We arrived in Budapest after a good trip and to get to the hostel had to cross busy main street. Now, the zebra crossings in Budapest aren’t like those in UK. When the green man is on, you get about 12 seconds to cross a road about 50 metres wide – but while some traffic stops, other cars, buses and trucks just continue as normal. I used to play frogger as a kid and this is the closest I have come to it in real life! But its all part of the fun.
We got our rooms in the hostel sorted and took the stairs to the 5th floor- We would discover over the next two days, that these steps are killers. They are quite small easy steps to take, but because they are really small, perhaps only 3-4 inches high, because of this there are a lot more of them, so after 5 flights they are quite knackering! Once we all got our rooms a few of the girls moved due to a strange 'cat pissy' type smell in theirs– I cant blame them really, cos it did pong. Me and Becky asked the receptionist for directions to sports bar to watch the Man Utd v Everton game and were joined by Mark, Jim and Debbie, while others went to a spa for a relaxing afternoon.
After the football and a bit of inter-netting we returned to find a list of attendees for a traditional Hungarian meal this evening – our names went down and then we actually had a couple of hours off before the evening out.
We all met downstairs and headed out for a meal down by the river. It was a pleasant walk down and after about 20 minutes we arrived at a very nice restaurant just by Budapests famous Chain Bridge. There were too many of us for just one table so we split up into a table of ten and three smaller ones. This wasn’t a problem as we all had a good chat and waited to be served – but after 40 minutes the large table still hadn’t had drinks, while other tables had their food! It was quite frustrating, but luckily there was a very good 3 piece band, playing violin, double bass and a piano of sorts, to keep us in a good mood. We finally got served, but while the food was pretty good, a few of us still weren’t happy with the service – especially Frankie who was constantly ignored and then to top the lot, was there was no chocolate cake left! The waiter offered an alternative which turned out to be a 'bit shit'. :-( She did however manage to get some apple cake from one of the other bussers, which made her a little bit happier.
We all paid our bills, but decided between us that the service didn’t warrant a large tip- (between me Becky and Frankie we gave about 30p). The bill was paid, but the waiter refused to take our minuscule tip as it wasn’t enough! Cheeky bugar!! It took them a lot longer to bring the bloody bill, than it did for the damn food!! Anyway, Bev decided that the tip should be given to the band, who had been really good all night – but there were minor disagreements between a couple of Ozbussers, before we all left the restaurant – all having a good moan about the poor service!
We decided to try a Turkish place that we had passed on the way- It was a Turkish bar that had the weird smoke/water/ bubbly things that you see in the movie's- Basically you suck a pipe (Wahey!) that draws flavoured smoke through water and into your mouth – There are no drugs in it – its all about the taste and the relaxation.
We got a table and watched the belly dancer for a while, before finally being served drinks and ordering the smoke thing (I cant remember what its called!) - but Frankie once again was forgotten and had to ask twice or more for her drink -It was one of those nights! The waiter brought over the smoke thing and we all took turns to try it. It was surprisingly nice – Really smooth and no flavour on the way in, but when you breathe the smoke out you could taste the flavour – we had cherry flavour, which was lovely.
It was passed around for an hour or so and even after a couple of burnt fingers from the metal tongues, everyone enjoyed it. Everyone also enjoyed watching the belly dancer and Bev even joined in with her for a dance – while 'bad boy' was left on the table smoking!!
It was getting late and tomorrow most people are planning a tour of the city, so we headed off home, slightly nauseous and tired after too much smoke.
That was the end of week 1!!