Where Have You Been?

Yes, I disappeared without any fair warning.  For that, I offer my most sincere apologies.Where was I?  I was in Budapest and Vienna, and I have stories for you.

You see, as a nice cross-cultural gesture, I was given Thursday and Friday off of work in honor of Thanksgiving.  It seemed slightly unfair since everyone else had to be at the school, but I'm not going to complain.  It's one of the perks that I got from having someone negotiate a contract for me.

Plus, the timing couldn't have been better because I had visitors!  My parents wanted to create their own opinions of this whole Hungary concept, so they crossed the Atlantic.  They also had days off for Thanksgiving, so they arrived in Budapest on Wednesday.

In the middle of the school week, I headed to the train station.  I went to Budapest and hunted down my parents, and I had people to speak English with!  That was a nice change, except they've already made fun of me for some new mannerisms that I've picked up.

I'd like to talk about two things, and then I need to get some sleep.

First, I spent two nights in Budapest and two more in Vienna.  That was a very interesting comparison.  There's a lot of history between these two places, but I only want to look at the architecture.  Vienna feels modern, clean, and fancy.  Budapest feels (in many, but not all places) slightly dirty, run-down, and is full of many less than attractive buildings.

This is another one of my communism observations.  The Soviets left some ugly scars on a beautiful city, and obviously neglected many beautiful historical places.  I don't approve.

However, the Hungarian girls are undeniably, without a doubt, significantly more attractive than the Austrians.  9 out of 10 Hungarians are gorgeous, and the women of Vienna seem to be the other way around.  I seem to be in the right country.

The second thing to talk about is Christmas markets.  If you haven't been to a European Christmas market, well, you better start searching for an airline ticket.  In both cities, they just seemed to pop up all over the place.  Budapest seemed to have better goods for sale, but they both had very good food.

Imagine this for a second, a crowded square full of people dressed for the cold.  There are little wooden houses everywhere that are selling anything you can imagine.  In the background is pretty European architecture.  You can buy trinkets, eat delicious Christmas foods, and drink hot beverages (usually containing alcohol to help fight the cold).

The drinks came in little mugs that you gave a deposit for.  You could have a souvenir, or return your mug for some money back.  The mugs in Vienna were definitely more impressive and prettier than those found in Hungary.

Let me think about this, beautiful women or beautiful coffee mugs?