Each summer an entire class of Flinn Scholars engages in a group study-travel seminar. This year’s seminar, held in Hungary and western Romania, runs from late in May to mid-June. Here’s a day-by-day account.
Nick Synodis (’11)
As I write this, the musical stylings of the Dresch Dudás Mihály Quartett jazz up the confines of my comfy and cozy room at Hotel Medosz in Budapest, thanks to my stop earlier today at the Great Hall, where I picked up a metric megszentségteleníthetetlenségeskedéseitekért*-ton of souvenirs (including this CD) for myself and others. Today was a day of transition: Traveling from Romania to Hungary, converting from RON (Romanian New Lei) to Magnum Ice Cream (the official currency of Hungary), and transferring hours on a bus to hours upon hours of sleeping, eating Paprika-flavored Lay’s potato chips, and playing “Who’s Your Daddy?”.
That’s right, today we left Romania. Mixed feelings there. On one hand, Romanian currency looks fancy and Romanian restaurants serve copious amounts of delicious mushrooms and veggies for us vegetarians; on the other hand, everyone we met in Romania spoke Hungarian anyway (a side-effect of being in Transylvania, known to Hungarians as “East Hungary”), so it really wasn’t much of a change. Nevertheless, it still feels surreal** to only have 4 days left in Budapest. As we discussed in our reflection session on the bus ride home (featuring questions such as “What is your one traveler’s ‘bucket list’ item you need to fulfill before we return home?”, “What do you plan to do with your free time in Budapest?”, and “What was the biggest surprise of this trip?”), there simply are not enough hours left in the coming days to do everything we want to do, yet, somehow, we have done more in the last 19 days than any of us thought possible. Oh, and by the way, the “biggest surprise” of the trip goes to the van on the highway earlier today that attempted a U-turn (only to realize that the highway–surprise surprise–was split by a median) and was almost demolished by our bus.
Transitions aside, today was also a day of dirt cheap falafel, a day of picnicking on top of Gellért Hill, a day of Julia cutting her hand open with a multi-tool, and a day of late night*** shenanigans out on the town. And on that note, I bid ye “sziasztok,” as I just heard a nasty high note on the CD I’m listening to, and it made me a bit queasy (or maybe that’s just the falafel).
*Hungarian for “due to your continuous pretending to be indesecratable,” but feel free to use your favorite four-letter word to fill in the blank
**Hungarian for “kinda sad”
***Hungarian for “ending before 12:45 a.m.”