Archive for June, 2010

The First Few Sights…and Opera House!

I was not content to sit in my room on the second night I was here…so I decided to do what any good Hungarian would do–visit the Opera!  What an experience.  I really have so little Opera knowledge, but I did recognize some of the songs titles and melodies.  We literally got the last tickets in the house–our own private box–for the last performance of the season.  Talk about luck…

The highlight for me was when one of the tenors started to dance like Michael Jackson!

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I Once Was Lost…But Now Am Found!

After a long day of lectures and project work, I was eager to feel like I was on vacation again.  So Franzie and I went to discover the Labyrinth caves under the Buda castle.  It turns out getting there is harder than walking through them!  After begging my hotel concierge to write down the metro and bus stops for me in Hungarian, we felt well prepared to get there (plus we has walked by it the day before).  Turns out the bus number was wrong, but we did take a nice stroll (and climb) through some lovely residential parts of Buda–the hillier side of Budapest.  Fortunately the caves were very cool, but also a little dank and wet (big surprise!)  On a more serious note, the people of Budapest lived in the caves during bombing in World War II and even created a hospital in them, so it must have been a very difficult and scary place to be. 

Also interesting was the installation piece called the “Panthenon.”  I’m going to have to read more about this to understand the artists’ intent.  There were lots of everyday items on display in ice cubes and in the rocks of the wall, plus some carved into ancient dolomite rocks.  Note the cellphone and Coke bottle…

Afterwards, we came out by the Fishermans’ Bastion and ate a little bit while admiring the view of Pest–the more modern and flat part of the city.  Prices here are quite reasonable and I was lucky enough to watch some impromptu folk dancing by a girl next to me while I ate.

In other news, I finally have my own hair dryer and won’t need to keep signing out one of only three the hotel has…

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The First Day Gallery

Thanks to some overseas help from my husband, I was able to make a photo gallery of my first day.  I regret that I didn’t take my camera to the Sczechenyi Baths, though, which were expansive and the perfect way to wash off the stress of air travel.  Now that I have internet in my room for free, I am looking forward to posting more often, but I originally thought I would have a little more time to do so.  Today is going to be busy, and I am already late in getting ready for breakfast.  So, I must get going so I am ready for the two sightseeing tours, coffee in a cafe, and then finally the Opera tonight!

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The Hungarian Cultural Center

We ate dinner here last night...

I had my first taste of Hungarian food last night–well, the truth is I ate the more familiar part of it:  Buckwheat pasta, salad, and fruit.  The meat and gravy diet is going to be a challenge, but I’m told that there is plenty of fried vegetables for me to try when I am there.  This is why I am happy to be making friends with some serious exercising folks…

Here we are on a walk between lectures…which is very hard to do when you’re used to being up and running around a room of five year olds.

Fortunately there are lots of sidewalks in New Brunswick. These are some of my new Fulbright friends.

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Coming Soon…

So it turns out my hotel in NJ makes you pay for the internet, so I am very lucky my roommate is letting me use her computer tonight. I’ll splurge tomorrow when I have some more pictures and then I’ll post.

Interesting thing I learned today: The US military has more musicians than diplomats.

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Hungary, Here I Come!

Just one more week until I fly from JFK to Budapest, and I haven’t even started packing yet.  First I have to figure out what gifts to give the people I meet…

It won't be long...

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Keeping in Touch…

This blog will be devoted to my travels as I participate in the 2010 Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad: Educational Reforms in Central Europe.  I will travel with 15 other US educators we study the similarities and differences between our schools.  I will begin my orientation at Rutgers on June 23rd, leave for Hungary on the 26th, and return from the Czech Republic August 7th.  I am really looking forward to my time abroad!  Check back here often to see pictures, read about my experiences, and keep in touch while I am away.

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