Budapest, day 2: Good Games, Good Company

Spring mornings in Budapest are gloriously beautiful; not quite so when my friend Siranush is left without her cup of coffee. To eliminate the danger of unleashing the beast within her, we had to go… to a bookshop.

At first we couldn’t figure out where Foursquare brought us, seeing only a mall in front of us; once we entered, we couldn’t find the coffee place on the mall’s map and had to enquire at the info desk. And that’s how we discovered a tiny coffee corner with beans from all over the world, hidden on the second floor of a huge bookshop. I ordered cappuccino, just like Siranush, and thought that I was getting her bad habits. Although… The coffee in Budapest was really good.
We walked all the way from where we stayed in Buda across the bridge to the Pest side. Popped into the huge Central Hall market, a crafts-food-souvenirs place. We investigated each corner, but held ourselves from buying anything. It wasn’t the time. I love markets of all kinds, so for me the entertainment itself was walking through the stalls, comparing prices and discovering the assortment. Hungary, it seemed, was famous for its embroidery, spicy red peppers and wood carvings.
The further plan was to join a free walking tour Siranush discovered on the internet, yet the directions weren’t exactly clear. We spent a while trying to find the right spot on the square, and when we finally did after a short run from the sudden rain, there was no sign of a tour. We walked a bit forward and saw a bunch of guys with their booklets. They suggested running to the river bank and seeing if we could catch up with the tour, so we hurried on. But we couldn’t find them.
We ended up just chatting helplessly. Turned out the guys were Americans teaching in some god-forgotten city in Spain who ran away for a vacation. While we were talking the rest of their group vanished, so we just spontaneously stuck together and decided to go for a walk. Me and Siranush were already experts in the area… Just kidding, I was the expert. She wanted coffee.
We walked up the Castle Hill and had a lot of fun listening to my offline audio guide that I suddenly remembered about. We took pictures (lots of them), talked about stuff, gazed around – the views were breathtaking – had a meal, and enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. We even made it to that long island which was swarming with sportsmen and sportswomen of all kinds. Mostly we saw impressive groups of runners. Boy was that island long!
Totally exhausted, we got back to the Pest shore and landed at the nearest Thai place. Me and Siranush were running out of time – it was almost 9 pm, we had that Claustrophilia thing booked and Daniel confirmed that he’d join. I never was quite so in love with Budapest transport as when we hopped on a neat modern tram that carried us to our destination in a blink of an eye (and for free, yet again).
We walked into the right door and found the entrance to the game inside of the house. The door closed behind us and won’t open. Daniel was already there, we were on time, and we suddenly realized we were already in the game. The goal was to find the key to get out. We were standing in a tiny hall of some apartment – at least two rooms. We had one hour and no idea what to do…
To make the long (and funny) story short, we outsmarted ourselves. For example, I’m really good at finding things and noticing the small details, so I’ve turned every room we were getting in upside down (carefully though). So in the first room I found the right key in the very beginning and we just wasted time solving a big puzzle that was supposed to lead us to that key. I mean, it’s a hidden object + puzzle game, give your players some credit!
But the most hilarious moment was when we found out that we had the key from the entrance door right from the start. We spent so much time fighting with keys and locks and magnets and secret codes that when we finally got the last key we couldn’t tell where to use it. It was too small for the front door. At last our moderator – a voice from nowhere – took pity on us and told us it was from a certain key tied to a certain lock. The awkward moment was that at the start the key was chained to the bolt on the wall, and you were supposed to open the lock to take it off… Yet Daniel just tore the bolt out of the wall, as it showed almost no resistance! And that’s why we never thought that was THE key… Oh well. We laughed so much because in the end we were five minutes late, and felt enormously stupid. But we didn’t care.
Afterwards Daniel took us to some bar that held an improv concert. We saw it wasn’t the best decision when we started passing out right at the table, exhausted from all the walking and talking and overloaded with fresh air. Yet even after we got home we kept talking until Daniel got a message from his brother next door politely asking us to shut the hell up. Which we did. Eventually.

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