As I have been finding myself preoccupied with traveling, midterms, and final projects, I realized that the difficulty of blogging at school is finding the right time to write a post. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement and emotions that I won’t go into detail about. However, I do think it’s important to at least give an explanation for my absence from blogging.
As it has been over 3 weeks now since I wrote my last post, work picked up and I found myself making plans for my travel week from October 6th to the 13th amidst the pressure of writing midterm papers and preparing for exams. My life leading up to this part of the semester had been easily manageable, but now I’ve found myself battling with large assignments and travel and just not having enough time to write.
Without further ado, I’ll talk about the more interesting experiences I’ve had these past few weeks.
The week prior to my travel week was quite stressful. Managing studying time with planning my trip with 3 other girls to Athens and Budapest was not easy. But once I had turned in all of my assignments and finished my exams on Friday, I could take a breath. Saturday came and we all met at the airport to take our flight to Athens, Greece. We had planned to stay in Greece for around 4 days and then fly to Budapest on Wednesday. In about the same time it takes for me to travel to college in the U.S, we landed in Athens within 3 hours.
Athens was incredible. It is amazing to think that, during the time I’ve been away from the U.S, I can now say that I’ve seen the pieces of the Parthenon that reside in the British Museum and the Parthenon itself. When we arrived in Athens, we had to grab a taxi from the airport to the city, which is located around 40 km from the airport. After riding in the taxi for about an hour, we arrived at our cute Airbnb. We weren’t so exhausted from the traveling, so we ventured down the streets and found some restaurants. What I realized on the first night is that Greeks take their soccer very seriously. While we were searching for a restaurant, we passed by a place that was packed with people, except no one was speaking, and everyone was staring at something. So, we, for whatever reason, decided to go in. It wasn’t long until we realized that everyone was staring at a television screen with the soccer channel on. It was a truly bizarre experience. I am used to the high energy spectator experience.
So, the next day we walked through the narrow streets of the congested city of Athens…
Athens, compared to Copenhagen, was a very dirty city. But, in some ways, this added to the city’s authenticity. As you can see on the left of this picture, Athens is renowned for its graffiti art that can be found everywhere. So, despite my dissatisfaction with the filth, I was more inclined to look at the more beautiful things in the city. After we had our breakfast at a small cafe, we walked for another 20 minutes and were taken aback by the site we saw when we emerged from the city limits…
It was there, the Parthenon, in the plainest and clearest view possible. It felt like we had just emerged from an adventure through a dense forest and stumbled upon a clearing with an ancient relic. We had been walking for about 40 minutes through the windy streets of Athens, but this sight made us all kick into high gear.
It was nice to travel with people for a change!
The view from another hill next to the Parthenon.
After we finished our day up at the Parthenon, we walked around the surrounding areas. There are many popular streets with restaurants, shops, and bars and it is touristhaven!
But the highlight of the trip, for me, was going on a one-day boat cruise to three Greek islands (Hydra, Poros, and Egina) off the coast of Greece. It was an expensive purchase, but I thought it was worth it! Sometimes you have to embrace these touristy excursions when you only have a few days in one location.
Had I not gone on this cruise, I would’ve missed swimming in the clear Mediterranean water at Hydra.
That area where the stairs are is where we all jumped in. Instead of venturing around the island, we decided to swim instead, an activity that is more painful than fun in Copenhagen.
On the last island, we swam again and were able to try the famous pistachio butter that is absolutely to-die-for. I thought that this butter was exclusive to the island, but the day after I stumbled upon the same stuff at a store on the mainland… Fooled!
But that was only half the trip! For whatever reason, a week of traveling felt soooo long. But on Wednesday, we got up, grabbed 2 euro gyros from our favorite spot near our Airbnb, and made our way to the next destination, Budapest!
Now, Budapest was hands down one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. The layout of Buda and Pest allows visitors to get amazing views of the entire city from the archways of Buda castle and the cuisine will satisfy any meat lover. On top of that, Budapest is extremely cheap, which was a relief coming from Copenhagen where the cost of a beer from a bar will leave you penniless and feeling depressed.
On the first night, we made a spontaneous decision to walk around the city at night. I completely forgot that walking around the city at night was the most important reason to visit Budapest…
The entire city lights up along the Danube river.
I joked that what would make this a perfect setting for a vampire film would be the classic thunder flashes that we all know too well.
The day after, we traveled to the House of Terror, which is a museum I highly recommend to anyone who ends up traveling to Hungary and wants to learn about its contemporary history. We also walked to Buda castle and tried to cover as much ground as possible in the brief time we had in Budapest.
One of the most vibrant streets we experienced with bars, restaurants, and entertainment. We also stumbled upon the famous Ruin Bars in Budapest, which I highly recommend seeing as well because of their hip vibe.
St. Stephen’s Basilica
The best part of Hungary wasn’t just the fantastic architecture, but the numerous public bathhouses located around the city. We were able to go to two bathhouses while we were there and it was so refreshing, especially after a long day of walking and sightseeing. On the last night, we went to one of the more famous bathhouses, Dzechenyi Thermal Bath, where I ran into one of my friends from college in the U.S. Turns out he was studying in Budapest… Small world.
When we finally returned to Copenhagen after such an eventful week, it was difficult to get back into the college routine. But everything has worked out perfectly so far. At the end of next week, I’ll be leaving with my core course on our long study tour to Warsaw and Berlin, so I’ll have more travel stories to tell in the near future!