Remember that one time
I got to go to Hungary with Tommy?!
It was way back in May and I haven't even documented all of the new and different things I was able to experience being in Europe for the first time. Tommy put together a (10 year) mission reunion in Hungary (where he served) and we got to go revisit his mission area together. Thank you Tommy for taking me with you and showing me one of your special and favorite places!
Tommy and I flew Swiss Air from LAX to Zurich and then hopped a little plane to Budapest, where we stayed for the majority of the trip. We stayed in the country for a night and drove all around the countryside throughout the trip. We were there for 10 days, and Hungary is a pretty small country, so we saw a good deal of it.
The Chain Bridge in Budapest
My first time in Europe, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect (although Tommy did give me some preparation tips like - "everybody smokes" which was good prep for me as I get nauseated by the smell of cigarette smoke.)
Some things I didn't expect:
The countryside to be so dreamy. While Tommy and I made our way through the country I about died when I saw how many wildflowers and poppies (both my favorite!) there were. There were fields and fields and finally I requested that we stop and snap some pictures. I'm glad I did because this is one of my favorite memories of the entire trip.
The countryside of Hungary
To find a lake the color of a blue twin-pop. I didn't even know there was a lake in Hungary. Lake Balaton, which is forbidden to missionaries looked like a ghost town (not exaggerating) when we stopped by for a look. I guess they wait till the dead of summer to play there.
To be honest, one of the things I didn't expect that stood out to me was that the country seemed just a little bit sad. Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain for years and I think there is a bit of sadness leftover from that. A different feeling than America for sure. The people were very kind though.
The view from our window in Buda was something I didn't expect to be so beautiful. We didn't have some fancy shmancy room overlooking the Danube, but our view was
Window view in Buda
To run into Hogwarts. I thought Hogwarts was in England...? This is one of the many castley historic places in Hungary. Don't mind my crazy face. I'll let you guess if i was yawning or singing in this picture.
Castle Hill - Fisherman's Bastion
For the old churches to be so huge! This picture gives you a glimpse of how large this particular one was. It was too big to fit the entire thing into the camera lens unless I wanted to walk backwards for a mile or so. Check out how small the person is compared to the building. Can you even find the person?
The chance to catch a glimpse of Slovakia. This picture is of us on top of the gigantic church. I got so dizzy climbing all of those spiral staircases! Slovakia is just on the other side of the river. I also wasn't expecting to receive so much rain - by the end of this day we were soaked.
I can't believe I didn't take any foodie pictures! The food was better than I expected. Seriously some scrumptious stuff. I guess I was too busy stuffing my face to snap any pictures of the yummy stuffed peppers, potato dumplings, paprika chicken, nutella palachintas, etc.
The traffic rules were a bit funny to me since they seem so different from what I'm used to. There are no street signs on the streets, but only on the nearest building (good luck keeping your eyes on the road) and similar funny things that are different to me. Thank goodness Tommy spent 3 years living in Spain as a teenager and learned to drive there. He did a great job showing me around.
I expected to feel farther away from home than I did. I didn't feel like I was on the other side of the globe. It was strange, mostly because I expected to feel so far away. It's a small world after all, I suppose.
I did, however, feel like even though home didn't feel that far away, I was in a very different place. After our ten days were up, I was actually ready to come back home to the good ole' U.S.A. I'd never been so thankful to have been born in America.
In all, I learned that Europe is a little bit like thrift shopping. You have to get over some strange and uncomfortable smells, but the things you gain from it can truly be priceless.