Saturday, August 20, 2016

From Straja to Budapest

Our trip from Straja to Budapest was long and tiring.  We said an emotional goodbye on Thursday morning to the many students and leaders who have become friends in this very short time.
Jack crafted the signature pledge bracelets with our group and we shared the ways in which our trip has brought change to us and how we can be agents for change when we return home. 

 Then Dana drove us down the mountain in their trusty red van. We dropped him partway down the mountain at the site where he is working on a bike trail with another team, and Fr Tim took over at the wheel. It was heavily loaded with all our bags, but we made it safely to the parking lot at the base where Brandi and the kids were waiting with Adi for the drive to Petrosani. Adi drove the van and Brandi came along in her car with Fr Tim and the kids. 

In Petrosani we boarded a coach full of other travelers most of whom went the whole way to Cluj with us. It was hot and most of us dozed.
We finally pulled into Cluj at 6. It was taxis to the Retro Hostel and dinner in the TIFF Café.  Dinner was wonderful and we all had a chance to fill our bodies and rest our souls as Peter quizzed us about the photos from old movies pictured on the wall. 

The next morning we were up by 5 to catch the 6:45 to Budapest. That was a beautiful ride.  

We had forgotten our ham and cheese at the hostel so lunch was more bread and veggies than protein, but we survived. We arrived at the beautiful Keleti train station at 1:20, right on schedule.
We called our friend Zoltan who ordered three taxis to take us to our hotel. It was a smooth arrival. 

Our first walk through the city was exciting. It was a great contrast to Bucharest. It reminded us of Paris too, but this city is more prosperous and larger.

We stopped at the famous Gerbeaud cafe for sumptuous ice cream treats.

Then we headend for Dock 7 to meet Zoltan and Peter his son. 

It was a warm evening and perfect for a ride on the Danube. We spent about an hour making a loop on the river with Zoltan pointing out the famous buildings. After the stress of the previous two days, it was a relaxing way to meet Budapest.  

After disembarking, Zoltan took us through some of the famous streets of the Pest side as we made our way to the restaurant. We passed Art Nouveau buildings, the spot where the Revolution of 1848 started, and the historic synagogue of Budapest. 

We met Zoltan's wife Andrea at the restaurant and chose Hungarian specialties from the menu. We all had a fabulous dinner and felt truly welcomed to this city.  
Everyone was ready to fall into bed, after we left the restaurant.  Since we decided that everyone could sleep late the next morning all were in a good mood.  

1 comment:

  1. So sorry I wasn't able to say farewell to your team this past week! I enjoyed meeting with you and am so thankful your group came! Safe travels!