13 March 2007

The East

The past few days have been a quick paced tour through Eastern Europe and my understanding of hospitality has reached a new level in that time as well.

In Cluj Napoca I stayed two nights with Eszter, a friend from Eichstaett who studies in that Romanian city. She refused to accept anything less than me sleeping in her bed, while she slept on makeshift one on the floor of her apartment. We spent most of the second night with her friends then slept for only one hour before heading to the station to catch my 5:30 AM train to Budapest, Hungary.

I enjoyed spending my time with Eszter and speaking in German once again.

Szylvia and Ildiko, again friends I made in Eichstaett met in the train station in Budapest. I stayed three nights with Ildiko and her family. Budapest is a beautiful city, perhaps the most beautiful I have seen on the Odyssey so far. I don't mean that in the sense like Bucharest and that it could be beautiful, it already is. It surprised me that I hadn't heard more about this grand capital of the East.

The highlight of my stay in that city was visiting the one of the famous mineral and thermal baths. Ildiko and I took a dip in the most lavish facility in Budapest, imagine a swimming pool gilded and decorated like a royal palace.

The hospitality of Ildiko's family was amazaing. Her mom alone cooked so much food for me, even a bag full for my train ride out of town.

Today I explored Krakow, Poland as I waited for my train. From this internet cafe I will head to the train station and journey on to Kiev, Ukraine. Americans have only been able to enter that country unrestricted for two years now.

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