Two Aliens In Tokaj pt.2

When I was searching for hotel to book in this area, I asked my friend (who invited me to the wedding a.k.a. groom to be) about the wedding venue. I still remember what I asked him exactly (because I asked him via messenger, so I still have the transcript), but I just sum it up for our best interest…

I asked him how far was the wedding venue from the city centre. I mean, I was going to find a place close to the city centre, so that we could have a walk around too. He replied that “Tokaj is so small, the city itself is the city centre”.

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When he said that, I genuinely thought that it was like the British style understatement when explaining something. Grumpy for example. Last week he was having a severe illness, and had to take off sick from work. He was in a terrible condition, and almost impossible for him to get off the bed. But you know how he explained his situation to the medical doctor on the phone, “I am a bit ill”. A BIT ILL? If it was up to me, he’s already on his way to the hospital inside an ambulance.

But what do I know? I am just an exotic yellow alien from a nowhereland.

Aaanyway…. I am not supposed to be the grumpy one here.

When I arrived at Tokaj, I realised that my friend was just stating a fact. The city… I mean… town centre was basically the town itself. From the train station to our guest house, there is one ATM, and one shop, several restaurants and cafe, and a lot of wine cellar and pubs. If you walk further down (there’s only one main street so you would not get lost), there would be several restaurants and cafe, plenty wine shop and pub, one bank with one atm machine, a tourist centre, and two museums.

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In between, there’s a church, and the hall where the wedding was held. All of those (except for one of the museums) are in one street. Awesome isn’t it? I mean, even I wouldn’t get lost in here.

That night we went out for a wine (for me) and a coffee (for Mr. Grumpman). I cannot explain how beautiful the town was under the summer night sky. It was just… breathtaking. So, being a well travelled tourist that I am, I felt compelled to take photos to share the moment with anyone who can be bothered. I have to say that the photo was NOTHING compared to the real thing. Mainly because I am not a professional photographer, and the photo was taken with my phone (which is now rather old and sad, and has been asking for a retirement plan).

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I wasn’t lying when I said, you don’t need to be a wine connoisseur, nor a kayaking enthusiast to be able to enjoy this town. We certainly did…

 

The Budapest Adventure Part 5

One of the first things that I made sure before I went on this adventure to Hungary was to make sure that my phone would work when we were in Hungary. All of the hotel and transport bookings and confirmation was sent to my phone number, and it would make it much easier for me if I want to contact my family. Or simply, I just like being completely prepared before embarking on an adventure.

I am not being paid to say this, but I am using T-Mobile — now you probably know it in the UK as EE. Whatever they call themselves now, but this mobile provider has a good network coverage in Europe. I don’t have to buy any extra booster to get my phone fully function in Hungary. I could just use whatever package I had at that moment and use it as if I was in the UK — which means, I could text freely, call freely, and use my internet too. No roaming charge either.

I definitely have no plan to change to any other mobile provider in any foreseeable future.

Why am I talking about my phone provider? Well… apparently this very fateful day, that has become incredibly crucial to us.

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We were on our way to our next, and our last museum in Budapest, the Aquincum Museum. To get there, you would have to get a train, which unlike the metro didn’t have either air conditioning system, nor the proper loudspeaker to tell the passenger where to get off.

I realised that we should do it in few minutes when I looked at my google map, so I told Grumpy that the next stop would be ours. Grumpy made his way, but I got stuck a little behind. Grumpy got off right on time, and I didn’t make it.

We saw the train doors closed right in front of our face, took me away to the next station and left Grumpy on the other platform. Oooh… Bugger! Now… I couldn’t emphasise the importance of being well prepared, in any kind of adventure. If my phone didn’t work, I couldn’t tell him that the museum we were going to visit was between the station where he got off, and the station where I did. Technology has saved that day… But of course, I had to have a bit of a cry, because I was incredibly terrified if I lost my beloved Grumpy among the Roman ruins of Aquincum.

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Aquincum is the name of the Roman city in Budapest. Unlike the Buda Castle hill area — which has a long history of military battle, Aquincum is the more “civilised” part of the history. Nowadays, though, you can only see the ruins, and a part of what was a painter’s house, and the vast exhibit of Roman stonework, and pottery.

You could also play with an interesting interactive games in the museum, if you want to. And of course we wanted to, and we did take part of the games… badly :D. But it was fun, and we were experts in having fun. And, after ice cream in that very hot day, we definitely have forgotten a bit about the previous train fiasco.

And there… our Budapest Adventure was concluded…

 

Choo… Choo…

I think one of the best thing I like being in the UK is the trains. It is so easy to travel in this country, compared to where I came from. I think the transport system is very well maintained, and managed, and it is very comfortable too (especially if you are in the “QUIET” carriage).

Of course a lot of people here love to moan about the train. But they do love moaning about everything under the sun — see Grumpy for the best example.

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You see this from your train window, you know you’re close šŸ˜€
Anyway, I came back from Edinburgh. It is, I believe, the capital city of Scotland. That was my first time ever visiting the city, and I was extremely excited about the adventure that was about to happen. Although, I must say, that my main mission to go up North is to apply for a Schengen visa.

Why didn’t I apply in London, though? Well, that’s a good story of mismanagement, and disorganisation. Lesson learned — organise better next time.

Now back to Edinburgh… It was… uhm. I wouldn’t go as far as disappointing, because I love museums, and Edinburgh has loads of them — free and paying. Just on the top of my head they have: The National Museum of Scotland, Museum of Edinburgh, The People Story, Museum of Childhood, Surgery Museum… and those don’t include places like The Edinburgh Castle, or the galleries.

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They do know how to impress you with their massive imposing structures…
The buildings were incredible — something that Grump could appreciate better than I did. The gardens were so beautiful. And the view… Oh the view was majestic. Unlike our lovely Norfolk Broads, Lothian has this hill and valley, the terrain that add this extra seconds of breathtaking moments. It just can’t be translated into words. This is where picture does better than my mere explanation…

But… oh what a dirty road. I mean… not just dirty with dirt. There are a lot of dog poos, and they’re everywhere. I don’t know… in Norwich they are very rare, and most of the time you won’t find it in the high street. But you do in Edinburgh… in front of one of the museums, even. So I assume dog owners don’t bother with criminal persecution for not picking up after their dogs. NOT the kind of people I want to be around, obviously.

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The Edinburgh Castle is probably the most crowded of all. This is probably my seventh take of the photo, because there were always too many people in view.
And the city… It is so crowded and so touristy. You bump into people everywhere. It’s almost as packed as London. The city is big, but the street feels claustrophobic, especially with the construction sites everywhere. It doesn’t feel welcoming, although when I was there it was unexpectedly warm — well, warmer then the Southern part of the island anyway.

But in the end, I must say, I enjoyed the whole experience. I haven’t done it for a very long time, and I wasĀ most definitely refreshing and inspiring. And as much as I do love coming back home, this little trip to the North has a wonderful reminder why I was a wandering Alien to start with.

Aaaaand, I will write about it another time, becauseĀ it’s lunchtime, and I love my lunchtime.