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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hey there, Mr. Blue!

10:33 pm CET

Once again, there was no sleeping in for me. I woke up relatively early and sat around till I felt like leaving for the day. I had another rendezvous with Jacob (in Pest this time) for lunch, and we met up at the Astoria station around noon. After wandering for quite a while looking for somewhere to eat, we settled on this pizza place, aptly named "Pizza King." It took us a good twenty minutes to figure out how the restaurant worked, so we ended up wandering upstairs to the seating area and ordering there.

After lunch we took advantage of the sunshine (I feared it would disappear at any second) and walked around the city, just taking in everything and not really paying attention to where we went. We walked into the Museum of Applied Arts, but didn't actually explore it. Right when you walk in, if you look straight up, there is this beautiful stained glass skylight. I could have stood there for hours craning my neck staring at it, but we had to move on.

We wandered for a bit more before going our separate ways at the Liberty Bridge tram stop. I decided to continue exploring, so I set off on foot across the bridge and took a tram to the Elisabeth Bridge to the north. From there I wandered north still toward the Chain Bridge, Buda Castle, and Parliament, where I found the explanation for why all the trams in that area were not running. The finals for an international triathalon were being held, so I joined the noisy crowd to watch the women running.

There were people from every corner of the world cheering on their racers; I saw (and heard) fans from Chile and Spain, France and Germany, Sweden and Brazil, Ireland and Australia and Canada and Japan and several other nations. People were lining the roads waving flags in support of their countries, and I was more than a little shocked when I noticed that the only Americans I saw were those who were somehow attached to the event. I wanted so badly to have my giant American flag so I could wave it for our athletes so they could know that they had support. Instead, I cheered for each one as she passed, feeling really proud to be from the United States for the first time since arriving. Sometimes you feel like you need to hide it, but today I just wanted the entire world to know.

I crossed the Chain Bridge from Buda into Pest, keeping an eye on the runners as I went. Once on the other side, I walked on the Danube Promenade close to the river back south toward the Liberty Bridge. There are a bunch of nice restaurants, wine bars, and cafés there; not to mention the Gresham Palace (now a glorious Four Seasons hotel that I have yet to check out), the Vigadó Concert Hall, and several bronze statues. There were many buildings and sites that I missed, so I will definitely have to visit another time.

When I finally returned to the dorm, I felt like my feet were going to fall off from all that walking. A good rest is what I need now before our new class starts up tomorrow morning, and I am hoping beyond hope that it's better than philosophy. At this point, though, I have a feeling that anything would be better than philosophy. Even underwater basket weaving.

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