Saturday, our group of main campus students boarded the bus for Pécs (pronunciation similar to “page”), and yawned away the drive across Budapest. We skidded over the Danube River. I was considering how impossible it would be to leap from ice chunk to ice chunk, and my imaginary self’s dangerous game ended with slipping, tilting, and finally smashing into the water. I would be encased in ice within seconds. We drove through the Buda side and the city’s buildings drifted behind power plants, massive tubes, and smoke stacks. Finally, we watched the last few bilboards slide behind us.
Then the world went white.
We were thankful for the casing of heat provided by the bus. Everyone quickly discovered that a colorless world is highly unnerving. Power-lines draping across silver metal soldiers swooped above us every couple of miles, and sometimes shivering trees provided a bare definition to the starched fields.
Several people speculated the chances of our bus stalling, leaving us in a lost world, and there was mild excitment when our bus stopped unexpectedly. We watched our driver purchase wine from a road-side vender, a small motion on a tree-lined lane. Hungary is dominated by fields, ones which I saw back in high school swaying with feathery stalks. The view in winter was of a desolate land mixing with the swirling sky.
When we arrived in Pécs, we had an hour to ourselves, so BreAnna and I drifted down several streets, watching snowflakes drop upon the unfamiliar town. After returning to the hotel, we met up with our group to began the guided tour. We had tours on Saturday and Sunday which involved shifting from monuments to buildings. We visited the Cathedral of Peter and Paul, saw an old Christian burial site, strolled through a museum of Zsolnay porcelain, and gaped at humongous painting by Csontvary Kosztka Tivada. While we were able to see impressive artworks, and interesting ceramics, most of the time was spent attempting to complete our worksheets. The worksheets involved photos of places and art that we had to name, so most of our focus was upon running around and searching for the answers. I didn’t enjoy myself as much because I was overly concerned about finding the answers. We knew using the Internet was permissible, and ultimately most of the answers were found online. Our group mainly wound up cold and interested solely in returning to the hotel.
There were a few bright points of the trip:
- Saturday Night’s Dinner was delicious, and I’ve decided to have a separate blog post for its description.
- On our second day, following our “educational” itinerary, we were given an hour and a half for lunch. A mounting tension of anticipation had been forming over the past few minutes as several of our group had found entertainment in launching a snowball or two. Immediately upon our release, snowballs went flying. I thoroughly enjoyed getting revenge on BreAnna for encouraging Jade to pummel me with snowballs earlier that week.
- Following the snowball fight, the majority of girls in our group decided gelatos sounded good for lunch. We trooped down the street that our hotel had been located upon and turned into a gelato place. I had a wonderful combination of strawberry and chocolate gelatos. Then, we sat, chatted, and kept warm for most of the remaining time. Right before our appointed meeting time, we grabbed pizzas for actual sustenance for the bus ride. I got a wonderful pesto and spinach pizza.
Sunday, after eating gelatos and buying our pizzas for the bus, we shuffled down hill to our meeting point for boarding the bus. We arrived a few minutes early, greeted our professors and stamped into a huddled circle to wait. The meeting time was 12:50, so as 12:55 ticked by with no sign of the guys of our group, we were really annoyed . Not only was it snowing and freezing, but standing around in the cold watching our pizzas freeze was far from entertaining. Even our professors were annoyed, and they attempted to contact the guys to light a fire under their behinds. I think the winter wind and snow doused the fire.
When the guys finally reached our group over 10 minutes late, they learned that the meeting time was not 1:00pm. They stood discussing how they’d heard 1, not 10 till 1, barely showing any remorse. Our professor requested an apology for the frozen half of the group and we received a few mumbled sorry’s. The instant our professor turned, a barrage of complaints erupted from the guys including, “Why did we have to apologize? It was only 10 minutes.” “I’m not sorry.” “10 minutes, it’s not like it was 30 minutes.” One of the girls told them they’d caused our pizzas to ice over, and some guy’s response was, “Well you should have come with us, we went to a great place, it was like Texas Roadhouse.” I was pissed at the lack of consideration. I can understand the misunderstanding, but to be entirely unremorseful, and then to tell us their experience was better? NO! We had a fine time getting gelatos and chatting, and if we’d been with the guys then everyone would have been late, making the professors stand alone in the cold. They’d have been standing there, feeling lost in white.