The Budapest Weekend, or, How I was briefly penniless in Hungary

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit Budapest, Hungary, where Bates runs a short term class on Central European theater and film. The course description is : A study of Hungarian, Polish, and Czech theater and film, focusing on the impact on these arts of the social and political changes of the last fifty years, from the Polish and Hungarian uprisings of 1956 to the rebuilding of culture in the region following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in 1989. While in Budapest, students view films at the Hungarian National Film Archive and attend performances of central European theater at the International Contemporary Drama Festival and the Hungarian National Theater. Visits to theater and film centers in Prague are also included. Sounds kind of awesome right?

This kind of short term course is a great option for Batesies who don’t want to commit to an entire semester abroad. These students spend 5 weeks, instead of 5 months in a foreign country, but still get exposed to a new language and culture.

As a student who is interested and active in theater at Bates, though not the theater department, I had many friends who were on the program, including one of my favorite professors, Kati Vecsey. So, though it was an expensive plane ticket, I decided that my last weekend trip while abroad would be to visit Hungary. What a great weekend I picked: Kati was able to get me tickets to go along with the class to shows. Friday night we saw Otello at the Opera house, (which was sung in Italian and subtitled in Hungarian) and Saturday we saw an incredible production of Moliere’s Misanthrope (which was also in Hungarian, and I’d never read it, but it was amazing nevertheless).


Travis, Danya, Michelle and I during one of the THREE intermissions at the Opera


Michelle, me, and Danya outside of the Opera (with a few special guests making cameo appearences)


Michelle and me out to dinner after the opera. Budapest was similar to Zagreb in that there were many pedestrian streets filled with restaurants and terraces. YUMMY. I had gnocchi.


The mighty Hotel Budapest: their home and classroom for 5 weeks


Look it’s a castle! Okay, so right nearby here happens to be where Katy Perry shot the final sequence of her music video for “Firework.” True confessions? It was one of my favorite guilty pleasure jams last semester so I FREAKED OUT when I heard it was nearby. Bummer of the century: they were setting up for some weird wine tasting or something so it was all closed. At least I got to take a little peek…


There I am! Solo shot, as per usual, just for you guys. Beautiful view beside some ancient ruins near the castle.


Here Danya acts as proof of where we dined for lunch: on a boat docked on the Danube. So classy, albeit a bit windy.

So I spent a wonderful weekend visiting my friends in Budapest, seeing amazing productions, even had a dinner with Kati (dreams do come true!) ! However, here I will note something that happened while I was away that is a problem that befalls many world travelers, and it was bound to happen at some point: my debit card got cancelled.

Throughout my time in Budapest, I’d been attempting to take money out from ATMs with no luck. I assumed at first it was a problem with the legitimacy of the ATMs, but soon realized something was wrong. So I called the bank (using google voice, duh) and found out that two weeks earlier, my card had been cancelled due to some fraud suspicions or something. Without notifying me. You’re probably thinking, wait, how did you not notice your card not working for 2 weeks? WELL, my parents were visiting me! I was being taken out to incredible meals! For the first time since coming to Paris I wasn’t obsessively counting pennies and taking out more money than I wanted to! So I didn’t notice…until I was penniless in Hungary. But, I was with friends. And they helped me out. And I made it home safely. And had 30 euros to my name for a while, but I called the bank every day and I now have a new card that works! Hooray! So, like I said, unfortunate but inevitable occurrence,  but I feel very lucky that it happened while I was surrounded by people who supported me.

Ok. Finals week in France. Harder than Bates, because the world keeps going on here. There’s PARIS things to do, like have a picnic in the park, or sit by the Seine. I don’t want to study for 4 exams or write my paper! But I must. So here I go…

T-Minus 2 weeks till the US. whew

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About nbrouder
I'm a senior at Bates College getting ready for thesis and the real world!

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