Budapest to BosniaJuly 31 in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Final Day in Budapest:
We still had much to see. Sleep was as terrible as previous nights as the heat and humidity did not let up. The cure was a couple of double espressos and then stepping outside, the adrenaline of exploring the city kicked in again and we were ready to go.
Shoes on the Danube:
Thanks to the Global ERG’s “Ask me About” at the Summer Social, I had a conversation with Matt Feldman about our trip and upon hearing where we were headed, he told me “Shoes on the Danube” was something we needed to see. It’s a simple memorial on the bank of the Danube river where an estimated 20,000 people (mostly of Jewish heritage) were murdered by the nazis. The memorial is powerful in its simplicity as it features shoes of every type (men’s, women’s, children’s) facing the river in the place where they were shot and fell into the river.
Next we walked over to the “Terror Museum” which is the actual building where unspeakable acts of horror were committed first under nazi rule and then later under the communist regime. We learned very quickly that the happiness of being liberated from nazi rule quickly faded as life behind the Iron Curtain proved to be its own kind of terrible. For anyone that has gone to any of these types of historical places of great suffering, you know they make you sick just thinking about what took place and trying to wonder how people can do these things to other people. So sad.
Time to Decompress:
These were important things to see, but difficult and depressing, and left us in a heavy and somber mood. We needed to decompress and reflect so we headed to the Roman baths/thermal pools to chill out for a bit. To go in the mineral pool we needed to buy swim caps and looked pretty silly wearing them, but had some fun with it. We rounded out the night enjoying some traditional Hungarian folk dancing and music, drinking some wine and walking the streets at night one last time before heading out in the morning.
Boiled Carp Soup, Pigsteak and the Signs of a Recent War:
It was time to head out for Bosnia, but before setting out on our 8+ hour drive, we stopped by the main office of the organizers of these crazy adventure trips, The Travel Scientists, to say hi and see the office. Then we met our driver and it was off to Bosnia.
Once reaching southern Hungary, we heard the local dish to try is a paprika-spiced fish soup, with local fish from the Danube, so of course we would try some! On reading the attempt at an English translation of the menu, we came to learn that it was boiled carp soup. I wasn’t too excited to learn this, because carp was a fish we never considered eating. But I’m all about trying the hinge that are important to the cultures of the places I am visiting. Just in case, we wanted to order some backup food, so I ordered some other fried fish dish, the type of fish was Zander. Steve wanted to order the Gypsy Roast and it was explained to him jubilantly that this was pigsteak!! A funny literal translation of a type of pork chop. The carp soup came and we forced some down, I struggled with thinking that it was big chunks of cut up carp, but I’ve eaten worse things, and I’m sure I will again!
Back on the road through Croatia for a bit and into Bosnia. The landscape changed quickly in that we started seeing several destroyed and abandoned houses and our suspicions were confirmed that they belonged to people who fled or were killed during the Bosnian War of the 90s. We weren’t quite prepared to learn of how bad things were for the people living there during the war and the Siege of Sarajevo. More to come on that in the next post.Read more