Day 25

 

Pécs

A couple of days before this trip, I realized Bartley was running low on Phenobarbital, his seisure medication. This was really disappointing because I counted out his pills before we left, and he had enough. I can only guess that with all the packing/re-packing some of them were lost. Bummer. After much communicating with my vet back home and a vet here, we were closer to having it squared away.

However, we also had to pick up our rental car from the airport at 9 AM, and it was raining. There was a rental car place closer to our apartment, but they didn’t have as many options. So, we took the 40 minute bus ride to the airport, spent a lot of time at Hertz deciding if we wanted the “super coverage,” (we went with yes… The Boyfriend’s family has a bad record for wrecking cars while abroad :D) and an extra driver (we paid for an extra driver but it was completely unnecessary – lucky me!) This is by far the most expensive of our side trips!

We then drove back to the apartment to load up our stuff and Bartley. The Boyfriend was pretty nervous about driving, but got the hang of it pretty quickly. The main difference, is that there are white lines instead of yellow for two-way roads, which was pretty disorienting, and in the city there is SO much more going on: pedestrians, cyclists, trams, buses (with there own lanes), narrow lanes, taxis that drive way to fast, you get the idea. Oh, also, no right turn on red, and all right lanes are considered turning lanes.

By the time we were finished packing up, it was raining really hard. I called the veterinarian to ask if he could write a prescription for Bartley. He said he would rather examine Bartley first. I told him we were heading out-of-town, and told him I knew exactly what Bartley needed, and that he’d been on Phenobarbital for years and had never had any problems. He was kind enough to tell me the name of the medication here, and the size tablets they came in. He said I could simply take Bartley’s old bottle into the pharmacy, and pass along the information he gave, and they would fill it for me. If I had any problems, ask the pharmacist to call him.

Here’s where things got interesting. 🙂 We didn’t want to mess with parking in downtown Budapest, so we found a pharmacy that was on our route to Pécs, just outside of Budapest. I went in, waited in line, while The Boyfriend stayed in the car with Bartley. When it was my turn, I handed the bottle to the pharmacist. She told me I needed a receipt (prescription) from a veterinarian. I told her what the vet had told me, and she – however kindly – insisted that this was not the procedure. She told me of a vet nearby, and recommended that I go there and ask for a prescription. I insisted that the vet told me this would work, and she obliged by calling him.

Turns out there was a misunderstanding. When I had told the vet I had Bartley’s old prescription, he thought I meant that I had the paper from his vet back home, when I actually meant I had the bottle. Therefore, I had no choice but to find the nearby veterinarian’s office. I thought it was much closer than it was, so I told The Boyfriend to wait in the car. It was more like a 15 minute walk. 😐 When I got to the correct street, I was looking for 38A, but the addresses went straight from 38 to 36, 34 and so on. BUT I found another pharmacy, and decided to try there.

She said the same thing, but said that the vet was right around the corner. PHEW. When I got to the building, I rang the buzzer, and absentmindedly started rambling in English when they answered. I was able to find the correct door and I entered a strange waiting room. There was no receptionist or anything, so I walked upstairs. I found what appeared to be a staff lounge. I walked back downstairs and asked the others who were waiting, “Beszél angolul?” (Do you speak English.) None of them did. I opened the door on the other side of the waiting area – WHOOPS that was the examination room.

Red-faced, impatient, and frustrated, I sat with the others. After about 15 minutes, it was my turn. I attempted to explain what I needed in Hungarian. I was almost successful! But, they brought out an English speaking vet tech who could help me, and within no time, I had the prescription and was on my way back to the pharmacy! Mission accomplished. Bartley is one lucky dog!

Around 1:00, we were finally en route to Pécs! This was okay, because we couldn’t check into our Airbnb until 3:00 anyway. When we arrived, we spent a little bit of time relaxing. The morning had been pretty busy and stressful.

By the time we got out and about, it was already close to 6:00, and one of the places we wanted to see closed at 6:00, so we decided to drive. Pécs is a lovely, ancient town, close to the Croatian boarder. It has a very interesting history: it was originally settled by Romans in the 2nd century, the first Hungarian Univ ersity was esablished there in the 14th Century, and it has a major Turkish influence from the 150 year period that it was under Ottoman rule.

 

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Around 7:30, we were getting pretty hungry. We decided to take the car back to our Airbnb and experience walking through town to find somewhere to eat. We were a little worried because there was rain in the forecast, but decided to risk it and bring Bartley with us too. We are so glad we did, because not only did it not rain at all, but there were plenty of places to eat outside and still have shelter from the rain.

At this point, we were totally enamored with Pécs. What a lovely little town with an incredible history, beautiful architechture, and relaxing pace.

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We really struggled to find a place to eat because each place seemed even better than the last as we walked through downtown. We finally settled on Korhely Etterem, and are so happy we did. We were super hungry, so we got two small appetizers: chips and salsa (super weird, lol) and onion rings with fresh herbs and tomatoes on top. Yum!

After dinner, we just went and sat in the middle of the square, enjoying the cool evening, our surroundings, and the street music. It was pretty romantic, and oh-so-relaxing.

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We had to make it an early night, because we planned to leave the next morning at 7 AM so we could have ample time to explore the incredible Plitvice Lakes on our way to Zadar.

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Day 22-24

Budapest

Day 22

We woke up surprisingly early considering how late we stayed out, and decided to take Kasey to Két Szerecsen. With a third person, we got to try more food = win!

After brunch, we basically just came back to the apartment and somewhat helped Kasey plan for her trip to Bratislava, helped her find what train to take, etc.

After she left around 2:30 it was time to relax! We were still pretty exhausted from so much travel the day before, and I’m an introvert, so I was also tired simply from being social. 😀

I think the rest of the day (I’m actually updating the blog about a week after the actually events – whoops!) was spent doing laundry, and updating the blog.

Day 23

I discovered Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube and I’m super happy. I did a little yoga in the morning, when Bart and I were the only ones up, and decided to start a 30 day challenge.

When The Boyfriend woke up, we walked to down to Mozsar Kavezo for breakfast and so Bartley could get in his morning walk. Then, it was time to accomplish two errands.

1. Go to the mall and buy some Crocs because Kasey showed me how amazing they are. 😀 I seriously always thought they were just the goofy slip-ons with the holes in them. I’m sure those are super comfortable too… but I found some Croc sandals that are AMAZING and match everything. They are so comfortable, I may not wear a single other shoe all summer. We enjoyed walking around the mall, but we were anxious to accomplish out next task…

2. Go to Hertz to reserve our car for our upcoming trip to Pécs, Hungary and Zadar, Croatia! That’s right – time for a road trip. There are plenty of trains to Pécs, but getting from Pécs to Zadar is another story. There were some bus options, but they more than doubled our travel time, and didn’t allow dogs, (rude) which left us with option Road Trip! When we got to Hertz, the quotes seemed much more expensive than what we had found online. The customer service rep was super helpful, and was honest when we said it seemed much more expensive than online: he agreed with us, and advised that we book online. Ha!

We went back to the apartment, booked our car, gulped at how expensive it was but decided it would be worth it (fingers crossed) and decided to head down to Deak ter to enjoy the beautiful weather, read, and message with friends back home.

Day 24

Like I said – I’m updating this about a week after.. so I can’t remember much about this day other than we packed and planned some for our upcoming trip, spent some time in the sun again down by Deak Ter. For dinner, we went to The Boyfriend’s favorite spot, Bors. It is QUITE delicious! Since Bors doesn’t have seating, we ordered it to-go and went to Racskert, the little food truck court near our apartment. Unfortunately, they were screening the World Cup, so it was super packed and loud. We ate our food and headed back to the apartment, to pack and plan some more.

Day 17

Budapest

Today was not a super eventful day. We wanted to take it easy in preparation for our next excursion, which starts tomorrow.

I woke up a little earlier than The Boyfriend and went and got a bagel with Bartley. We stayed at the cafe for a while, just reading and internetting.

When I got back to the apartment, we did some cleaning and laundry because a friend of mine is staying in our apartment while we’re in Vienna and Ljubljana. Then, we decided to splurge and go get a Thai massage! It is way more affordable here, and was just a nice way to spend our last low-key day before our travels.

Afterwards, we stopped for a burger at Deep Burger, just around the corner from our apartment. Don’t go. The food was good, but the service was really bad. The one waitress was hardly ever even at the counter, and always made it seem like a huge deal if we came up to order more, and got our order wrong each time we ordered another drink. Also, at the end when we wanted to pay, she asked me to use cash even though I could clearly see a credit card machine. This was the worst food experience we’ve had throughout the whole trip.

The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful: we went home, I worked on the blog, we packed for our trip, I did yoga, Skyped with my dad, took Bartley on a long walk and HAD CHIMNEY CAKE FOR THE FIRST TIME.  Photo credit from here.

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Day 16/34 Eastern Europe Trip

Kecskemét

The place I lived nearly ten years ago when I studied at the Kodály Institute. The place I really spread my wings for the first time, when I moved across the world, not knowing a single person I’d be spending the next year with. I visited four years ago, and it was pretty emotional coming back to such a wonderful place for such a short time. Now I realize, I’ll keep coming back to visit, so there’s no reason to get too sad each time I leave. 🙂

The Boyfriend, Bart and I caught an early-ish train at 9:53. We accidentally sat in the wrong section – whoops – but were in new, correct seats within no time. The familiarity of the time spent on the train, the views, the announcements being all in Hungarian and of course the train station, were quite nostalgic.

However, there were quite a few differences. Everything was lush and green, and walkways had been redone, there were also many fountains, and flowers. There are MANY more cafes, and everything just seems to be thriving. This picture is from the walk between the park by the train station, and the main square, a place that in the past looked unkempt and even kind of unsafe.

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Our first stop was the main square.

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Next, we went to Vincent Bar, the place I spent almost all of my time, when I wasn’t at the Kodály Institue. We had to have my favorite cake!

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My favorite cake – the Mondo Di Choco. It’s full of chocolate mousse on the inside, with a dry flaky outside, and raspberries at the very center. Oh so good!

After Vincent, my Hungarian friend Iza picked us up, and we went to lunch with her and her husband. They all had traditional hungarian fish soup, but I’m not a fish fan, so I had chicken stuffed with Camembert cheese and croquettes. Yum!

After lunch, we needed to take some time to pick up their little boy, who is almost two years old. Iza speaks Hungarian and English with him, so he will be bilingual. He’s already saying a few words in both languages. So cool! Iza learned English because she got to live in New York for a couple of years when she was growing up.

After picking up the little boy, even though there wasn’t any more room in my stomach, we headed to the best ice cream shop in town, one I’d never gotten to try. And wow, it really was the best! The Boyfriend had pistachio – the best pistachio I’ve every tasted – and I had a chocolate/vanilla/cookie flavor.

We spent some more time just catching up together, and then we parted ways. The Boyfriend and I continued to walk around town some more before catching our train back to Budapest.

Once in Budapest, we rested for a while. Then we decided to try Kuplung, a place we’ve tried before, because we saw that they had half price cocktails on Mondays. Sign us up!

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However, when we got there, they didn’t have the deal because they’re so busy due to the World Cup. (That is still going on! And people are still interested in it!) We still enjoyed a drink, before moving on to Mika Kert, and then on to Szimpla.

Actually, before Szimpla, we realized we were hungry, and stopped at a pizza place across the street. We didn’t expect them to stay open for us, but they did, and it was really good. The tomato sauce was really fresh and had such a strong tomato taste, it was almost sweet! The guy and girl working even gave us some free ice cream. Win!

Then we went to Szimpla, the very first Ruin Pub, I’ve talked about it some, and mostly walked around. It is a MASSIVE place, that is obviously full of locals and tourists alike. It was full of so much energy, music and noise. We plan to dedicate a night (or two!) to enjoying it more.

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Tomorrow marks the first day of the second half of our trip! My guess is that the first half went by pretty slowly, and now it’s really going to pick up. We have one more day in Budapest before our next excursion to Vienna and then Ljubljana. It was good to rest up, but now I’m ready for more adventure!

 

Day 14-15/34 Eastern Europe Trip

Budapest – Saturday: Happy to be “home!”

Today, we wanted to have some time on our own. I woke up, did yoga, and had breakfast at Mozsar Kavezo. The Boyfriend slept in and ate leftovers. In the afternoon, I spent sometime at the apartment, and then headed out to take Bartley to a park. The Boyfriend went to see a movie.

On my way to the park, I stopped for a to-go salami sandwich. I didn’t expect much, since it was less than $3, but it was seriously good! I could tell the ingredients were fresh and it was the perfect amount. It’s weird to go on an on about such a simple sandwich, but we just don’t have cheap food that actually tastes good, readily available back home.

So, as I was walking Bartley to this park, I went through an interesting block, and wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. Ironically, the streets were Szép (which means beautiful) and Magyar (which means Hungarian). The buildings on these streets were mostly vacant, and the few people I saw seemed to pay special attention to me and Bart, and anyway… we just wanted to get out of there.

When we finally got to the park, we discovered it didn’t allow dogs. This is one really strange difference here: dogs are allowed in almost every cafe, bar, and restaurant… but NOT in many of the parks. So strange! Thankfully, there was a cafe next door, so I ordered a lemonade and continued reading my book. Another difference – boy, do they know how to make lemonade here! So delicious, full of fresh fruit, basil, mint, you name it, it’s just the most refreshing thing ever. On the hottest days here, we always try to find a place with lemonade.

On the way home, I stopped near Deak ter at this cool outdoor area for more reading. After about thirty minutes, the wind really picked up, so I headed back to the apartment. The Boyfriend and I got back around the same time and shared about our days. I am NOT complaining because this is obviously an amazing vacation… but I think at this point we were both a little fatigued from the busy trip we’d just had, and maybe a little tired of each other? Basically… we were a little grumpy. 😀

That evening, we walked down a street we hadn’t walked down before, and found a delicious pizza spot, and called it an early night.

Sunday

In the morning, I woke up early and went to Szimpla Market to get delicious, fresh food for sandwiches and snacks for the week: salami, eggs, goat cheese, sandwich bread, raspberries, tomatoes, hungarian paprkia, green onions, korozott (of course), and homemade yogurt. YUM. I went back to the apartment and cooked breakfast!

At this point, The Boyfriend and I were both annoyed, because the internet hadn’t really been working since getting back from Prague. We reached out to our host, and hoped she’d be able to help us soon.

Turns out breakfast wasn’t too filling – whoops – so we decided this would be the perfect time to have cake and coffee… so we set out in search of reasonably priced cake. Once outside, we realized it was the best weather we’d had in a long time, and promptly turned around so we could get changed for laying out in the sunshine by Deák Ferenc Tér instead! We grabbed a blanket, our books, and headed that way, stopping for a cheap salami sandwich en route.

We enjoyed several hours of reading in the sunshine – it felt so warm, even though it was only 70 degrees – ha! You can drink in the parks here, so we just bought a few beers and enjoyed ourselves. I finished my second book of the trip.

We went home and slept a while – day drinking is so rough sometimes – plus, our internet was even worse than before. After waking up, I was determined to go somewhere and finish getting caught up on the blog. Mozsar Kavezo had pretty crappy internet. At this point, I was beyond frustrated. Our host had replied saying she couldn’t help call until Monday, which was understandable, but we were both really annoyed with the situation.

The Boyfriend and I worked together, and we figured it out! We had restarted the router a couple of times already, but turns out what we needed to do, was unplug it for about fifteen minutes. I spent what was left of the evening updating the blog, and went to bed feeling way more accomplished than I should have.

The Ability to Change

I felt really negative about things yesterday. Finding out how much weight I’ve gained really brought me down. But I want to reiterate what I discovered towards the end of my post: It really is possible! If there’s one thing I’ve learned this decade, it’s that I am capable of change. I owe myself that tiny bit of trust it takes to know that I can overcome this obstacle too. And let’s face it, it’s WAY bigger than just looking good. I want to feel good, and know that I’m treating my body right.

I leave on Thursday for a fantastic trip with the boyfriend. We’re headed to Hungary, my home away from home where I spent 9+ months just after college. This is truly the place where I stood on my own two feet for the first time, expressed myself for the first time, grew to love and trust myself for the first time. I’ve been back one other time with my now ex-husband. It was different, but still amazing. I think this time will be the best yet. 🙂 (For more of my Hungarian experiences, read this, or this, or check out my very first baby blog!) We will also be venturing to Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia and Croatia – in that order. I can’t wait to share more! Things have been really busy preparing, as we decided to Airbnb our own place while we’re gone, and it wasn’t the slightest bit “guest ready.” Things have been moving along nicely though.

To switch to a completely unrelated topic: Family. We spend our childhood just going with the flow, because what else is there to do? And then we reach adulthood, and we’re blind-sided not only by our responsibilities and the awkwardness of it all, but also by all this shit we have to undo, this garbage we never knew was a big deal, but it actually is. Anyone know what I’m talking about?

A lot of my process has been setting boundaries with my mom… and then my dad (unexpectedly) and now, even more unexpectedly, my brother. My mom suffers from mental health issues. My dad is in many ways her enabler (or maybe disabler?) of the dependent, helpless life she lives. My brother moved back to Austin a few years ago, and had honestly stayed as unaware of the situation as he possibly could for a very long time – despite many efforts on my part to tell him, to ask for support. Now, he’s very aware of it and feels totally stuck. It seems like he’s finally where I was here, here, and here, but instead of it manifesting as panic attacks, he’s coping with it in different, equally difficult ways.

The moral of the story is I need to rethink those boundaries, and hopefully communicate them before this trip, if I have the guts to. I want everyone to work towards happiness so we can enjoy life, and therefore each other, even more. But for now, it seems like they’re stuck in their own painful, ineffective patterns, and I’ve tried so many times to communicate things that could help. They’ve never listened before, or never listened enough to make change. I have to get the courage to try one more time.

When I Felt Better

I did a lot of thinking today. Andras is out of town for work, so I spent a lot of my day thinking about what I (we) discovered yesterday.

The majority of my thoughts were just that I’m so shocked that I’ve been in a state of moderate depression for over three years now, and I didn’t know it. Did my therapist know? In going through the events and life changes that have occurred since I moved back, this is the basic summary: I became over-worked, let go of several supports (certain friends and family members) and stopped taking care of myself and doing things I enjoy.

Today I asked myself what was different about my life when I was happy. That led me to wonder what being happy really means… Have I ever been happy? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question – but still.

So I changed the question to: when did I feel good? This is my current answer. 1. When I was a Practicing Christian. 2. When I was a disciplined yoga practitioner and 3. When I lived in Hungary.

I know I’ve had this revelation before, but each time it comes back, it speaks to me louder. I need a foundation, something to believe, something to come back to, something that assures me that I’m always ok, no matter what, even when I’m not. Was I just naive? Is this possible?