Four years ago, our first Christmas together, SVV and I packed up all our belongings in Holland, shipped them to our new home in Denmark (to never see them again, actually; stupid Dutch Post), and headed to Central and Eastern Europe for three weeks in lieu of going back to the States for the holidays. Our first stop: Budapest.
We had no plans really, just a plane ticket and hotel room.
We found those awesome Hungarian outdoor baths to soak in.
We tried to perfect the art of hold-outs. (Four years later? We’re kind of the masters.)
We braved the cold and snow.
SVV took 735 photos of bullet holes.
We wandered aimlessly, as we’re wont to do, and came across this gorgeous church with a Hungarian children’s choir filling the interior with beautiful music. So we sat and stayed.
(Apologies for the blur; I was traveling without my fancy camera at that point.)
In the words of Hugh Grant, Christmas really was all around.
Well, until we were unable to locate an ATM anywhere, so we had to take the train back to the center to find a cash machine—sans ticket.
You can figure out what happened next, I’m sure. This would be the one time our whole trip that the ticket bitches were checking, and while they didn’t see me, as I reached the top of the escalator, I turned around to see them interrogating SVV in Hungarian. I briefly contemplated leaving him and fleeing the scene, but did the noble thing and returned. They kept telling us we’d have to pay them a fine right then and there; we kept trying to make them understand that that was the problem in the first place: We were clean out of Hungarian currency.
Eventually, they held our passports and SVV hostage, and I was able to make it to the bank and bail us out.
Our fine? $10. Heh. Only in Central Eastern Europe.
Hey, at least we left Hungary with a story to tell.
*All photos taken with a crap Nikon Coolpix (a camera I would never, ever recommend).
**For more Photo Friday fun, head over to Delicious Baby.
Hilarious. I’ve been dealing with a crap Coolpix for four months now…you must feel my pain. Love the post!
I loved Budapest. We went for Christmas few years ago, and I just complete fell in love with how peaceful it seemed. Great post as usual!
Hungary has always seemed like one of those “exotic” European places to me – kind of like Turkey. Gorgeous post but maybe not as exotic as I expected. 🙂
I’d love to visit Budapest. I made it as far as Prague, which was utterly gorgeous, but somewhat over-discovered.
A good friend told me Budapest is similar, but less overrun by British bachelor parties 😉
I’m intrigued that your possessions went missing between Holland and Denmark!
I love this story, SVV hostage for $10. 😉
How delightful you are already building Christmas memories together. Wonder it will be this year?
Your photos still look good even with the crap camera. 🙂
I had a Coolpix at one point too . . . I actually thought it did an ok job, until I got my REAL CAMERA that is 🙂 Budapest looks gorgeous!
Ah, I look back over previous trips and wish I’d bought a better camera earlier. Still a good story, though 😉
Nice story! It’s good to know you are a noble woman and would bail your man out of a Hungarian prison. 🙂
Oh man! I love stories of compassion and reasonable law enforcement overseas, especially on a day bearing sad news in the Amanda Knox verdict. Yay for you staying safe overseas!
No plans, just a plane ticket and hotel room — sounds perfect! This looks like such an amazing place to visit. Thanks for sharing!
Great story. I look back at pictures I took before I got my ‘real” camera and just shudder. How did we ever survive?
I love that top photo. And this is cute story, too. Glad that you got away with such a small fine.
Ha, those Hungarians love their fines to foreigners! We had the same issue driving over from the Czech Republic – pulled over for “speeding” and passports and I were held while my husband drove to an ATM for some cash!
Cool post! However, the picture of the “Hungarian” currency actually depicts Romanian currency–lei.
I hope you know that the money on the picture is not Hungarian but Romanian…
Surprise that the Hungarians tried to rip you off. The cab drivers are the WORST. Love Budapest!
Nice story! I love the photos of the Hungarian Parliament building and the Vajdahunyad castle.