Those little fuckers gave me pink eye.
Ok, so I can't EXACTLY blame it on the Cave Bath children, but I'm still annoyed about yesterday. I should be more annoyed by the parents for letting their kids run around like animals, spreading their disease. Isn't there common decency and respect in this world anymore? Yo, random Russian mom, you want some OnGuard or Melaleuca oil for your child's dirty hands and shizz?!?!
I guess something like pink eye was bound to happen. I'm spending hours and hours of time in hot, wet areas with hundreds of different, sweating people.
And I guess it's not EXACTLY pink eye. I woke up with a crusty eye and the lid is swollen but the whites are not really that pink. So I'll forgive them ... For now.
Went to bed at 2:30 AM again. I think I need to accept that this is my circadian rhythm in Europe, and stop fighting it. I slept 9 hours, and woke up refreshed, so what's the big deal, anyways? I mean, I'd like to start the day earlier but I'm still getting as many hours of waking time as if I went to bed early and woke up early. SURRENDERING.
Showered, put on the same outfit from yesterday--I packed light remember?! And PS. don't tell my mom I wore the same outfit 2 days in a row. Ohhhh, the horror--and took the bus to the "Centrum" in search of a juice or smoothie. I seemed to have located a place through a Google search but when I arrived at said location, I only saw a giant Spar supermarket, kinda like Shop Rite or Super Fresh. Some Hungarian dude on the street got all up in my face about I have no idea what, so I ducked into the store to escape. Lo and behold, the juice place, called Nektar Lebar, was inside! It was like a mom and pop Jamba Juice except no one shouted at you, "Welcome to Jaaaaahhhmm-BAH!"
Got the Green Day--no idea what's in it cause the menu was in Hungarian but I think I saw her throw in some banana and spinach--drank it in 2 seconds, and felt incredibly energized. And it was $2.50.
It was a beautiful, sunny, WARM day, and I was psyched for the adventure: The Lillafured Forest Train!! Praying to Goddess this is more successful than the Cave Baths.
I've been trying reaaaaaally hard not to look like a tourist. I feel vulnerable since I'm flying solo. So, I get embarrassed and a little nervous when I get out at all the tourist spots. Like, is anyone tracking me? My Hungarian Airbnb host said she didn't want to frighten me but I'm worth a small fortune in Hungary. I'm not sure if that means ransom for kidnapping, or worse ... Needless to say, I've been extra cautious out here in the country.
I'm now feeling like a baller cause I've figured out the transpo system. It's actually extremely convenient. The bus dropped me off right in the center of town, the Spar/juice place was right there, and the tram to the forest train was also right there. I hop on that tram.
About 14 stops later, I arrive at LAEV, the Forest Train stop. At first, it's unclear where to swipe my tourist pass for a free ticket. There's a gaggle of folks smoking outside, and each of them seems to be wearing national park ranger-type clothing, and one guy is in full-on army gear. (And, he's cute.)
I walk in circles for a bit, looking casual and totally disinterested in getting on the forest train. Then, I see a couple open a door that was previously locked, so I run up behind them and walk in like I'm their daughter. Ticket counter!
I show the cashier my pass, and she lets out a disgruntled sigh. She starts saying something in Hungarian and her male workers buddies start cracking up. Pretty sure she's cursing me. Cursing increases, laughter crescendos. Welp, I'm pleased I could offer you all so much joy on this fine Spring day. She gives me the ticket, and I sheepishly slink away to board the train.
I slough off the shame the minute I step inside the train car. This is like every kid's dream--to travel in an old-timey Choo-Choo train!!!! I'm so titillated, I can barely contain myself. Smiles splay across my face for daaaaayyyys.
On the way to Lillafured, I notice a little girl and her grandma walking in the distance. As soon as the train approached, the girl stopped in her tracks, overwhelmingly in awe of the green machine locomoting towards her. There's nothing like witnessing (a quiet) child light up after seeing something magical. I TOLD YOU! Dreams comin true today. #friyay
We arrive in Lillafured. It is GORGEOUS. Like a land out of a fairytale. Perfectly sunny. Warm-ish. Castle-y.
I want to immediately start wandering around but I'm famished so I stroll up to the Hotel Palota, and I ask about food, immediately. The concierge tells me the restaurant is in the basement--interesting--and I take the elevator down to find it. I see a sequence of "Etterem" signs, and keep following them until I reach a giant wooden door. I peek through the glass, and it looks empty. NOOOO. Is it closed?! I check the handle, and it's not locked, so I push the door open, and a waitress is standing by the bar. No one else in sight. She confirms it is indeed open. Sweet Jesus, I have the place to myself. I guess Goddess is making up for the insanity of yesterday's Cave bath excursion.
I sit, chug some water with Lemon oil--I've typically had about 400 different liquids by now so I'm noticing how parched I am--and order one of the specials. Meat, again. Keep in mind, this is a city in which McDonalds pops up in a Google search as a vegan option. I'm not vegan anyways, though I adhere to a plant-based diet as much as possible, especially on this cleanse. And don't worry, I ordered salad and a plate of pickles to help with digestion of the meat stuffs.
The waitress disappears, and I start to hear quiet clinking in the kitchen. Dawns on me that the waitress is also the chef. Oh, WAIT! Nope, I hear another voice. There's two of them in there.
It's very pleasant in this restaurant. Music is playing, the kind that makes you feel transported to the land of Shakespeare. Intricate stained-glass windows, pews, crosses--hold up, is this a restaurant designed like a church?! COOL.
Food comes. I wasn't sure what to expect since it's a touristy location that makes its money from weddings, and usually the food at those places sucks. And I must say, it was all very delicious.
I ate and lingered for a few before setting out to explore the grounds. I need to repeat to you that it is THE MOST PERFECT DAY. Not a cloud in sight, not cold, not hot, quiet, serene ... PER.FECT.
There's really not much in the town except the Hotel Palota, but it doesn't freakin matter. It's all I need today. I take my time, weaving in and out of the nooks and crannies of the terraced gardens. I walk gingerly down to the Lake Hamori, and it is the epitome of serene. Green mountains, colorful kayaks, placid water, blooming trees. And the photo opp of the Hotel from the lake was just surreal. I couldn't get enough pics.
Have I mentioned there were no kids in sight at this place?!? Fuck the Cave baths, Lillafured is where it's at.
My timing on this trip has been impeccable. While in France, I wanted to go check out the Eiffel Tower on a particular day, and decided against it. The next day, a friend mentioned that I never would have gotten through due to the marathon. Then, I thought about going on the Forest Train yesterday, but something was telling me, no, go Friday. Well, yesterday's weather was a shitshow, and today was Heaven on Earth. Let's keep this up, Intuition.
Speaking of timing, I experienced such retrograde hilarity today. Now, a retrograde started on the morning of my birth, so I actually experience quite a bit of prosperity and synchronicity during retrogrades. However, I do still get caught up in having to repeat things endlessly. Before dusk, I walk up to the bus station to catch the bus, and realized I've missed it. Next bus is 37 minutes past the next hour. So I walk down the hill to the hotel and check emails. Roughly 45 minutes later, I run back up the hill realizing it's arriving in 7 minutes. I arrive, short of breath, and realize I read the schedule wrong--everything is in military time and I confused all the numbers--and there is no bus for an hour. I take this as a sign I'm meant to keep exploring. I walk back to the lake, and take some near-dusk pics. Damn, can I meet a Hungarian husband just so we have a reason to get married here?!?! Finally, it's time for the bus, and I'm finally right. Ah, retrograde, you tricky bastard, you.
Bus takes me to the city center, and I walk to a restaurant called Dulo that the handsome Hungarian Airbnb host recommended. It's cozy. And very LA. The only other people there are English-speaking. Plus, they are playing singer-songwriter cover songs of Madonna and the Beatles and that Dynamite song ("we gon rock this club, we gon go all night, we gon light it up...", that song). AAAAND, my waiter is extremely attentive and speaks great English. I feel at home.
At 10 PM, I'm ready to go home and take a hot bath. Yes, I knooooow, it's Friday and this used to be the time I'd be getting ready to go to a bar at midnight. Those days are long gone. I want to curl up with a book, and fall asleep at 2:30 AM as per usual. (What will I do for those next 4 1/2 hours that I could be sleeping? UMMM, yeahhh, you know, probs, I'll, I will, kinda, like, do, I mean, you know, uh, byeeeeeee.)
Oh, and I don't have pinkeye. My eye is totally fine now.