Well I am back in Budapest after a weekend away in Berlin... Twenty four hours were spent in a train and I have to say they were really quite enjoyable actually. Traveling by train is about 45000 times better than flying, also I get to say that I was in Prague, Bratislava and Dresden this weekend! Coming back to Bp made me realize that this is not my home so tonight I escaped to Coffeeheaven to spend an obnoxious amount of money on a "chai" latte (or what they think a Chai latte is) and a muffin...
-It is probably the closest thing to Second Cup or Starbucks that I can get.
I left on Thursday morning at 5:30am with, a bag full of pastery, a roll of peach scented toilet paper (more on that another day) and some sort of Hungarian public transit cold/flu that is going around. I slept until Bratislava but the rest of the day I was wide awake and pretty miserable. The Czech Republic and Germany were really beautiful - I am sure you can google some pictures for yourselves as I didn't take any. The highlight of the trip there was definitely eating in a restaurant car - Very Exciting! We passed a field of blooming canola (weird) and I stepped on a dog...
-I am a sick monster... Bleghhhhhhhh!
Friday was spent planning a conference with our amazing volunteers that will be in Berlin in April. The conference is called "Religion, Ethics and Politics - God and the Use of Power" - Oh, and can I just say again that it is in Berlin? It is in Berlin! Power and Politics in Berlin! And to think I almost stayed home to be a licensing analyst...
We went out with our committee to look at some of the popular sights including the holocaust memorial which wasn't finished when Krista and I were there in 2004. It is really impressive and makes you very claustrophobic, overwhelmed and makes you want to play hide and go seek. The stones get very, very tall even though it doesn't look like it because the paths are cut into the ground. I realize that doesn't make much sense - you really have to go see it.
-I accidently jumped in front of strangers and scared them because I thought it was someone I knew... This is a very creepy place to hang out at night.
-Look at me in front of a famous Berlin structure!
Afterwards, we went for a couple drinks at the cutest little cafe in the world. I had some sort of beer with a green syrup in it. The locals we were with couldn't explain what it was because they the plant's name in German translated to something ridiculous like Ground Forest Wolf. I later figured out it was woodruff syrup which was even less helpful but delicious none the less.
We spent the whole evening playing Werewolf which was great considering the BVSers still haven't figured out how to make it into an online game. Just before leaving the cafe we discovered that behind a tiny door in the basement, where the bathrooms were, was a club. It was the most bizarre thing ever... It did, however, explain why large groups of people kept disappearing into the bathroom together and never came back upstairs.
The next day the three of us from the office explored the city. We spent most of the time wandering through a market full of Soviet memorobilia, homemade crafts and hats, and antique silverware, drinking coffee in various cafes, and running across the entire city for size 39, purple birkenstocks. I saw three birkenstock stores and coveted almost every shoe there. We saw many important buildings which can be seen in the pictures but we didn't make it to the places where the wall is left. I will have to go when I am back in April. It was a great day that was finished with our committee in a small Italian restaurant. On the subway home a drunk teenager asked me if I wanted a Schuupie of his beer. I didn't.
-The picture of the fantastic graffitti that we took moments after almost taking a picture of a woman peeing in a bush (completely by accident).
The train ride home on Sunday was spent in the restaurant car drinking fantas and coffee and working on conference paper work. It was really quite lovely.