 6 PM our bus took us from a park lane by Heroes’ Square to the hotel. A change of clothes – and I’m ready for an evening at a traditional Hungarian restaurant, ‘csarda’, and additional tour offered by the agency. Live gipsy music and folk dance. *by the way, I’ve already asked for a fourth cup of tea. And my continuous handwriting… I wonder what the ladies think of me? Still, have I to worry? My seat is comfortable enough and Earl Gray with milk is quite tasty* So, what do I say? The evening was great. Amazing! Exciting! Fascinating! I liked the interior of the csarda – folk style, hanging dried paprika and garlic braids (sic!) for decoration… (it’s rather an inn, or a pub – the word ‘restaurant doesn’t suit it perfectly). I also liked the food served. Goulash soup – big pots put on the table, so everyone had plenty of it (I ate two full plates). Then – assorted meat, sausages and salads. As for the latter, there could be more, but at least the cabbage I tasted was fine. As well as the assorted shish-kebab: chicken, sausage, pork lard, bacon… As for drinks, there were big bottles of red and white dry wine – not only I, a modest and careful drinker, but all of our group had enough of it. And plenty of mineral water in bottles and carafes. The wine was quite nice – I seem to have mentioned above that I like dry ones and dislike any sugary drinks. In the end there was some cake with coffee for dessert. And the music was wonderful. As I later noticed, the trio we listened to, that’s a traditional folk ensemble: a violin, a contrabass and a cembalo. Unfortunately they didn’t play my favourite Monti’s Csardas. I used to play the piano part for my brother, a wonderful violinist for his twelve of that time. (I should confess that I’m a poor accompanist, I try badly, but I can’t get rid of my habit ‘always to lead’). Back to the csarda: they did play Brahms’ Hungarian Dance! (I’ve forgotten the number, let’s say, the most famous of them). I’ve always liked this enchanting music piece. And since I saw Leslie Nielsen dancing to it in ‘Dracula Dead and Loving It’, I became Very Fond of it. “My favourite dance – the Csardas!” Other pieces played during the evening, not ‘something Gypsy’ were also to my liking: instrumental versions of Frank Sinatra, Edith Piaf, retro hits like ‘Bessame mucho’… We had a possibility to dance, both in a round and in pairs. I asked some group guide to dance (in pure German, and later I heard him speaking Ukrainian to our guide Michael… I wonder whether he learned finally my nationality). I also danced some conventionalized Carpathian folk dance with Michael… 

A picture I took there )

So, once again I repeat: the evening was great. On our way home the whole bus was singing folk songs (sometimes different ones at a time) – people were obviously enjoying themselves. They decided to continue the party, the difficult point was the choice of place or the hotel room. Me (sitting in the very front, loud in German): “Zimmer zwei hundert achtzehn! Zwei hundert achtzehn!” (Or 218, the number our guide stayed in). Michael: “Nein! Das geht nicht! I am on duty!” Finally after the bus had been shouting for some time “Misha, our dearest guide, we’ll come for the party to your room, whether you like it or not” he had to agree. Unfortunately I never learnt what happened that night, for I went to my room as soon as we arrived. I didn’t risk looking out and joining the party wherever it took place. And in the morning there weren’t any signs of heavy all-night drinking on anyone. But with our people you may never know…

***
Five cups of tea and two cakes… I am leaving the café. The evening hasn’t fallen yet!

christabel_daae: (Default)

Tuesday, the 17th of July
11:14 – inside the bus on my way to Tata, Györ, etc.

Sooo… Miskolc-Tapolca. We spent four hours in the cave pools. I’ve been there already, as I’ve said, five years ago. Since then new pools have been added to the labyrinth inside the mountain. There also are several outdoor pools. How grand it is to swim in those surroundings!  Probably the most exciting pool is the one with a ceiling like sky at night, covered with stars. This hall is considerably darker than other ones; it’s illuminated with changing colourful lights (crimson, yellow, ultramarine…). In various pools there are attractions like jacuzzi (kind of), artificial streams and eddies. In practically all of them there are bancs by the walls, to sit on while the whole body is in thermal medicinal water. (The depth nowhere exceeds 130 cm. I realize that these are rather medicinal baths, not swimming pools - but I prefer deep pools where one can have a decent swim).  Anyway, the pools in Miskolc-Tapolca are great and I had a good time there.

My Photos of cave pools in Miskolc-Tapolca



***********************


And a more professional and descriptive photo I found on my arrival home

We arrived in Budapest before eight o’clock, from the Pest side. Passed the beautiful central boulevards and squares, crossed the river… then the comparatively historical part of Buda (for here they build ugly monsters of concrete, gray panels, steel and glass side by side with masterpieces of bygone centuries). We passed this also. Soon we’re heading through a district which looks more and more like a suburb. It turned out that our tour manager was lost (sic!) and we drove too far to the west. Then it turned out that the streets were too narrow, in addition to that some patches of the road were being renovated…  I mean the drivers had great difficulties in getting to the hotel. Many of the group were terribly disappointed by the location of the hotel and the professionalism of the tour managers (I mean they did express all this).

Well, I’d also wished the hotel were next to some underground station, as it was in Prague. Still, I wasn’t exactly promised this – and seven tram stops from Moszkva tér (Moscow Square), an important road junction with an underground station. Probably I’ll be able even to walk from my hotel to the historical part of Buda – I am a walker… However, Victoria R., an old lady who shares the room with me, became very angry, she was violently discussing the matter for quite a long time with our tour manager, Michael (or Mikhailo, actually). Finally we got our magnet card keys (I was nicely surprised to get my own one) and took the lift to our room.

There was one more unpleasant incident of the evening. No, not that serious, I simply learnt that another my expectation turned into a shattered illusion. I know well that summer is not the season for theatres, still, I hoped. I even managed before my departure to find the repertoires of Budapest opera and operetta. Opera was closed, and operetta – operetta gave its last performance on Saturday, the evening I was tasting wine at Tokay! Helas, cruelle destinée (©Gounod, ‘Faust’) Hope wasn’t dead yet and short after putting my bag on the carpet by the bed I descended to talk with the receptionist. He was quite nice and printed me the repertoires of some theatres. Good news: not all the theatres ‘are on vacation’, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is on! (I wouldn’t write here how much this musical composition, or even the story itself does mean to me). Bad news: the performance is tonight – probably the second act has just begun. Next performance in this theatre – next Saturday (or the night I’ll be passing Ukrainian border). ‘Christine, Christine… why, why?’

To finish, here’s a description of my room-mate. She is in her late sixties, lives in Kharkiv alone (in fact she lets a room of her flat to an Arabian student). She spends quite a lot of time in Moscow, for her daughter’s family lives there. Her son-in-law is quite a man of fortune: for example, only this year they have visited Egypt thrice and at that moment the family was having a holiday in Spain. Mrs. R. travels a lot herself and wants to get if not luxury, let’s say, all possible comforts.  A ‘five stars plus’ hotel in Turkey impressed her so much that she is constantly comparing the disadvantages of this trip to ‘Turkish bliss’. I find this very silly: these are very different kinds of tours! If one wants to lie on the beach, to be fed well four times a day, to have staff hurrying around – one should go to special resorts. And I like the visits to European cities for special ambience and my personal freedom. Not to depend much on the hotel, to go walking the ancient streets shortly after breakfast and to the twilight (or later), to have a meal when you are hungry, with a possibility to choose a canteen – or a respectable restaurant (during this trip I’d love to have at least several really luxurious meals)… I should have the whole town at my disposal; I don’t want confinement in a tiny garden around some Turkish hotel. Then I came here also for guided tours, to learn facts and legends about Hungarian kings and nobility… Mrs. R. loathes these hours of standing and walking, these captivating stories – ‘As we don’t have enough of our own princes!’ To conclude about her: she will always find faults with everything and everybody (for example, she claims herself to be a very intellectual person and an interesting interlocutor, calling others in the group banal, vulgar, etc.) She will talk late in the evening, already in bed, not letting me fall asleep (or write a decent account in my diary). Anyway, at least she seems to like me and consider me ‘a nice, modest and shy girl’. And I have an opportunity to write about her here;)


Wednesday, the 18th of July
Half past eight in the morning

Once again I am sitting in our bus, waiting for the departure – this time to Balaton, the great Hungarian lake. But better to pass immediately to the day before yesterday, when our bus tour around Budapest took place.

The bus left a parking lot near the hotel at eight. At Moszkva tér our guide joined us. Natalie is a native Ukrainian who has been living in Hungary for 32 years already. She is to tell us special information about the sights, Hungarian past and present day, etc. (while Michael is just a group manager in general). After passing a very long tunnel and Adam Clark Square we make our first stop beneath Fishermen’s Bastion. The stairs lead to Matthias Church…

christabel_daae: (Default)

Tuesday, the 17th of July
Just after 8 AM – Budapest time


I’ve settled myself cosily at a table in our hotel’s open terrace. I’m waiting for our departure to a conducted tour to some old towns of Pannonia (9 AM). That promises to be a nice trip to some gothic towns. Finally I managed to escape from my roommate, a lady in her late 60s and a terrible chatterbox. If only I didn’t have to utter ‘yes, yes’ and ‘u-huh’ to the stories about her life and loves, her relatives, her recent holiday trips – then I would get at least an hour more of healthy sleep. But now I return to Tokay –
14.07.07 - evening and 15.07.07 - morning )

christabel_daae: (Default)

Sunday, the 15th of July
23:24 – Budapest time


Yes, this is true! Finally – finally I am in Budapest, lying on a cosy bed. What a hell of a journey! Quite a lot of things were worse than they could be. Still, the whole week is before me – the best is yet to come!


(…) )

christabel_daae: (Default)

A further entry to my paper diary. Here I had to cut some dull paragraphs, replacing them with '(...)'


Saturday, the 14th of July )

christabel_daae: (Default)

During my 10-day holiday in Hungary I, as usual on my holidays, kept a journal. Now I am going to put these notes here. At first I thought simply to type everything right from the papers, but it's obvious that I should edit and abridge everything. However, I'm not going to change the first entry. Childish, naive, cumbersome style - but when I reread it, I recall the sweet mood I was in.

Friday, the 13th of July
approximately 22:35

So, from now on - and at least during my whole trip to Hungary I shall make notes in Shakespeare's language (to say nothing of my mistakes, errors and so on). That's because I am going to send all this to my LJ later. The latter is in English, say, that was a compromise between Ukrainian and Russian. However, another reason is that at the beginning of this journey I feel like a heroine of some novel - some English novel. Like a Victorian girl, some Mina Murray, future Harker (the fact of passing the Carpathians on my way inclines me to this variant).

The train is heading through the night. I do adore trains! And this is the first time I am quite alone in one, no acquaintances or relatives to accompany me. A girl in front of me has already gone to bed. A girl above is typing SMSes one by one. And diagonally a boy is reading Julio Cortazar. Everybody is just a little older than me. I am sipping black tea with cream and devouring a banana. Only a lamp, a dim one, right above my pillow, provides me light. Mysterious lights and shadows glide beyond the window. Good night, dear Alexandra *later comments: God, was I that sentimental?* Your holiday awaits. Is it the beginning of a good fairy tale?

christabel_daae: (Default)
Yes, this is quite true - I am in the capital of Hungary! That's my last day in the city, tomorrow we are leaving it, though I'll be in dearest Kyiv only on Monday morning. During this long waited trip I've had my ups and downs (for I am an optimist, let us say that mostly these were ups). I have been making rich notes in my diary (I mean an old-fashioned paper diary). Although by now I have only finished describing this Monday, I hope that I'll put all my adventures and impressions on paper and after that send them to this blog. If fair-haired, almost blonde me learns finally the management of livejournal, I shall even post photos from the trip. So I have one day more in Hungary, one day more in Lviv - I hope that the best is yet to come! Probably returning home would be the best, for I am already soooo homesick...

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