Bedtime was 3:30 am, waking time was 10:30 am. I was on the verge of getting a little cold, but I feel better today, even though I didn't get quite enough sleep. Took 2 OnGuard Plus Softgels before bed, and that seems to have given me a boost. I'm glad I woke up early though because I am going to see another castle today! I need to get there by 12:30 before my tourist pass expires. So I quickly pack, get dressed, and head for the Centrum to get a smoothie before taking the tram to the castle.
Different smoothie this time. I realized the one from yesterday had no bananas at all, they were pineapple chunks. Today's smoothie did have bananas. How do I know this? I Google-translated the menu last night. Learning to plan in advance.
Tram takes forevs to show up, but I finally get on. This woman has her phone on speaker at an extremely high volume, and everyone is looking around at each other to register their mutual bewilderment and irritation.
Omg after thinking that no one ever checks the tram tickets, finally a guy came to check them!!! Holy shit, it scared the crap out of me. My pass expired 3 minutes earlier, and panic washed over me--do they arrest tourists for not buying their tickets before boarding and/or riding with an expired tourist pass? But, I rationalized internally, I HAD gotten on before it expired. If he seems mad, I'll start crying, or shouting, or I'll just run. He makes his way over to me, says something I don't understand, and I flash the pass. Shockingly, he seems satisfied and moves onto the next rider. My heart beats out of my chest for the next 5 minutes.
About 10 stops later, it's the Castle stop! I thought when I exited the tram, it would be clear where to go. It is not. I follow my instinct (and some other people), and start walking to the left. I also use my Apple map app to make sure my blue dot is going in the right direction. Seems like it!
My blue dot moves closer and closer to the the "Diosgyor Castle" icon, and suddenly I turn the corner to reach the entrance, and ...
I chose the wrong way around the Castle. Retrograde wins again.
At least I have 5 hours to kill before my train back to Budapest. I retrace my steps. Meanwhile I'm trudging around with a heavy bag, and I've had a 24 oz smoothie. Between my feet hitting the ground and the bag slapping against my kidneys, every step is like an earthquake in my bladder. Let's hope it doesn't chasm.
In roughly 100 steps, I discover that on my way around the wrong side of the Castle, I walked right past the pedestrian path to the entrance. Thank Goddess it was closer than I had imagined. I high tail it over to the toilette before cashing in my tourist pass for a free ticket.
At this point, my pass is expired, but I'm hopeful that they'll take pity on the late-tram and wrong-way-around-the-Castle sob story. They don't. I'm here and will likely never visit again, so I swallow my frustration and shell out the cash for a ticket.
It was pretty cool! Totally felt like I was gettin my Game of Thrones on. I wanted to climb up to the highest towers, but I couldn't figure out how to get there, and I started getting unbearably hungry, like, HANGRY, so I left after about a half an hour of exploring the grounds.
AND WTF IS THIS THING? TERRIFYING.
Trucked it back over to the tram, marveling at how there are all these regular houses and modern cars just casually chillin around the castle.
Ok, this one's not regular at least.
I debate whether to go straight to the train station, or stop off in the city center to get some lunch. I decide the latter is the better choice since my blood sugar is drastically crashing.
Initially, I had intentions of going for a fancy lunch at this place called Drot Bistro, but since I spent more money than I had intended to, I opt to manifest a quick and cheap lunch spot, and voila! Doner King. This has been the furthest I've diverged from my cleanse. I waited too long to eat, and started losing my mind, so this was definitely happening. After I order and receive the food, I hide myself in an outside corner and eat my plate of fries and garlic sauce like a rabid animal.
Honestly, in retrospect, I would only recommend the Miskolc Tourist Pass if you plan to hit it hard with visiting every major attraction offered through the pass. Otherwise, you're better off buying a la carte, especially since once your pass expires, you'll have to buy a la carte anyways. You're on a strict time-constraint--if you buy a 48-hour pass, once you activate it, it expires exactly 48 hours later--so if you end up with a late tram and then get lost on the way to the Castle and arrive 40 minutes after your pass expires like I did, you'll be annoyed and stressed. I ended up paying about 2000 forints more than if I I had just bought a 3-day transportation pass and paid for the Cave Bath, Lillafured Forest train and Diosgyor Castle separately. It's supposed to offer discounts at a number of restaurants but one of them didn't even honor my discount.
If I continue to be honest, Miskolc as a tourist destination is a stretch. If I were to do it again, I'd stay in Lillafured and not go into Miskolc at all. Or maybe go in to walk around the city center for 30 minutes and then have dinner at Dulo--that place was great, and I'd probably get sick of Hotel Palota's church restaurant food at some point, so variety would be ideal. This trip was worth it in that I can say I did it, I learned to live like a local in a short period of time, I visited a fairytale land, and I survived. NOW. Get me back to Budapest, pronto.
Problem is, it's only 3:00 pm and I booked a 6:30 pm train thinking I'd be all over the Cave Baths. I decide to go to hop on the tram and get to the train station early to see if they'll exchange my ticket, having no idea what the train schedule is ...
On the tram, I run into the guy who accosted me on the street the previous day. He gets up in my face AGAIN, and goes away when I respond in English. An older, posh Hungarian lady next to me shakes her head in disdain for him. Apparently, he is up to no good. He is with an equally sketchy friend, and they are both high as kites. It actually makes me really sad to see people like that. He must be suffering very deeply to be using drugs in the middle of the day on a beautiful weekend.
And RIGHT before I arrive at the station, another train cop asks to see my ticket. This time, my pass is legit expired. But I never could figure out where or how to buy tram tickets. So I show him my pass anyway, and he nods his head and moves on. I'm taking this as Spirit doing me a solid.
Turns out, I arrive FIVE MINUTES before the next train is scheduled to depart. The cashier doesn't speak English so I furiously gesture to her that I want to take the train right over there. She figures it out, I pay $0.30 to change the ticket, and then hop on 60 seconds before it pulls out of the station. What did I tell you?! Impeccable timing.
Oh, and I score a car to myself with a window seat.
Then the screaming begins.
I thought I was done with this! No more Cave baths, no more screaming!
What message is Spirit trying to send me?
I don't want to hear it right now.
I put in ear plugs.
Eventually the screaming dies down, and I settle into reading my book, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Here's one of my favorite passages (first paragraph, excuse the blur):
Train chugs into the station at 5:30, and I cannot get home fast enough. I had lofty plans of going to the baths, but I am exhausted, and decide to go home and pass out early. No, really this time.
I cannot tell you how happy I am to see this view.
I posted early today so that I could go to bed early. I'm probably gonna take tomorrow off from blogging so I'll pour my heart out to you again on Monday!