Celebrating the big 2-6 in Budapest
August 30, 2013 § 6 Comments
It’s been about a week and a half since we got back to Budapest and almost all of our time has gone to finishing our apartment. We moved into the new apartment at the end of June, after Skjalg had already left for Norway. Since he wanted to be part of the moving-in process, I (gladly) left most of the boxes unpacked. It was strange to think that we were returning to an apartment that we hadn’t technically lived in before. I’d spent a few days here before leaving for Norway in July, but it felt more like a waiting room then. Getting the place ready was a huge project and took a lot more work than we anticipated, but four trips to IKEA later and we are finally done! I’ll upload some photos soon.
We arrived in Budapest on Tuesday the 20th, the day before my 26th birthday. We decided that we would push the unpacking to Thursday so that we could relax and enjoy my birthday. On Wednesday morning, I lay in bed watching an episode of Under the Dome until Skjalg came in to “surprise” me. It’s a tradition in my family that the birthday person gets woken up by the whole family – humans and animals alike – with birthday cake, candles, balloons and presents, singing etc. It’s a bit more fun when there are more people in the house than just Skjalg and I, and the “surprise” element gets kind of lost, but we still do it. Who doesn’t like to feel special on their birthday? 😉
As I lay there watching my show, I heard movement in the living room and then classical music. Skjalg opened the door and entered with a tray of champagne, candles and cheesecake. It was the “classy birthday” as he called it. We’re lucky enough to live by the famous Café Gerbeaud, where Skjalg picked out a beautiful fruit-adorned cheesecake as my birthday cake.
After enjoying the morning sun, champagne and cheesecake, we got ready to head out. My present was somewhere out in the city and we were going to find it! We ended up getting a little side-tracked, however, and ended up at West End mall. Skjalg found a place to get his phone fixed and while we were there, I splurged on a new phone. My phone was stolen before my anatomy exam in May and since then I’ve been using a really cheap Samsung (which has been driving me crazy).
In addition to a phone, I bought a juicer! After being brainwashed by Stian ( 😉 ) I made up my mind to do a juice detox. I haven’t felt healthy for so long and thought it was worth a shot. I’m now on Day 9 of a 10 day fast – drinking nothing but fruit/veggie juice 5 times a day – and I’m feeling really good (tired…but good!).
After a quick trip home to drop off the juicer, it was present time! I had NO idea what Skjalg had in mind. I love surprises, but I also love figuring them out – two qualities which obviously clash. One of my birthday wishes was to walk around Margit Island and since we were going to get the present before, I figured it had to be small enough for me to carry in my pocket. Other than that, I had no clue!
I followed Skjalg onto the metro, back to the stop where the mall was, down two side streets and then a turn to the right. “There it is,” he said. I was looking at Wasabi (an Asian restaurant), a hair salon, and a bike rental shop. “Am I getting my hair done?” I asked. “Nope,” he replied as he led me across the street and then down into a cellar shop. “We’re getting bikes!!” Haha, was definitely wrong about the “small enough for me to carry in my pocket” part.
We spent almost two hours trying out bikes and picking out the ones we wanted. I was so happy and surprised that I had no concept of time at that point. Then we were off! Budapest is such a different city when seen by bike – I had no idea! We rode down side streets we probably never would have seen otherwise to get to the island. Even Margit Island was a completely different experience. Normally, we walk around the island along the shore and don’t head in to the inner paths. This time, we went right through the center, past huge fountains, flower parks, a zoo and a beautiful giant tree.
The rest of the afternoon was spent riding around the city and then stopping in at Culinaris, a specialty shop with hundreds of imported foods, for some guacamole and chipotle chips. To close out the night, we enjoyed an unforgettable steak dinner at La Pampa. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to bring in my 26th year.