After a weekend in Budapest, it was time for me to race off to meet the girls (or Sakiai Women’s group to be exact) in Budapest for a week conference. The Sakiai Women’s group are a bunch of extremely talented, energetic, and wonderful ladies who live in Sakiai. Over the past year, they’ve invited me to events as a friend of their group. So, when I was invited to Budapest, I couldn’t say no! The women were going to Budapest to participate in a “You Can Do It” international women in business conference. The purpose of this conference was to connect women from different EU countries who have an interest in making and selling hand crafts to increase the economy in their villages. More about this conference to come…But first, I want to start from the beginning….
SO….Copenhagen (although a beautiful and fun city) had me a bit flustered. I was happy to get away and have some free time on my own. The women were in meetings, and because I didn’t want to burst in and interrupt them, I decided to take my time getting in from the airport and settling in. I would meet them for their evening activities.
Regardless of how much pre-planning I do beforehand, whenever I arrive in a new city, their is an inner checklist that I take care of immediately upon landing. Step 1: Make sure I have money. Now, I know that it’s a rip off to get money at the airport but sometimes you don’t have a choice. There aren’t too many Hungarian forint floating around Lithuania. So, I found an ATM and took out as much as I would need to get to my hotel (Seeing as 1 Hungarian forint = 0.004314 U.S. dollars, I had to take out A LOT of forint). Step 2: figure out how to get to the hotel. I had planned on taking the metro from the airport. But, it turns out my hotel’s instructions for how to navigate the metro didn’t include several stops on the bus and a long walk around the city. I could have done it. But, honestly, I was lazy. And I found an airport shuttle that would cost only about $10 to take me straight to the hotel. So, I hopped in the shuttle with a charming couple from the UK and was shuttled to my hotel. Step 3: Check in and get my bearings (by wandering!). After dropping my stuff, I grabbed a map from the receptionist and some general suggestions of where to go, and headed off towards the Chain Bridge in Budapest.
This afternoon was just my afternoon for wandering (which we’ve already determined is one of my favorite travel activities). When you get to wander, you really get a taste of the city (except when wandering brought me to a Greek restaurant for lunch…I didn’t get a taste of Hungarian food then. But my Greek cuisine was fabulous!) After lunch, I walked up to the Cave Church and to the base of the Citadel, then turned around to see what I’d find the other way. I didn’t realize how far down the other things where, so after passing Ráday Street, I just saw “city” before I had to turn around and come back to the hotel to meet the ladies. (On my last day, I took a bus tour and realized that just before I had turned around I was like 2 blocks away from the Sleeping Beauty Castle…oh man!!!) I still was able to see some beautiful stuff and was able to people watch galore. I returned to my hotel just before the sky opened up (the rain had followed me to Budapest!) and freshen up to meet the women’s group. Our evening activities took up to Buda for a night of Hungarian cuisine and music and a stroll through the city at night.