Tag Archives: hungary

House of Terror, Budapest

~K~

The House of Terror Museum in Budapest stands as a stark reminder of – and a monument to – fascist and communist regimes (and their victims) leading up to and following World War II. The museum was opened in 2002 in the building that was used by the Arrow Cross Party, AVH (Hungarian Secret Police), and Nazi Party.

Roof of the House of Terror

Coming to Budapest, we knew that this was a museum that we really wanted to visit. Our AirBNB was located only a couple hundred meters from the museum so we had no trouble finding our way there. It is located at Andrassy ut 60, which is on the primary street that runs down the Pest side of the city towards Hero’s Square.

Advertisement for a movie about the Revolution

We decided to visit on October 23 – Day of the Republic – the 60th anniversary. The initial reasoning for this was that museums are free on national holidays, and we were on a budget. But we would come to realize a certain poignancy to our decision to visit that day. The Day of the Republic commemorates the revolution of 1956, and the overthrow of the Arrow Cross Party on November 10.

As a kid growing up in the US going to public school, my history classes didn’t cover Hungary – or anything but the most generic of world history if it wasn’t directly related to the US – and so this museum really brought to light an important and dark period of history I was completely unaware of.

Our day started early, as we assumed that the museum would get crowded and that we might have to wait a while to get in. And we did. The line wrapped around the side of the building for about a hundred meters or so and slowly meandered it’s way to the front door. On the outside were pictures of victims and martyrs from the Nazi, Arrow Cross Party, and Soviet Communist Occupation. 

Line to House of Terror
Victim Portraits

Walking through the front entrance, we were treated to ominous music that strongly conveyed the cold Soviet demeanor that would be the motif of the museum. It took us a few minutes to get through and drop our coats and cameras (no photography of any kind is permitted) at the storage area- initially, we had assumed it was so busy because of the holiday (and it probably was a little busier), but it turns out that the museum is usually busy – so prepare for that.

Inside, you can find that the museum is made up of 3 floors and a basement. Each floor wraps around a central atrium, at the center of which is an old Soviet T-54 tank in a pool of water.

We began on the top floor and made our way down. Each exhibition takes a significant amount of time to work your way through and is excellently curated. You can find an extensive amount of information in both Hungarian and English, although there were a few sections that could use additional English explanation.

One aspect that we found enjoyable was the numerous video footage and interviews with the people affected. While dark, and not kid-friendly at times, these were very informative and far more captivating than placards on a wall.

Another nice feature was that every room would have a printed information sheet in Hungarian or English for visitors to take. These were very detailed, and sometimes even multiple pages long. The information on them helped reinforce the message of the particular exhibit and allowed for visitors to peruse the exhibit without crowding around a single plaque.

The museum covers the history of Hungary’s revolutions directly following and before World War II. It explores the relationships of the Hungarians with the German Nazis, USSR, and KGB. Its numerous exhibitions cover items such as arrests, gulags, imprisonments, torture, propaganda, murder, and resistance.

In the basement, they have kept the cells that were used to hold and break prisoners to the will of the communist regime. They are dark, cold, and dingy – a miserable place to be.

The experience of the museum is truly somber and sobering. It brings to light the atrocities that can be committed and just how easy it is for people to take these actions. But it also highlights the strength of the Hungarian people to resist. That pride still shows today, and especially around the time of the holiday, is exhibited by the Hungarian flag with a circle cut out of the center. The Hungarian people removed the communist insignia from the center of the flag during the revolution.

Hungarian Flag

The museum does not allow for photography or videography inside, so we’re pretty limited on what we can put up on here from the interior. But out front, there is an exhibition as well. Numerous plaques in English and Hungarian detail various events and individuals who were involved in the resistance. As well, there is a monument made of chains (the “iron curtain”). 

Chains of Communisim
Berlin Wall Piece

Revolution Plaque
Terror House Plaque
Terror House Plaque
Retailiation Plaque

I could say a lot more but regardless, the museum is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Budapest. It does an excellent job displaying the history of this tumultuous time.

If you want to visit:

Address:  Andrássy út 60, Budapest, Hungary

Hours: 10am – 6pm (Closed Mondays)

Cost: 2000 HUF (~$7.25)

Pretty City

Budapest Video

~B~

Here is a brief video showing off some of our time in Budapest, Hungary. It seems that in Europe (Cyprus, Serbia, Hungary) we focused a lot more on taking pictures and follow/spin videos than taking other video. There were quite a few of these (follow and spin videos) from these countries which I did not find until after I made those video or did not include for some reason. Therefore, despite the fact that we spent a substantial amount of time in each of these locations, we just don’t have a ton of video footage. As per normal I also had to get rid of all the videos that were just too shaky, bad angles, too short, etc. which is typically well over half of them. The video does show many of the top touristy spots, though.

Hungarian National Museum

~K~

Half way through our stay in Budapest, we decided that we were going to visit the Hungarian National Museum. The cost of Budapest tested our budget, so we tried to go on the national holiday, during which time the museums were free. We had first gone to the House Of Terror and expected to follow up with the National Museum, but we had severely underestimated how tired we would be from all the walking and just how much time we could spend at the House of Terror.

With time flying by, we decided that we needed to see the museum. We regretted not seeing the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade, so with a little insistence and determination we got up and began the walk to the museum.

It was a pretty brisk day as we made our way. We set off just after lunch, covered up in our winter gear. The walk from our AirBNB took about thirty minutes, but the time passed quickly as we made our way down the busy roads.

HungarianMuseum_2

Entering the grounds, we were greeted by a large columned facade sitting atop a wide staircase. The building was reminiscent of a Greek or Roman temple. The museum was first created in 1802 and initially set up as the National Széchényi Library. In 1807 it became the museum and the Hungarian Parliament donated to the institution multiple times. In 1846, the museum relocated to its current location.

Briana on Steps of Hungarian Museum

Entering the building, we came into a large marble room. Here we purchased the tickets to the museum for 1,600 HUF (~$5.50) each. Because of the cold weather, we had obviously had our jackets on and were directed down to the basement to store our coats and backpack. The coat storage was pretty straight forward, and gave us a great place to begin our exploration of the museum.

The museum has a huge collection of gravestones dating all the way back to Roman times through to the Modern era. We went around the large basement room, checking out the headstones and stone carvings. In the center of the room was a very large tile mosaic.

Headstone
Kyle Near Tombstones
Large Mosaic

After the basement, we proceeded up to the main floor. Here we were able to learn about the paleolithic and early history of Hungary and the surrounding region. There was a heavy emphasis on the iron age and early migration of the Magyar people. I found it pretty interesting, and the museum presented the information very well. 

Bones at Hungarian Museum

Once we finished this hall, we visited the other hall on this floor. It was very interesting and started to get into the medieval history. So here we got to see more exquisite artifacts such as swords, royal jewelry, armor and other such things. We also got to see the influence of east Asian migrations. While it never occurred to me initially, it actually makes a lot of sense considering Hungary’s location on the continent that it would receive a fair amount of migration.

Ancient artifacts

The exhibition halls are very large and takes a pretty good while to get through. Once finishing the main floor, we proceeded up a grand staircase to the second floor. The ceiling of the staircase was painted with intricate murals.

Hungarian Museum Grand Stair

The second floor was even more interesting than the first floor, and it really had some interesting items. There were several rooms and halls on the floor to check out. We didn’t pay to see the special, temporary exhibition, but we did see the other halls.

Museum Hall
Portrait of a Noblewoman

These halls covered the more modern events of Hungary, particularly the Communist uprising and subsequent fall. The Terror Museum covered this far more in depth, but it was nice to have multiple perspectives and sources on such an important event in Hungarian history.

With tired feet, we made our way out and down the front steps of the museum. By this time, the sun had set and rain had begun to fall. We pulled out only remaining umbrella and set out to further explore the city.

To visit the museum, you can find it located at:

Budapest, Múzeum krt. 14-16, 1088 Hungary

It’s hours are: Tuesday through Sunday 10am – 6pm.

Kyle and Briana outside of Hungarian National Museum

Budapest Desserts

Desserts We Tried in Budapest!

~B~

When I first saw Kevin and Amanda’s popular post: Everything I Ate in Budapest!, I showed it to Kyle and we used the article, along with several others, to get some ideas about different foods we wanted to try in Budapest. Because we found it useful and have made similar type posts in the past, I decided to try something like it with the desserts we tried in Budapest!

If you know me, you know I love my sweets, and Budapest did not disappoint. There are many markets, bakeries, cafes and so on where you can find various types of sweets. I included coffee in this post because the few cups we tried out were pretty dessert-esque. We were in Budapest for nearly a month and a half so we had time to try a few spots. Like most other places, we also didn’t have an oven (for baking) which made it necessary to find items to satisfy our (mostly my) sweet tooth. With as many sweets as we did eat, there were plenty of great places (or, at least, places with great reputations) that we didn’t make it to during our time in Hungary. Feel free to make a comment if there was another place you loved in Budapest!

Budapest Desserts

Onto the sweets!

Chimney Cakes (Kürtőskalács) from a stand
Chimney Cake
Chimney Cake at Christmas Market
Once you take in the scent of this sweet dough roasting, you will find it necessary to try some! I first saw chimney cakes at a mall in Kuala Lumpur (so much international food there!) back in January of last year. We considered getting one, but we had already eaten and they cost a little too much for us at the time. Unfortunately, when we returned to KL in May, we found the place was no longer there. Budapest was already high on our list, though, and I figured we would get it there- and we did. Depending on where you go, you can find different flavors like cinnamon, walnut, and coconut.

Where to find it: We saw many stalls roasting and selling them at the Christmas markets, as well as a few others throughout the city. If you do a lot of exploring you’ll probably come across one. We ate at a random stand near a train station.

Cost: Prices vary widely, but I think the more permanent stalls tend to run cheaper. We found some for 350forint ($1.21) but we saw them going for around $10 other places. They will especially run high at the Christmas markets, but Christmas markets and chimney cakes are a pretty great combination! You will also find that some of the variation in price is due to size. Different stands may have different sized chimney cakes.

If you want to learn more about chimney cakes and better specifics on prices and where to find them, check out The Best Winter Treat in Budapest on the We Love Budapest site. We used this site quite a bit during our time there. Additionally, we didn’t go here, but this place looks delicious and highly rated and I have seen other bloggers mention it.

Ice Cream-Filled Chimney Cakes at Street Cakes
streetcakesKyle with Street Cakes
Now, take that chimney cake, choose your preferred flavor, cover the inside with nutella, and add ice cream and toppings. During one of our first days in Budapest we were out walking down Andrassy street and saw a few people eating these treats. At this point we hadn’t had chimney cakes at all. I knew I had to try one!

The shop is small and might be easy to miss if you don’t notice anyone eating ice cream outside. I wondered why the place wasn’t better known yet- it’s probably because it’s new. You can also add all kinds of toppings like fruit and chocolate bar pieces, cookies, candies, etc. but we just stuck to the basics because we weren’t sure how much it would cost. If you’re curious about the pumpkin decoration- we got these in late October. I assume they might add cute decorative toppings for other holidays as well.

How it works: First you choose a flavor for the chimney cake, then decide if you want Nutella, jam, or whipped cream spread on the inside, choose your ice cream, pick your toppings, and add sauce (chocolate, caramel, etc.) if you want. When we visited, the only ice cream flavor options they presented to us were chocolate, vanilla, or swirl soft-serve but I think I’ve seen pictures with a pink strawberry-looking ice cream online. They have savoury options and drinks as well. P.S. I loved the cinnamon flavor for the chimney cake.

Where to find it: Budapest, Andrássy út 61, 1062 Hungary.

Cost: It will vary depending on your choices, but it cost us $6.94 (~$3.47 each) for chimney cake + ice cream + Nutella in one.

Website: Here is the Street Cakes Facebook page.

Also to consider if you’re interested: Later on in Budapest we were walking around and found this other place that looked amazing- chimney cakes filled with all kinds of other things- I think pudding, whipped cream, etc. (hey! we couldn’t try everything) so if you are on the lookout you may find other places which offer interesting twists on the chimney cakes.

Cake at Ruszwurm Cukrászda
Chocolate Cake Ruzsworm
Caramel Cake BudapestCakes in BudapestAt RuzswormInside the old pastry shop
Located in the Castle District close to many attractions, this pastry shop is known for being one of the oldest in Budapest (from 1827). Therefore it’s extremely popular and likely the most famous pastry shop in Budapest. If any blogger/traveler, etc. has one dessert recommendation, aside from chimney cakes, it’s typically this shop. You can sit inside or outside. We sat outside because it was all that was available at the time and, for November, it was a really nice day! You can also get drinks here- from alcohol to coffee. Though I thought we ought to just share a piece, Kyle didn’t have to twist my arm to convince me we should each get our own slice. The chocolate piece was very rich, almost like fudge, and the caramel cake had a nice flavor and creaminess to it. Let’s just say they’ve been around nearly 200 years for a reason.

Where to find it: 1014 Budapest, Hungary Szentháromság u. 7.

Cost: A slice is somewhere around $1.50-$3. It cost us 1245 forint (~$4.42) for the two pieces you see above. I believe drinks cost more but we didn’t get them. Small water cups came with our cake.

Website: The Ruszwurm Cukraszda website includes more information about the origins of the shop.

Tip: If you’re looking to get the cake that any person/blog/website always shows for Ruszwurm Cukraszda, it’s called “Cream Cake” (perhaps the “Traditional Cream Cake” or something along those lines). I originally thought I would get this slice but the menu has no pictures so it’s difficult to discern the appearance of a given piece simply from its menu description. The servers also tend to be busy due to the place being so popular.

So now you know about that cake but if you are looking for another particular slice, or want to be prepared, just scroll through the pics on TripAdvisor– many visitors label their cakes. Additionally, though I didn’t realize it, at first, you actually can go inside and look at some of the cakes on display (though you might have to navigate a small crowd for a peek). I was actually a bit more in the mood for chocolate anyway when we visited so it was fine. In the end we both had absolutely delicious desserts so I really don’t think you could go wrong with anything here, but it’s information to keep in mind.

Ice Cream at Gelarto Rosa
GelartoRosaMe with Rose Ice CreamGelarto Rosa ShopFunnyA Rose
Rose-shaped ice cream. Pretty + sweet = pretty sweet, right? Interestingly enough, this was not the first time we found rose ice cream. We first tried such a treat in Seoul at a place called Milky Bee. We both love ice cream and it’s such a fun idea. I don’t always expect things which look so pretty to taste amazing but this ice cream was GOOD. If I’m going to be honest, the rose ice cream was a tad bit better in Budapest than Korea. If nothing else, they certainly had the advantage of more decent flavor options. You can choose either two or three flavors. I think I chose pistachio, sour cherry, and lavender white chocolate and Kyle chose mango and strawberry. They serve other desserts and drinks as well.

Where to find it: Budapest, Szent István tér 3, 1051 Hungary (near St. Stephen’s Basilica).

Cost: ~$2.35/piece. It cost us $4.69 for two ice creams- one with two flavors and the other with three.

Website: Gelarto Rosa

Gelato at Fragola
Fragola Nut Ice Cream
Fragola againKyle's ice cream at the top
FragolaGelato
One night we were craving ice cream so I did some research to find the best option factoring in cost and distance from our location. It was Fragola. I tried strawberry cheesecake ice cream and it was the last bit of it for the night so the woman really filled my cone. Kyle ordered a nut ice cream. Both were good. We visited a different location while out another night something and I got lemon and Kyle got something with chocolate in it. The ingredients are Italian and they don’t use any artificial flavors which is nice (I believe both of those statements are true about Gelarto Rosa as well). Flavors include white chocolate, gorgonzola, caramel, chestnut mascarpone, and more.

Where to find it: There are several locations throughout the city. You can find the various addresses on their Facebook page. Also see the Fragola website.

Cost: 280-300 Forint, or ~$1. It cost us 560forint (~$2) for two ice creams. The second time it was a little more because we opted for waffle cones over cake cones.

Shake at Sweetheart Milkshakes
Sweetheart WafflesSalted Caramel Ice Cream
This was a pretty cute little place. We decided to share the Salted Caramel Pretzel Shake but they have waffles and regular food as well. It was a little more salty than I preferred but it was still good and Kyle was fine with the saltiness level.

Where to find it: Budapest, Wesselényi u. 18, 1077 Hungary

Cost: The item we got cost ~$3.49. Most of the other items were more expensive which is why we elected to just share the one item.

Website: Sweetheart’s Facebook page.

Crepe (Gundel Pancake) at Frici Papa
Crepe at Frici Papa BudapestFrici Papa Restaurant
I came across Frici Papa when I was scouring small blogs for interesting/different things to do and try in Budapest. Kyle had mentioned that one of the dishes he most wanted to try in Budapest (there were a few) was the chicken paprikash. A particular blogger (sorry, no longer remember where I found it) raved over this dish there and it was reasonably priced so we decided we would give it a shot one day. The restaurant actually has pretty good prices. I was a little bit more in the mood for sweets at the time so I chose to get a crepe. Yum! It was very different from other crepes I’ve tried. Re-examining the menu I noticed it was actually called a “Gundel Pancake” which is a type of Hungarian crepe. You can find the menu here. My crepe was so good. The inside was filled with a sweet cheese and the outside was covered in yoghurt and chocolate (or so it seemed). It was pretty filling too.

Where to find it: Budapest, Király u. 55, 1077 Hungary

Cost: Our whole meal cost 1500 forint ($5.34). My crepe specifically was 539 forint ($1.86).

Website: http://www.fricipapa.hu/eng/

Honey Gingerbread Cream Dessert from Panineria
Gingerbread dessertPanineria
It was our last night in Budapest and we were hungry. We thought about our options and decided on Panineria which we had passed quite a few times, but hadn’t yet tried. We ordered sandwiches (we’ll talk about them in another post) but I was thinking I might want a dessert after since we had none left at home. Though I couldn’t find the menu online, I believe it was “mézes puszedli pohar kremIt” which translates as “macaroon cream cup honey”.  It was basically cream with little gingerbread (that’s what it tasted like to me) pieces with honey and, as good as it looks and sounds, it tasted even better.

Where to find it: Oktogon tér 4., Budapest, Hungary

Cost: The total cost for two large sandwiches and the dessert was $8.95. I don’t recall the specific cost of the dessert but I believe it was somewhere around $1-$2.

Website: They don’t have a website but they are right next to a place called Made in Pasta and I think they might be run by the same people.

Donut from The Donut Library
Oreo donutdonut library budapestDonut LibraryThe Donut Library
We went here late one evening after trying to go to the Pinball Museum (unfortunately it was closed at the time). Because it was evening, there weren’t many donuts left so we just chose one to split. For the same reason (I assume), the donut was a little on the dry side. We chose an oreo donut which was good, but I’ve had better. Maybe try them in the morning. They are supposed to have really cool flavors. Either way, the place was cute and cozy.

Where to find it: There are three addresses: Pozsonyi út 22. XIII. kerület; Karinthy Frigyes út 18. XI. kerület; Károly krt 7. VII. kerület

Cost: Our donut cost 360 forint ($1.24) but some donuts cost more.

Websitehttp://www.thedonutlibrary.com/

Waffle from Habros Goffri Waffle
Habos Waffles
Habros Gofri WaffleHabos Gofri Sign
We came across this place one rainy night on our way somewhere. I thought it looked good and after I checked out the prices I thought it looked even better. We just got one because Kyle wasn’t much in the mood for sweets but it took a little to decide- there were so many spread options like cherry chocolate pudding, peanut butter, and apricot jam. I chose the chestnut cream spread because it seemed fitting for the night and weather. It was good. Overall: good taste, lots of flavor options, and a price you can’t beat.

Where to find itFerenciek tere 4. Budapest, Hungary (near Ferenciek square)

Cost: 200Forint ($0.69) waffle one topping

Website: https://www.facebook.com/HabosGofri/

Strudel from a stand in front of Oktogon Bistro
StrudelOktogon Bistro
We were walking home one day and this lady was selling all these, strudels (I think) in front of a restaurant. She looked hopeful that someone would buy them and I knew we didn’t have any candy bars at home at the time so I decided to give them a look. I hadn’t tried something exactly like it so I opted to give it a shot. I am not sure exactly what kind of fruit filling I chose but it was decent. The only downside was that there were some really hard pieces (like pits) inside as well. I assume that would not be true of all of them.

Where to find it: Though I’m not positive if it was associated with the restaurant, there are several locations, including Budapest, Teréz krt. 23, 1067 Hungary

Cost: Less than a dollar.

Website: http://www.gastlandbisztrok.hu/

Tiramisu Coffee at Lira Pont 
Tiramisu CoffeeEnjoying coffee at Lira Pont
Lira Pont was literally just across the street from us. We passed it constantly on our way across Hunyadi Park to get to the market and our host’s girlfriend recommended it to us while she was over one time. One late morning we decided we were in the mood for some nice coffee and walked over after getting through some work. It’s a cute, pleasant place and our choice (tiramisu coffee) was definitely a good one. It had a great flavor. Lira Pont also offers sandwiches and many other drink choices. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, but on that particular November day we thought inside was best.

Where to find it: Hunyadi ter 5, Budapest, Hungary, 1067

Cost: Varies. It cost 750 forint ($2.58) for the drink we shared.

Website: Lira Pont Facebook page

Cat-puccino at the Budapest Cat Cafe 
At the Budapest Cat CafeCoffee at Cat CafeCat-puccino
Everywhere we go, I check to see if the city has a cat cafe. If they do, we try it. There are actually two cat cafes in Budapest but we decided one would be fine. I couldn’t resist getting the cat-puccino (how cute!) but Kyle got something different. They were both good but Kyle’s drink (sorry, don’t remember the name) was really good.

Where to find it: Damjanich utca 38, Budapest 1071, Hungary (The Jewish Quarter) 

Cost: It cost us 1600forint (~$5.79) for both drinks and the privilege to spend time at the cafe.

Website: http://catcafebudapest.hu/

Cake from Hunyadi Square Market
Market Cake
Delicious cakeCake from the Market
I’m sure you could find similar desserts at any of the markets, but Hunyadi was the closest market to us. I had to get what slightly resembled the cream cake I wanted at Ruszwurm, but the slice of cake I had another time (see below) was even better.

Where to find it: Budapest, Hunyadi tér 4, 1067 Hungary (or any other market)

Cost: The options will range from less than a dollar to a couple dollars. Mine were both at the lower end of that range.

Desserts from Grocery Store Bakeries
Pastry from the Store
Great Pastry from the StoreCake
Cake from the storeJam-filled Donut
We tried many grocery store bakery desserts because we could just pick one or two up anytime we went to the store. Kyle’s favorite pastry which he seemed to get most times is the first one you see above. Each grocery store has a slightly different selection and we shopped at like ten different grocery stores but most of the treats came from a Roni ABC. We always picked them up with other groceries so I can’t say the exact prices but like most other things, they were pretty affordable.

Candy Bars from Grocery Stores 
Candy bar puzzle
Cream FudgeChristmas Bar
We could have made an entire post reviewing candy bars but we didn’t try anything weird or outrageous and we also didn’t take the time to review them so they will just go here. We found many of the same candy bars we liked so much in Serbia and then some others. The seasonal options were a special treat. There were many great flavors available including bars filled with raspberry and strawberry, caramel, etc. Yum! You can find different candy bars at any grocery or convenience store.

Honorable Mentions

Mulled Wine
Mulled WineMulled wine CF
Does this count? Because it is sweet and amazing. It is perfect for walking around the Christmas markets.

Burger King
Burger King
After deciding the New York Cafe was too posh for us we searched for several ice cream places only to find them closed (it was late at night). So we went to Burger King.

Muffin from Unknown
Muffin
I don’t remember where I got this muffin. It was not the best muffin.

We also saw into both the New York Cafe (known as the “most beautiful cafe in the world”), and the Alexandra Book Cafe and both were stunning. When we passed by we never felt that we were dressed well enough and, especially for the New York Cafe, the prices were on the high side but if you can manage I would recommend either of them just for the experience of dining in such an extravagant place.

Cake sign

If you want to see similar posts, check out Yogyakarta Sweets,  Sweets and Bakeries in Hanoi, or our Korean Ice Cream Reviews.

Christmas ornament

Monthly Roundup 21-22 (November-December 2016)

~B~

Summary
Summary-Christmas Decorations

The roundup is later than normal not because it took me longer to write it but because I forgot to post it (it’s actually been sitting here ready to be posted for several days-oops). Anyway, back in the last roundup in October I mentioned that we weren’t really sure what was going to happen in the following few months and it could have gone many different ways but in the end Kyle was offered the job in California and now here we are sitting in our very own apartment in San Jose. I haven’t decided if I’ll be continuing the roundups after this but if I do they’ll be a little different because we are no longer traveling full time. I originally wrote this to be very long with the full format for both November and December but I changed it to November and an abbreviated version for December. I hardly got on my computer the first few weeks in December which is why the November roundup didn’t get up then. We kept ourselves busy both months and, as per normal, there are various of things I will probably leave out of the post simply because it’s already going to be long and I have to use some discretion.

Where We’ve Been
WWB GPS to Niceville

31 days in Budapest (part day plus a flight with a short layover in Oslo before arriving in Orlando to be picked up and brought to Jacksonville)
8 days in Florida (specifically: Fleming Island, Niceville, and Destin)
3 days on the road including a night in San Antonio and a night in Tucson
19 days in San Jose, CA

Distance Traveled by..
Z-Distancetraveledby On the way across country

November
Foot Over 100 miles
December
Plane 5,525 miles
Car ~3,000 miles

Highlights
Z-Highlights St Stephen's Basilica Christmas MArket

November:
1. The Christmas Markets! They’ll get their own post but we went to multiple Christmas markets within Budapest and we went to the one in Vorosmarty Ter three times. I really enjoyed everything about them, especially the mulled wine!
2. The Baths. We tried to go to a different, cheaper public bath but it didn’t work out (we’ll write about that later) so we thought, you know what, let’s just splurge and do Szechenyi. It’s iconic Budapest (at least for tourists) and we already wanted to at least see it (which itself costs money) so we went there. We had a great time!
3. Margaret Island. I am sure this place is nice year-round but it was just lovely in the Fall. There is a bunch of different stuff to see/do there, but this too will get its own post.
4. Gellert Hill Outing. Before we went to Budapest I saw a picture of a place in the city on Pinterest and thought ‘I want to go there!’ so I asked my mom to ask Jutid where it was and she said it was Gellert Hill. It was just as beautiful in person and luckily I feel we were able to capture that with our camera.
5. Pinball Museum. My favorites games there were actually the non-pinball games like shooting and bowling but we both had fun.
6. The Great Market Hall.
7. Trash day, also known as lomtalanítás. This was unexpected and interesting.
8. Ice skating. Okay, another slight splurge, but where else are we going to get a chance to ice-skate in front of a castle??
9. Sweets. Everything from the grocery store bakery section sweets, to candy, to ice cream, to the market desserts, to a Tiramisu coffee, we enjoyed many different sweets this month.
10. Panineria. We ate here the night before we left and Kyle just raved about his sandwich. Mine was also good and I especially liked the dessert.
December: Our highlights included seeing people and pets, Christmas celebrations and Christmas decorations/displays, nice gifts, heated seats, good views on our drive, finding a place (and one with a washer and dryer and a dishwasher), having our things, food and drink, knitting and playing instruments, the mountains, making a couple travel videos (did you see our spin video and follow video?) because it’s fun for me, and Kyle liking his job so far.

Lowlights
Z-lowlights-takingmy temperature

November was fun, but various things (see lowlights) also interfered with plans at times. They’re not in chronological order.
1. Sick/Virus. Look up norovirus. I don’t know for sure if it’s what we had but basically those symptoms. First Kyle got it and then after a few days I contracted it from him. It was just terrible. You pretty much don’t stop throwing up for the first 12-24 hours and it’s just exhausting. I think Kyle stopped throwing up after his initial time period but I continued beyond this, just with longer intervals in between. Between us we were out for a week and it took longer than that to feel all the way better.
2. Workers Outside. Really not a big deal but the workers outside could be kind of loud in the morning which would wake us up. A couple days they also actually blocked our door painting or something so we were not able to leave.
3. Planning Stress. First there was the wait to see if he really had the job and then we were waiting on a finalized start date while also trying to plan our time in Florida and getting across country while not knowing just what awaited us in terms of how much stuff we would need to do in each place (Kyle’s parents’, my mom’s, my dad’s, and my grandma’s), what my parents’ work schedules might require, etc. We were also trying to figure out whether or not a stop in Orlando was realistic, decide if Kyle was trading his car with his parents, decide if we were or were not going to take both cars and cats on our initial drive across country and the implications for which hotels we could stay at, figure out if we could tow one car, and estimate how long we should book a place/how long we’d be apartment hunting. We were also trying to look at apartments online but the rents changing by hundreds per month from day to day (at the same places) and we were trying to figure out if we really could live alone or needed roommates especially not knowing what exactly the wage would be at that time, and so on.
3. Knocked Down. When we decided we were done ice-skating Kyle said he wanted to go one more time around so I said that’s fine but I am tired and went and sat down. After he was done he told me I needed to do the same. I said I didn’t want to but he said I must so fine I went on the rink and within about fifteen seconds this little girl flies out of nowhere into my legs and knocks me hard to the ground. It hurt and my hand bled and I experienced pain in my hand for many days and a mark for a couple weeks. And that was just a couple hours before I got sick.
4. Not Getting In. The first time we went to the Pinball Museum it was closed for an event (not disclosed on their website or any of their social media because we checked) which was pretty upsetting because we planned our whole day around it but we did end up going back on a day it was open. Then there was the NY Cafe, the most beautiful cafe in the world. We tried to go in one night and wow, we felt so out of place and underdressed we had to leave immediately. We were really in the mood for ice cream, though, so we searched Maps for another ice cream place but saw it had already closed so then we searched for another but when we arrived it was closed too. So then we went to Burger King and got ice cream there which was pretty good.
5. Souvenirs. Just all the cool stuff we didn’t or couldn’t get for ourselves or others (like the item in the cover photo) because they were too big, too fragile, etc.
December: Our lowlights for December included not having as much time as we wanted with family and friends, not having enough time to go through all my stuff or the room for all of it, getting sick again (me)- I had a cold in Niceville and pretty much literally did not stop blowing my nose on the entire car ride across country, Kyle’s wage being lower than he was originally told (though it was balanced by cheaper insurance and better benefits but was initially a concern), moving expenses, us planning our schedules around a particular work date and then arriving to California only for his work to tell him they changed it meaning not only could we have done things a little differently (though it did work out well) but he also was not getting paid for those two days which we were sort of counting on, not getting holiday pay for two four day weekends and one three day weekend because he had not been in the system long enough, finding out he won’t get paid at all until mid-January, and finding out that we are missing a bunch of stuff (such as most of our tupperware, our crock pots, some mugs, our ladle, a few small souvenirs from Budapest we had in the car, and some things I hope are somewhere at my parents’ places but that I didn’t come across).

Firsts
Z-Firsts- Budapest Baths

November
First time having mulled wine.
Kyle’s first Christmas market.
Kyle first time ice skating in a foreign country (it might have been mine too but I don’t remember). What is crazy is that he never went ice-skating at all until he was in college!
Kyle’s first time having a curly mustache.
December
Farthest north we’ve been together (Oslo).
First time with our own place that we are renting long-term while married (lol).
First time seeing Augustine lights (me).
Kyle first time donating his hair.
Interestingly NOT our first time driving across country from FL to CA nor our first time moving to San Jose.

Budget
Z-Budget Budapest Christmas Shopping Lights

November cost $1085.56.
Accommodation   The cost of our place for the month was $530. Yes, one of our more expensive places, but worth it. We didn’t actually pay that this month and instead paid our final payment of $180 towards it which brings our actual spendings down to $738.56 this month.
Food   Wow, so uh, we spent $181.96 on groceries this month. We were pretty amazed last month when we only spent $235 and this month we significantly cut that! And everywhere (including the market near us) took cards so there were only a couple time we had to use cash so we can see our spendings online. I don’t really understand how we spent so little but I think a few things played a role. Kyle barely ate at all for like a week (when we were sick). Illness has never been able to keep me from eating so I did eat (especially kiwis which I was craving like crazy) in between throwing up but I also ate less for a few days. Another idea: I wouldn’t have thought this would have played a role but we literally went to the store like every day so maybe that somehow helped us keep our costs down too. We also shopped around- for example, the avocados were way cheaper at the market than at the grocery store. There were like five to seven different grocery stores we went to based on what we wanted/needed and prices. The specific dishes we were making may also have been playing a role. I mean, we do try to be careful with our spendings but I feel we used a similar level of care in each location. Maybe groceries are just cheaper in Serbia and Hungary than we realized. I mean we look at the prices of everything when we buy it but with us moving locations and the currencies and exchange rates changing everywhere it can be confusing. I think certain currencies make us more frugal than others for whatever reason. Of course, that was not all we spent on food. We also spent $55.68 on food out including 9 ice creams, 2 donuts, a chimney cake, langos, coffee, mulled wine, a pita, a piece of pizza, a kebab, fisherman’s soup in a bread bowl, a burger, 3 sandwiches, 2 fries, a salad, and another dessert. So we spent $237.64 total on food.
Entertainment/Outings   We tend to like to keep this pretty low due to the number of free and cheap activities available in many regions but in Budapest more activities require fees (there are even parks which require you to pay to enter there) and some activities are expensive. We chose not to do a couple things we were interested in due to price but we weren’t going to go there to not do things. We ended up spending $87.83. If we hadn’t got sick and had the construction workers blocking our door it would have been higher though because we had several more things we really wanted to do which cost money such as the Bear Sanctuary and a couple of caves close to Obuda. We just didn’t get a chance before we left.
Regular stuff   $141.44 for storage, Netflix, Google Storage, Dropbox, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Miscellaneous   $75.77 on souvenirs, gifts, and developing a little bit of film.
Fees $12.88
Now for December. Because we are no longer traveling, even if I continue the roundups I will no longer be disclosing these relatively full, informative financial reports because it would probably be weird. If we are able to travel I might talk about the cost of trips, though and I will still note things of significance like wow we only spent so much on this or wow this was so much.
The December budget was pretty significant. WE SPENT MORE MONEY THAN WE HAVE EVER SPENT IN A SINGLE MONTH EVER (I have been tracking our spendings for years but even if I hadn’t this would be obvious). That amount of money would have lasted us months traveling (UGH). And we basically couldn’t work the entire month, though we both got paid a very small bit for things we did last month. Costs included everything from the apartment stuff (application fee, deposit, rent for December, rent for January), transportation stuff (driving across country, renting a uHaul, the smog test, registration, a new license, etc.), a place to stay while looking for a place (less than a week at one of the cheapest Airbnbs we could find still came close to what we were often paying for a place per month abroad in Asia), bills for electricity and internet already coming in, all of our regular expenses, food, and more.

Work/Productivity
Work Kyle on couch

Kyle: Work for me over these past two months has been a little weird, but then it always seems to be a little weird. I finished up a large project in November and began another large project which has just wrapped up now after the holidays. I’m happy to report that both ultimately went off without a hitch, although there was some last minute understandings on the first project that did get taken care of. As well I had some work from one of my regular clients that I was able to finish up as we left Budapest and took care of packing in Florida. I’m happy to report that I have been hired as an artist at the University of California Santa Cruz and the role itself is great, but I will miss the regular travel.
Briana: I don’t feel like writing a lot more just to say the same things I’ve said most other months. Pretty much things were the same for November. I was unable to work in December, especially at the beginning. If I had chosen to work I couldn’t have taken care of the things I needed to do and I would have had to basically ignore our families to earn a low wage so I lost my clients. I can still do my flashcards though and I did one set at the end of the month. I can also still log onto a tutor site and wait to see if anyone needs help with something within my knowledge base. I tried to find some community college teaching jobs which I’d be qualified for which would be starting the Spring semester but I only found one which I did not get. Obviously we were busy with all kinds of other stuff this month and I also worked on the travel videos and other things.

Health and Fitness
Z-Health and Fitness Kiss Cookies

As I said above, we walked well over 100 miles in November alone in Budapest. We did our first hike back in California on the day after Christmas. Since we have gotten settled Kyle has started working out a little bit everyday and I have been trying to stretch a little everyday. It was fairly rare for us to do any exercising, stretching, yoga, etc. on our travels because of many reasons which varied by time and place but now we can more easily get back into doing these things. It helps that we have carpet. In terms of food we have been making more Mexican food but we are still eating pretty healthy.

Next Month/Next year
Z-NextMonth Sunset Reflections

What’s in store for next month? We will continue to get back into the swing of the ‘normal’ life, though I think we’re pretty much already there. We both have so much more time than we did while traveling which is really nice. I’ll explain the reasons in another post. We’ll be further organizing and decorating our place and doing our regular hikes. Hopefully my car and our furry friends will be arriving. In terms of the blog, I will probably be working on articles about the year, maybe a “year roundup” and/or travel superlatives (our favorite cities, food, etc. from the past year), possibly one on our overall travel budget, things we’d do differently, and so on. Of course, there are lots of other articles Kyle has been wanting me to write that I have been putting off for many months ago, such as the Batu Caves, Angkor Wat, and so on. So we’ll see. Kyle will probably be writing more on Serbia and Hungary.

Autoturist: From Belgrade To Budapest

~K~

After five weeks in Belgrade, it had come time for us to head to our final location for our travel: Budapest, Hungary. We had looked at a few options for how to get to our location in District VII of Budapest, and had very early on decided against taking a plane.

Our decision against the plane was quite simply due to price. We could not get the great deals in Europe that Briana was able to find in Asia, and the time cost was not going to be that significantly better – if at all.

Our initial idea was to take a train, after all, trains and Europe seem to be something that naturally goes together. What we didn’t realize was just how expensive the train was still going to be, so we looked at how to best do the train. The night train between Belgrade and Budapest is what we first found, but upon it seemed to have a bunch of horror stories. Many travelers reported scams from officials, problems at the borders, rampant theft, and the stories just went on. With our train experience in Sri Lanka still leaving a bad taste in our mouth, we desperately searched for another option that would be safer and less difficult.

We looked into the idea of taking a ferry up the Danube, but unfortunately that doesn’t exist. A bus was starting to look okay, we didn’t have any issues with our bus to Siem Reap or within Vietnam, but buses can still be a little uncomfortable.

Waiting

Finally I found an option that really seemed to be our answer: AutoTurist. The company didn’t have that many reviews or much of a presence online, but I liked the basic premise. They operated transportation between Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Budapest, going each way. You would be picked up from anywhere in the city and they would take you to any address that you needed in one of the other cities.

Briana Waiting For The Bus
Kyle Waiting For The Bus

The price itself was $30 each, a little more expensive than the train, but far cheaper than a plane or taxi. And ultimately, I think it was well worth it for the convenience, not to mention we probably did save money in the long run since we could avoid taxis to the train stations. We were picked up at about 7:15 from our AirBNB in Belgrade and were loaded into the back of a minibus. Our driver then went and picked up a few other passengers from around the city and we went on our way to Budapest by about 8:00.

The drive was smooth and easy, although uncomfortable for Briana who had to use the bathroom the whole time. We made a short stop in Novi Sad to pick up / drop off someone, and made another pit stop just before we crossed over the border. Once we got to the border, we ran into the first hiccup – though we didn’t realize it at first. We all gathered our passports (about 8 of us) and then handed them to the driver who provided them to the customs agent. We had to wait in a queue of cars for nearly an hour. It seemed to be going fine though, but  the other passengers were getting alarmed as this had apparently never happened – then we, along with all the other cars were told to empty out and we were inspected.

Crossing The Danube

Annoyingly, we had to unzip our packs and show everything. The border officials were nice though, they didn’t seem to be particularly suspicious or anything, just doing their jobs. The process took about fifteen minutes to get through everything. The official was most interested in my ukulele for some reason, ensuring that it actually worked and that it wasn’t filled with anything. Afterwards, we got back in the minibus and proceeded on.

At that point, one of the passengers had become a bit more talkative and was telling us that this had never happened before. Usually, it was a simple process to drive across, but for some reason on that day the officials were checking everyone (not just our car). They must have been looking for something or someone. He was yet another digital nomad we have come across in our travels. While he was Serbian, he had lived a long time in Australia, worked in Dubai, and spoke excellent English. Our conversation lasted quite a while and died off shortly before getting into Budapest. During that time, he was acting as a translator between us, the bus driver and a few others. At the end, we also spoke to another woman as we drove through the city center.

The bus made a few stops in Budapest, starting with the airport, and finally we were dropped off last at our AirBNB door in District VII, ready to explore the city.

Upon Arrival

Budapest, Hungary

Monthly Roundup 20: October 2016

~B~

Summary:
Fishermans Bastion Summary

We are happy to say that we made it to Budapest! I had been looking forward to the idea of coming here for a long time and it lives up to expectations. We had a nice time finishing out our stay in Belgrade even though we found ourselves on an unconventional sleep schedule and were stressed out wondering if we were going to need to fly back to the US at the drop of a hat for a job for Kyle. I personally have decided to mostly forget the whole thing exists so I don’t have to think about it. Fall has made itself apparent in both locations and we are relishing it. We found ourselves to be very comfortable in Belgrade and we feel similar in Budapest. The biggest downside to Budapest so far is discovering the cost of many of the popular activities but as a whole, Budapest is obviously still well-priced for a European city. We are still getting used to not standing out anymore like we did in Asia. In Asia, on account of us not being Asian, it was obvious to locals that we weren’t from the area and probably didn’t know the language well. In Serbia and Hungary locals sometimes try to talk to us in their local language- whether it’s yelling at us at the supermarket for not putting away our groceries properly (this was in Budapest), or commenting something friendly to us on the street (also seems to occur more frequently in Budapest, but has happened in both places). We must look pretty comfortable though because in Serbia we even had tourists come up to us asking if we could we give them directions and in Hungary I watched as the ticket person at a museum gave directions to the people in front of us in English and proceeded to tell me instructions in Hungarian.

Where We’ve Been this Month:
Budapest-Where We've Been
20 days in Belgrade Serbia
11 days in Budapest, Hungary

Distance Traveled by Bus: 378km
Belgrade- distance traveled by

Highlights:
Leaves-Highlights
1. Final Outings in Belgrade. The first fun thing (October 1st) we did was go to the Ballet which was really neat. It was so grand-looking and the performance was also great. One cold, rainy evening we finally crossed the Sava in Belgrade and wandered around and saw an old concentration camp. We also visited a large cemetery, saw more street art, re-visited the fortress area, Saint Sava, and Saint Marks and went to a few other places. We also enjoyed doing some aimless exploring.
2. 3am Walks. Due to our schedules we went on several of these and even did entire activity outings in the middle of the night! My favorite was a visit to Zvezdara Park Forest (this was intentional, not aimless exploring as we tried to get here multiple times before succeeding). When we went on late-night walks in Belgrade we usually encountered a quiet city with a nice mist and streets almost entirely to ourselves. It was really quite pleasant to wander the quiet city and we actually felt quite safe.
3. OTC Birth Control. There only seem to be a couple countries which allow you to get birth control over the counter and we’ve happened to be in one each time I’ve needed to re-stock! That worked out well! I only got 3 packets even after 2 visits because we waited until the end to do this and the pharmacies weren’t well stocked but it’ll do for now. Now I am just going to take a second and compare this to the process of getting birth control in the U.S. I remember one of the times in Orlando I was trying to get more birth control I first called the doctor and looked at my busy schedule to figure out a time which worked for me which was open. Once at the appointment, I asked for birth control. No, sorry, you are due for a pap smear, I will not give it to you until you have a pap smear. Fine, schedule me for the thing. Then I ask for it again. No, sorry, we need to make sure your results are fine. Wait two weeks or whatever. You know what? It looks like it is not a perfect pap smear, you have to go to a gynecologist for further treatment and we still won’t give you birth control even though you’ve needed it for over a month. Now we are going to do an invasive procedure and never tell you the purpose or results and then we’ll think about giving you your birth control. Ok, now can I have it? Yes, but you can’t have that one. I don’t like that one so I won’t prescribe it to you. Annoying AF. Finally they do give me the prescription and I have to make time in my day to go to pharmacy and ask to get it filled, wait around, etc. Seriously, what are they doing during the 30 minutes that I have to sit and wait for them to hand over my prescription?? And I have to do the same thing every month because they won’t give me more than one at a time! Meanwhile in Korea and Serbia I just show up to the pharmacy and ask if I can have some and they *gasp* give it to me! I don’t even have to wait. And if I ask for more, they give me as much as they have! Korea is all about efficiency which we really appreciated during out time there. I was somewhat surprised that Serbia was progressive in this area but I appreciated it as well. If we’re going to talk about some of the reasons that I have read that doctors need to prescribe it- it’s like ‘they need to tell you about the side effects.’ No doctor has taken the time to tell me about any side effects and I don’t see why the pharmacy person can’t do that anyway.
4. Weather/Fall. We are loving the cool weather. We spent a good portion of the year in 100 degree temps and it’s nice to cool down a little and for fall to feel like fall. We thought we would have trouble adjusting but we are doing just fine with temperatures in the 30s-50s so long as it’s not too windy. Our heat works great here in Budapest so we get to feel super cozy. We are also enjoying watching the leaves change colors! It’s weird to think it was a year ago that we were doing the same thing in Korea!
5. Fairly Smooth Transition. I probably wouldn’t have put this under the highlights but Kyle requested it. After our last experience on a train and reading a few too many horror stories about the train ride from Belgrade to Budapest, we decided to look into other options. Buses travel faster than trains (because they stop so often) and this particular one was extra convenient because it picked us up near our Belgrade Airbnb and dropped us off at our Budapest one so we could avoid taxis and hauling our stuff around more. There was a long queue at the border which we were told was abnormal and we had to get out of the bus and have all of our things checked and I had to pee the majority of the time but other than that, it went well.
6. Our New Airbnb. I have to say, it is so worth it to have a place to ourselves and to be in the city center and that is what we have been able to do/have both in Belgrade and Budapest. We are currently staying in a loft in the Jewish Quarter and I am very pleased with it. We have a great bathroom with a shower/bath that actually plugs and reliably provides hot water! We really wanted to know what it was like to live in a loft and now we are learning what it’s like!
7. Outings in Budapest. We’ve had a fun time beginning to explore the city. Every outing could be its own highlight but then we wouldn’t have room for other highlights. We’ve been more places so far but I will only touch on where we went in October since this is the October roundup. We explored some of the Jewish quarter where we are staying including checking out a few synagogues and churches. We went to the House of Terror, visited Heroe’s Square and the City Park, saw Vajdahunyad Castle, went to Vorosmarty Square, climbed to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica, walked along the Danube and saw the Shoes on the Danube, visited the (outside of the) Parliament building, crossed the river and saw Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion, and Matthias Church, went to a cat cafe, walked down Andrassy a couple times, got a few desserts and a little bit of food out, and did a little bit of general wandering.
8. Groceries! I know, weird, but there are a few things to be excited about in this area. Aside from the 7/11s in the Korea, the only other time we had access to any sort of store 24/7 was in Bangkok. We have that again here, though. There are a few such places within walking distance of us and it is extremely convenient, especially for when we are keeping strange hours. In addition to the 24/7 stores, we are directly across the street from a big (though allegedly one of the smallest in the city) sort of farmer’s market with a great selection of produce and there are like 10 other little grocery type stores within walking distance of us. It’s kind of crazy because normally we are used to having to walk a mile just to get to one!
9. Food. As you will see in the budget section we tried out some local (though not necessarily all local) food. In Serbia we shared a giant delicious crepe, tried out lots of bakeries, and found a good Mexican place (we really appreciate a good Mexican place). In Budapest we enjoyed chimney cakes filled with ice cream and cake from one of the oldest bakeries in Budapest, among other things. Kyle has also begun to cook with sour cream and paprika, just like the locals (or so it appears based on what’s available and what the internet tells us).
10. The Buildings. I just love looking at all the buildings. This was true in Belgrade but it’s even moreso the case in Budapest. They are so beautiful and decorative and multi-colored. I could just wander around looking at buildings all day.
Honorary Mentions: My phone can connect to the internet in Budapest (it couldn’t connect in Belgrade for some reason), I enjoyed getting up early while it was our schedule (it’s still somewhat early but probably won’t be for long), and we had a little bit of rain in both places.

Lowlights:
Waiting-Lowlights

I can only manage to think of five this month. I could probably make it 6 or 7 by dividing aspects of the lowlights below into multiple lowlights but five is a nice number. I will also add an honorary mention which is that the top of one of our umbrellas blew away in the wind while I was holding it. The reason we couldn’t retrieve it was because it flew into busy traffic. While Kyle didn’t seem to agree, I thought it was funny and we had another so it was fine.
1. Weird Sleep Schedule. Not sure how it happened, but we ended up having a bedtime of about 4-6am. We just stayed up a bit later every night until it came to that. We both got rather bad insomnia at times. I think it was partially stress. While we are both night owls, but I’d say it was more Kyle pushing this schedule. It’s not that we didn’t try to fix it either. Sometimes we’d try to go to bed at midnight, only to lay in bed for a few hours wide awake before getting up. Then our bus ride to Budapest was early morning which meant we did not sleep and then I couldn’t really sleep when we arrived. Kyle and I ended up on slightly different sleep schedules. Kyle was sleeping extra and I was sleeping very little. For the first few days I was trying to get on a normal schedule and ended up trying to keep myself awake as long as possible before dropping and then only sleeping for like four hours before I was wide awake again. It was all strange and eventually I got to a bed time of about 5:30pm but now it’s more normal and we’ll probably push it to a late schedule again! *sigh* For me, it’s just that I always feel I haven’t accomplished as much as I hoped during the day so I need to stay up and do more. There’s also always issues like when I am not able to sleep in the night because I’m up with a headache. One night in Belgrade I think I had a reaction to a salad Kyle made me and was sick and throwing up during the night.
2. No Daytrips. I really wanted to make some day trips outside of Belgrade using buses or trains and even spent a good bit of time creating entire itineraries for multiple places but we didn’t end up going to any of them due to a mix of 1) our sleep schedule, 2) hesitancy to spend money, and 3) the whole job thing. I was particularly looking forward to the idea of going to Novi Sad or Vukovar. Novi Sad had previously been a consideration for a location to stop for a while in between Belgrade and Budapest.
3. Which brings me to: Not Knowing. I feel like we are always living in limbo and it’s a little frustrating. There is almost always something, usually multiple somethings that are in the air for us and we are just waiting for someone to get back to us about some potentially life-direction-altering thing. Right now it is the potential job for Kyle in California.
4. Apartment Scam. Kyle hasn’t even been offered the job and we aren’t even back in the US yet and yet we are already dealing with scams! We were researching housing in the bay area in anticipation of the job when it seemed like Kyle definitely had it (though we do still think he will get it) and encountered a somewhat elaborate scam. The person even sent us their ID to verify themselves as a real person. I informed them the real person their information was being used for these purposes but they already knew. I actually did tell Kyle it was a scam early on but he didn’t believe me.
5. Joint Pain. Doesn’t really bother me compared to my headaches and I have gotten joint pain occasionally since I was like 12 so it is nothing new but it seems to sometimes get worse, such as this month (maybe the cold?) It also seems to come and go rather quickly sometimes. Example: On our way out one time in Belgrade I really struggled to walk down the stairs because my knees ached so much but by the time we came back they were fine.

Firsts:
Umbrella Restaurant- Firsts

First time staying in a loft.
We don’t normally put ones on here that are more like ‘duh’ or ‘okay’ but I will add a couple anyway: first time in Hungary, first time in Budapest, first time eating at a restaurant with umbrellas above us, Kyle’s first bus ride in Europe (I used to live in Europe and would take the bus to school- lol! and I took others), first time meeting a fellow self-identifying digital nomad while in transit to a new country (literally discovered each others’ status at the border).

Budget:
Opera House for the Ballet- Budget

The total cost of October was $1131.51 which seems to be a little bit better (less), but fairly on par with our usual average spendings. We spent less than that this month of course because we purchased our accommodation in advance. Now, when renting for longer periods it seems Airbnb does not charge all at once so we did have a payment (about 1 weeks worth) taken out during this month but the majority of the payment was made in August. Now, for the breakdown:
Accommodation. As I said last month, our nightly cost in Belgrade came out to about $13.91/night. At 20 nights for October, this amounts to $278.20. In Budapest the cost was a little higher at $189.61 for the 11 nights we were here in October. The total cost of accommodation for the month comes out to $467.81. I spent a good bit of time finding what I determined to be the perfect place for us in each city and we have been happy with both. We did spend a tiny bit more than we wanted to in Budapest but the place is worth the price. The two primary reasons we chose to come to Budapest in late October rather than directly after Cyprus were 1) we could not find any housing which fell in our budget range for the initial time period and 2) the Christmas markets start earliest in Budapest (like out of all of Europe).
Food. Now I am a bit baffled that we managed to only spend $235.83 on groceries this month but everything seems to match up! The groceries in Serbia were cheap (and in Budapest as well), but the groceries have been cheap most places we’ve been! I think it may be partly because some of the things that typically really eat into our food budget if we buy them, like cheese, was pretty cheap in Serbia. We also may have been eating cheaper things at home. For example, we started every morning with toast and coffee. A big fresh loaf of bread there is less than a dollar. Also, my favorite thing to eat which I probably ate more days than not was spaghetti with butter and beli sir (the local cheese) which was quite an affordable dish to make there. The sweets were also pretty cheap. Maybe our sleep schedule somehow played into it all as well. I’d like to keep it down there if we can, though! We did spoil ourselves a tiny bit by eating out but obviously it worked out fine. We do have to try a few things out in each country as we need to experience a little local cuisine and there is no way we could get as much food per cost out back in the U.S. as we are able to in some other countries. We spent $30.31 on desserts out. This number includes 3 pieces of cake, 5 ice creams, 1 crepe, 7 pastries (from bakeries), and 2 coffees out. This doesn’t include the pastries we got at the grocery stores which have bakeries (this goes under groceries). We spent $59.78 on food out which includes dinner at a nice traditional Serbia restaurant, lunch at a Hungarian restaurant (and tips for both of these places), a pretzel for Kyle, 5 meat things out for Kyle (burger/chicken burger/sausage burger/whatever), 4 burritos plus 1 bag of chips, a large pizza, and over-priced Indian to go (Kyle did not listen to me when I said to not get it if it was pricey- I was too tired to go with him- but whatever). The total cost of food this month for both of us was $325.92.
Transportation. Our bus ride from Belgrade to Budapest cost $56.18 for both of us. We were able to minimize our transportation cost this month by 1) not having any big/major flights this month which was one of the (many) reasons we had chosen Belgrade as a destination to precede Budapest, 2) avoiding taking any taxis (which the bus made possible) 3) walking everywhere (made possible by choosing an Airbnb in a good location) and 4) not doing any day trips, even though I think they may have been worth it if we had.
Activities. We spent $9.25 on activities this month which includes the cost to climb up to the top of St. Stephen’s Basilica which we deemed ‘worth it’ and the cost of coffee at the Budapest cat cafe. I could have put the cat cafe cost under sweets out but I thought I’d put it under activities. Now, Budapest is a city where most things seem to cost money and many things are rather expensive (at least compared to what we’re used to and for people on a budget). We are currently trying to decide how we want to allot our activity spendings for the rest of our time here. We did manage to make it into one museum for free on a national holiday (to celebrate the 1956 revolution) but it’s unlikely we’ll be able to manage something of the sort with other activities. So far we’ve managed to see a fair bit (mostly the outsides of buildings) without spending much, though.
Regular. $210.28 for storage, car insurance (twice-again Kyle pays weird), Google Drive storage, Netflix, Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and Dropbox.
Miscellaneous. Kyle had to pay to use the toilet once, I got a few more months of birth control, we picked up a couple small souvenirs and some extra chocolate, and then there was a little bit of spendings recorded which we couldn’t place (no, it does not look like this was groceries, I’ll probably figure it out after I publish this article). The total was $44.33.
Fees. $17.74

Work/Productivity:
Kyle Working- Work
Kyle: Work this month for me was almost non-existent. Luckily, my large animation project I had been working on for months paid the final payment. I had no projects at the beginning of the month to work on and spent some of my time my working on personal projects, and scoping out possible living accommodations for if the California job came through. I know on the previous round-up I had said that I would know if I had got the job by now, but – I don’t. I’ve yet to receive any real feedback, other than that they were busy, various technical jargon stuff, and that they would get back to me; but they did like me apparently. So now, I’m still sitting here feeling a little anxious about whether this will go through or not, starting to feel like it won’t. Considering that I had an interview with them, they said they liked me, and they asked me to do a little extra after the interview, I would think they would get back to me to at least tell me yes or no – but today’s job market and hiring culture doesn’t seem to put much consideration to potential hires, so I won’t be surprised if I never hear back either. Towards the end of the month, I suddenly (partly due to Briana finding me jobs) managed to get a few projects on my plate and one of my old clients came back and has been keeping me busy. So coming into the new month, I should be kept busy which is good.
Briana:
I am going to change it to work/productivity because I already sort of generally address not only the work we did, but also things that interfered with productivity and simply the other things we were doing with our time. I put myself second because I usually have more to say.
Work:
A little into the month one person told me they don’t need anything else from me until after the holidays which is a little unfortunate but fine (it’s not my only work but it was the easiest).
I also had this flashcard reviewer for a few of my sets that was so extremely annoying to the point that I plan to avoid sets on that subject until it becomes necessary to take them. To make the cards I am to use lessons as guides but she thought that the lessons were all wrong so my cards were wrong. She was very nit-picky about things like the location of emphasis in pronunciation guides (again I am just following the lesson and would assume this would actually vary depending on where you are from so it seems a little over-the-top to me). Additionally, the first time I created my cards in a certain manner (I had done it before- just the first time she reviewed such a set) she praised it as creative and the second time I did it she told me to delete all the cards and find a better way. I mean I understand that there would be some differences between different reviewers, but this was the same reviewer. I don’t get paid by the hour, only by the set, so when I have to spend a lot of time fixing the set, that really sort of eats into my wage. I feel like I really deal with a lack of consistent feedback in general, though. Between this and being busy with other things, I didn’t get a ton of sets done.
Other than that things have been pretty status quo. Even though I get low pay, what I enjoy about all of my work is that I am always learning new things. I feel like I am getting paid to learn random subjects which allows me to look at it with a more positive perspective. One of the interesting subjects I learned more about this month was economics. I mean I took AP macro in high school but that was the last, and probably only time I learned anything about this subject aside from now. Creating the flashcards I am able to learn and review a little bit too. If you didn’t guess from what I said above, I was mostly doing Spanish language flashcards but now I’m moving onto other subjects.
By the end of the month I had resumed looking for jobs and advertising for Kyle. He didn’t look or advertise at all for something like a month and was doing so sparingly before and wasn’t getting any new work so, of course, it became necessary that I take over for him again. He simply doesn’t have the motivation to do it though he suddenly started to look a little more himself as well when I started helping him again. I also did something I do every few months which is review his work and internet profile. I discovered that all of his reels, resume, etc. all display an email to which he no longer has access. I also advised him on a few other matters.
Other things:
I would say I had as many as three full days which were basically useless due to me being immobilized by a headache and/or fatigue and sickness. Some of my headaches are very difficult to treat. In regards to the fatigue and nausea- I am usually just fine but I occasionally get hit with this extreme amount of both that I simply cannot do anything but lie down and it is truly a struggle just to get up to go to the bathroom or something along those lines. The next day I could be perfectly fine though so it is quite strange.
We have both been doing the blog but nowhere near as much as normal. I told Kyle I was no longer making the blog a priority some time ago but he wanted to develop it more. He hasn’t really been doing it, though. We are both still posting and will continue to post but we will probably continue to make less posts than we did previously. We are making posts which combine things which we normally would have separated into several different posts, though, such as the churches in Serbia post and the Paphos post. I doubt much else will actually change except that I plan to do some more general travel posts. I am using the blog as a way to learn a little more about social media, though. I have grown our twitter following to over 750 and am continuing to attempt to grow it more. I am also beginning to look into growing our Instagram following more as well. It’s currently around 170 followers. I am also learning to use Pinterest as a way to drive traffic to the blog. I occasionally advertise myself as willing to manage a company’s social media for an affordable price but haven’t gotten any takers yet. Perhaps when I have more to show for it.
Now, there were some other things taking up our time too and most of these were associated with the job for Kyle. One of these things was apartment hunting. They initially made it sound as if we would need to come over at the drop of the hat so we began looking at apartments, creating documents with price, location, features, availabilities etc., contacting some places and so on. Kyle was actually doing more of this but I spent some time checking things out as well. Well, eventually we didn’t hear back so after a while we just stopped.
The other big thing which was almost entirely me, was the making of plans. I looked at policies on changing flights, checked out flights back to the U.S. from Belgrade and Budapest, flights from other cities within a day’s train ride, and so on. Because we thought we’d be heading back to the US soon, I began planning a short trip up to Budapest since we really wanted to go and looking into Airbnbs for that time period. Obviously it was all unnecessary. Somewhat irrespective of the California plans I also made plans to other cities and did the regular activity outings planning.

Health and Fitness:
Walnut Ice Cream-Health and Fitness

Everything is pretty standard. Bad posture while working continues to be a problem for us. We are still doing a lot of walking and mostly cooking at home. Berries were affordable in Belgrade which was nice. I do always seem to fill myself with less healthy sugar too, though!

Media Consumed:
Our little place- Media consumed

Kyle continued reading The Illiad and finished reading The Assassin’s Village. We didn’t really consume much media in general, though. We listened to one podcast episode by Extra Pack of Peanuts and one on Budapest by someone else. We tried the show Haters Back Off but couldn’t quite manage to finish the first episode. I thought it could have potential but it just seemed a bit too over-the-top for us. I also watched a couple episodes of a show called Good Witch on Netflix (I like it, Kyle thinks it’s boring) while I packed for Budapest. I also, of course, watched the new Gilmore Girls trailer a couple times. We intended to watch lots of Halloween movies but somehow it didn’t happen! I did also download several free books onto the Kindle and hope to read at least one this coming month. I tried to download more but suddenly Amazon knew we were in a different country and didn’t want me to download anymore. Our VPN expired recently and we don’t currently have plans to renew it since we don’t know what we’re doing with our lives after next month.

Next Month:
Coffee and Pastry- Next Month

We will be spending all of November in Hungary. We are really excited to see the Christmas markets in Budapest. The first one begins November 11 and we have plans to get chimney cakes and mulled wine and stroll around and enjoy the holiday decorations. Hopefully we will get to see Jutid and Larry (family friends) sometime during the month. We also plan to explore the city more and possibly make a trip or two to areas just outside Budapest. We hope to know if Kyle has the job or not. We’ll see. We do kind of need to know so we can figure out what we’re doing with… the rest of our lives! We will be flying back back to the states (into Orlando) on December 1st, so just after the close of next month.