Sopron is almost on the Austrian border, in the far NW of Hungary. So, it was like being in Austria…speaking German and all, except for the Hungarian prices.
We travelled Friday, leaving right after school, and arriving in Tata, NW of Budapest. Another teacher, Kathryn, from Szeged, met up with us and we all stayed at Wendy’s in Tata. I again showed off my spatial skills as I guided us the 1.2 miles in the dark from train station to Wendy’s… having only been there once, over a month ago…without a map! OK, enough bragging.
On Saturday, we took the train to Sopron. We haven’t quite figured out the whole system with some trains having direct cars, while others get diverted…. This is the situation first explained in my “Kesthely” blog entry. It looked like it was going to be the same thing, but crisis was averted because the train segment required seat reservations. Obviously, they put us in the car that was going where we wanted to go. It turns out this train actually had two names (IC #904 and IC #912, I think). At a spot called Csorna, our train separated and we continued onto Sopron. My first impression of this city (as we approached the outskirts) was that many houses looked American-sized. My second thought (upon exiting the train) was that Austria must have paid for the train station. Fresh paint, free WI-FI, restaurant, clean, new… aah!
With Lonely Planet book in hand, and camera around the neck, we headed toward the main area. After a quick pop into a lighting store (we thought it had Christmas decorations), we got excited about getting coffee. Our guide book mentioned a coffee/tea shop and it was recommended. It was nearby, so we spent a little while in there chatting, drinking cappuccinos, and enjoying the atmosphere. It was called Liszt Salon, and the decorations were devoted to Franz Liszt (Liszt Ferenc, in Hungarian). Oh, I forgot to mention that another teacher, from a city nearer to Sopron met us for this excursion.
The other highlights of our few hours there involved getting my first Forralt Bor (hot, mulled wine) from a stand in the small town square and visiting the grounds of an old church, including the enormous cemetery. The gravesites still had a beautiful selection of flowers, probably from back on November 1. I am now looking forward to ordering Forralt Bor here. I know all of the drink shops and cafes have it, but I would prefer it to go. Students have told me it should be on our walking street soon, but then again, the ice cream stand is still up and running. And it has been below freezing here for several days.
I ordered two different pizzas this weekend: one with ham, pineapple, cherries, and some other fruits. The second had….ok I don’t remember, but they were both really tasty. This morning we wandered over to Tata’s big lake and the adjacent castle/hunting lodge ruins. Then we caught the 10:30 train, arriving back around 3:00pm. On the train we watched Unstoppable (Denzel Washington) on my computer so time went quickly. I like that movie.
This evening, We Skype-chatted with my family and we have been following along with today’s round of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament. In fact, I watched part of the North Carolina game while I made dinner. Now, I just need Stanford to lose. *crossing fingers*
Upcoming: We will be heading to a Thanksgiving meal next Saturday at 1pm, here in town. On Sunday, we are going to Budapest. We desperately need some store variety…. besides Tesco. Our main stop is IKEA, but we’ll probably go there last. We also plan to visit the big, famous Christmas Market, and maybe see a couple downtown sights like the Terror House, or one of the famous coffee shops. We really have not “experienced” Budapest; we have just sort of wandered around a couple times.
Also, the Christmas decorations are up in Kaposvar, but they aren’t lit yet. I think that happens next weekend. I believe it coordinates with Advent though I’m not Catholic so I don’t really know the details.
That’s all for now, you’ll hear from me again soon!