Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Not too shabby Budapest

Us at dinner, still happy because the check had not yet arrived.

We had an early start to our day, because we had to meet a professor for a historical tour of different residential areas of Budapest. We all had breakfast at the hotel and were rather surprised to see a platter of sandwich meat available at the buffet. After breakfast we got on a really nice minibus with Dr. Marianna Nagy from the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary.

She took us to three different residential areas and connected each to the history of Hungary and Hungary today. It also provided us the opportunity to see daily Hungarian life up close and take note of things like socioeconomic class differences and how class-based segregation is not as pronounced in some Budapest neighborhoods as it is in the U.S.

Dr. Nagy schooling us about Hungary’s history and identity
under communism, while we visit a residential
neighborhood built during the communist era.
Dan and Nick jumped off the bus a couple times, the second time for good. Dan wasn’t feeling well so they went rogue in Budapest and saw a Holocaust museum and walked until Dan felt better.

After seeing the residential areas we went to the Zwack Museum to learn about a Zwack Unicum, a beverage that is key to Hungarian identity. After that the whole group reconvened at the Central Market Hall on the south end of downtown Budapest near the Danube. It’s a beautiful old indoor market place with many restaurants and vendors selling fruits, meats, vegetables and, traditional crafts.

Later we took the bus and trolley back up to the Parliament building for a tour, specially arranged by one of our gracious hosts, Virag Rab. The facade of the parliament was grand and ornate and the interior was equally so. The pictures tell the tale here. The couches were a century old and still comfortable! They felt like trampolines! There were also cigar holders near the windows in the hall outside of the main chamber of Parliament . . . they had to leave their cigars outside the main chamber in a numbered slot for only their cigar.

Central Market Hall near the Danube on the south end of downtown Budapest
Dr. Podeschi let us choose where to eat for dinner, and we chose to have dessert first. While eating our dessert, we avoided a really bad rainstorm. Then Dr. Podeschi left us to our own devices while he went looking for souvenirs for his family. After a tumultuous discussion of where to eat we decided on an American-style restaurant (don’t worry – we’ve been sampling authentic Hungarian fare!).

 The food was amazing and we all loved it. We were having a nice time at dinner, covering various topics (e.g., Sarah informed us that whales sleep vertically and that horrifies her). Then the check came. We should have touched The Box beforehand. It would perhaps have been easier for us to fly an airliner home than split this bill sensibly. We headed back toward the hotel in three groups, one hailing from the East, one rising from sea, and one departing from the Trolley. We all finally found dad (Dr. P) at the appointed bus stop and made it safely back to the hotel.

Thank The Box! Amen.

The view from the Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd in Hungarian) as we walked back to the hotel. Not too shabby Budapest.

Led by Christopher Podeschi, associate professor of sociology, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent 10 days in Hungary this summer studying first-hand the Hungarian culture, history and identity. The study abroad trip was part of Podeschi's spring collaborative online international learning course, Seminar on Identity and Locality, which included videoconferencing during the semester with a class from the University of Pecs. The abroad experience also featured visits to Budapest and a rural Hungarian community that provided social and cultural context explored during class discussion earlier in the spring.  
#CollaborativeLearning #HuskySummer #HuskyAbroad

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