Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Keszthely and Sumeg

Ok, so this is my friend Szabi. Or his full name Szabolcs Zavodszky. Yes he is Hungarian. Last Friday Szabi invited Mary, Laura, and I to go down to this town on the lake where his grandpa and aunt live. Szabi grew up in Pittsburgh but speaks fluent Hungarian and is now studying here in Budapest. Anyway, this small city that is next to Lake Balaton is supposed to be a great place to visit. It has a huge palace which we visited and some great beaches.

Szabi and I took our baseball gloves for the trip and we got to play catch - something I have not done since I left the US. Mary, Laura and I decided to have a picnic by the lake and tr avoid getting bitten by the swans. Szabi went to hang out with the fam and told us he was fasting for Lent. After about an hour Szabi shows up with an entire pizza and french fries for himself - guess the hunger got to him.

We spent a fair amount of time playing with swans and hanging out in Keszthely and then headed on to this other town Sumeg for yes once again another castle. Szabi called it quits after Keszthely. I've seen so many but they never seem to disapoint. This one had killer attack dogs:

We knew about the dogs but Mary and I decided to try and climb into the castle anyway. Probably the exact reason why they have dogs. I managed to scale a small wall and ended up on top of the outer wall. I was there for about a minute when the dogs caught wind of what we were up to. Meanwhile Laura was left on the other side of the castle and heard the dogs move thinking, "Oh god what did Dan do now."

Being the good person I am, I climbed (read: ran like mad) to get off the wall and away from the dogs. We didn't get inside but the castle still had a really cool view.

Transportation of course proved difficult - I never ride easy. On our way to Sumeg we had to catch a bus. We were waiting, waiting, waiting and then everyone but Szabi decides to go to the bathroom. Szabi calls but of course we miss that bus. Then another bus comes and the sign says its going to Sumeg. We try to get on but the bus driver does a very good job of drawing a map on the steering wheel and explaining that the bus doesn't go very directly but a bus in five minutes will do so. Then about 15 minutes later, a bus comes to take us away. Sumeg happens to be in an impossible location far from Budapest - meaning we have no idea how to get home. We get there and realize our options are pretty limited. We stumble on the tourist office and the lady writes down the correct train times for us.

Well after the castle we get on the trian. We have one short connection and then we have an entire car of the train to ourselves. So I'm on the phone with Liz, when the conductor comes to check tickets. Turns out I need a seat reservation that I didnt' think I had. So she makes a big production and makes me pay $5 for the reservation and all this. Then i go tell Mary and Laura that they will have to pay too. Mary hands the lady her ticket and receipt which turns out to have the seat reservation. So I find my seat reservation and hand it over and the conductor was not happy. She yells at me in hungarian something to the affect of "you are making a lot of work for me" I put on my best smile and she was generally joking with us by the end of the train. We made it back to Budapest safely and of course ended the day with gyros.

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