Wednesday Write-Up: So the Days Float Through My Eyes

Well, here it’s Wednesday again, and we are leaving for another country tomorrow. The last 8 days felt slow, but went so fast. I am just starting to acclimate and love the amazing city of Budapest, Hungary.

It is interesting that none of us three had been affected by the time changes very much or culture changes either for that matter until we arrived here. We had very few issues in Lisbon, a bit more in Disneyland Paris, and many more here in Budapest it felt like. It felt like a daunting task to be here and now I am sad to leave as it feels as though I have just let the realness of the city in.

There were a couple of reasons that it was hard to get used to being here. The first was the jet lag. For some reason, all of a sudden, the time changes caught up with all of us and the hour difference in time from Lisbon, set us back a couple of days. All three of us struggled with exhaustion, crankiness and headaches the first three days we were here. It was really a bummer, we thought that our mutant powers made us invincible to jet lag.

Secondly, it was the language. Hungarian is…well…a really foreign language. There is no connection to any other words that I know unless they are words that we all have transferred from another culture, such as buffet or manicure. But it took me this whole week just to master saying köszönöm, which means thank you. Its a tough language to understand and speak, I wish I had had more time to practice.

Third, the food here was just okay. We did find some great restaurants, such as a bavarian place, a vegan place, and a buffet that were really good. But these were all not really hungarian places and I am not much of a soup person so I didn’t even venture to try the Hungarian Goulash (I know…shame on me). I will write more in my Friday post about the wonderful restaurants that we did find and love.

Fourth, and last, the prices here are much higher than we expected. Mind you we have been blinded by the wonderful cost of living in Portugal, so it is probably not as bad as say, Paris or London, but it was a bit more expensive for the things we love than we had planned. For example, in Lisbon I paid 20 Euros for an exciting new haircut and here I just had to pay 32 Euros for a trim. (I chopped off all my hair and now sport a pixie cut..who would have thought I could have pulled it off?! But I love it!). Also the food costs her are significantly more than I am used to, about 30-40 euros a meal. It really isn’t that bad, I know, but my stupid expectations get me every time.

My New Haircut and Zoë on the Chain Bridge in Budapest

My New Haircut and Zoë on the Chain Bridge in Budapest

Now, after I have said all these things, I want to tell you that I love Budapest, I love the architecture, the weather has actually been sunny for 4 out of 8 days we have been here, and the people are very helpful and friendly. I want to come back and experience some more. Until next time Budapest… viszontlátásra (good-bye)!

Pastries and Ships

Many of the museums here in Lisbon offer free entry before 2:00pm on Sundays. So last Sunday we decided to take them up on their offer and go to the Museu de Marhina (Maritime Museum). Chad and Zoë have a real love of “dada boaps”, as Zoë calls any kind of watercraft, and I love all things history. We were all exited to see what the museum had in store for us.

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We got a late start, but because of my intense need to eat often (its biological really!!) we decided to stop off at a famous Lisbon landmark for food on our way.

The Pastéis de Belém  is known throughout Portugal as the birthplace of the lovely little pastries for which the restaurant gets its name. The recipe for these little cakes of deliciousness date back to the 19th century when the monks at the nearby monastery needed to make a little extra cash. These pastries are made by other bakeries and are at every cafeteria and snack bar, but it’s well known that the original bakery’s are the best. The take away line always curves outside the restaurant and is known to take at least a half hour of waiting to buy these tasty pieces of history. I thought that was the only way to try the real pastéis were to stand in that long line, which I was hesitant to do. I know, my fellow foodies are disappointed in me right now, but standing in a long line with an impatient and hungry toddler sounded like hell a possibly unpleasant experience.

Lucky for us, a kind Canadian gentleman, that we met on our trip to Sintra, told us that there are rooms and rooms of tables that you can sit at in the bakery and get the pastries served right to you! The tables are first come first served, but the service is quick and the tables turn over so that you never have to wait as long as the take out line.

We sat and had some meat pies and finished our meal with the lovely, sweet, buttery custard pies. I am glad that we got to try the real things, they were scrumptious. I wish I could send one to all of you!

Pastéis de Belém

Pastéis de Belém

After we had filled ourselves up with yummy food, we quickly walked to the Museu de Marhina because it was getting very close to 2:00 pm. We slipped in with just minutes to spare.

Entrance to the Museu de Marinha

Entrance to the Museu de Marinha

The museum was filled with extremely detailed models of ships and (mostly replicas) of paintings of maritime war scenes and famous navy men. And we mustn’t forget portrait paintings of the very famous Portuguese explorers, such as Christopher Columbus (who actually was hired by Spain as were a couple of other Portuguese explorers). Again, most of the paintings, costumes, and weaponry were replicas it seemed, which deadened the experience for me a little. I love being close to real history, and the fact that most of the artifacts were actually more recently rendered facsimiles made it less awe-inspiring.

One of the More Interesting Looking Ship Models

One of the More Interesting Looking Ship Models

There was a huge area at the end of the tour that housed some of the actual royal ships and boats. That was pretty fascinating. That room also held some early airplanes and steam engine vehicles that were fun to look at.

The Royal Barges and Boats

The Royal Barges and Boats

All-in-all, I would recommend the Maritime Museum if you really love anything to do with boats and the military use of them. For me, it was just a little boring. If you want more information on visiting this museum, check out this website.

The winners of the day were definitely my tastebuds, having a chance to be enthralled by a tiny little custard pie. I may have to go get some now… Until next time!

Why the Need to Leave

I have been asked by many people why I feel the need to leave my safe, settled home in Santa Rosa California, why Chad and I feel the need to pick up stakes and get the heck out of dodge. I know I have answered this in part in previous posts, but there are other parts to this decision that I want to share with you today.

Beauty and Wonder

I love to see and experience different landscapes. Living in different climates can take some getting used to (mostly it just takes my naturally curly hair a while to get used to the changes in humidity—think finger in a light socket hair), but it is so awe-inspiring and humbling to see God’s diverse creation. I prefer to live in hotter climates, whether humid or dry, I want to live in tank tops, skirts, and flip-flops. There are also types of landscape that I prefer, mostly tropical, lush landscapes, but I try to look for the beauty in all places. Most of the people that live here in Sonoma County rave that this is the most desired landscape in the world. We have rolling hills (mostly covered in vineyards) and Mediterranean type weather. Maybe it is just that I was born and raised here for most of my life, but I do not like it as much. I have lived and traveled through some climates and landscapes, but I want to see and experience more.

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 Culture and Society 

I definitely had a hard time with culture shock last time Chad and I traveled. It was my first time outside of the United States and I was completely unprepared for the differences in each country. I grew to love and look forward to those differences as our time in Asia progressed (well most of the time). I never realized how blessed we are in America (all social and financial classes included) until I saw how others lived in the countries of Southeast Asia. I am now looking forward to not only immersing myself in different cultures and societies but also to immerse Zoë in them. I want her to see all walks of life and know where she is in regards to it, I want to teach her that despite what the world says, does, or shows, we are held to a higher standard in Christ. I don’t want to just tell her these things, I want to show her. Traveling is the best way to do this I believe.Image

Good Eats

I love food. When I ask about someone’s travels, one of the first things that I ask about is the food. I can’t help it, I always am thinking about my next meal, snack, or morsel to eat. The places that Chad and I have traveled so far (Southeast Asia and around the west coast of the good ole’ USA) have had some amazing food. Thai food is by far my favorite food in the whole world, but there are very few things that I have tried that I have regretted. I realized while traveling that I have very adventurous taste buds. Honestly the only things I shy away from are foods that smell like rotten meat (durian fruit anyone?) and foods that are covered in ultra-hot spicy peppers. I love to experience new foods and tastes and love that in most of the places that we are going to go to, eating out is cheaper than cooking at home (Hooray!).

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 There are many more little reasons that add to the desire to expand our horizons and see the world, but these are the most important to me. Next week I am going to write about what I do not like while traveling, it should be a funny one so subscribe and make sure you don’t miss you! Thanks for reading!

(Photos taken by Chad)