Leaving The Hustle And Bustle Behind

Studying in a big city like Budapest has been a big change for me. I take the metro to school and I have a city to explore during my free time in-between classes. I am used to a suburban campus where I am never more than a 15-minute walk away from something. Budapest is a large city with surprises around every corner. Sometimes the surprises can be overwhelming, but most of the time they are rewarding. This big city bustle can be overwhelming at times so I have taken day trips and one weekend trip to experience the smaller communities out side of the city.

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Our first trip was to Szentendre. This small historic and artistic town is 30 minutes outside of Budapest. The artists are drawn to the town’s architecture and natural beauty. There are a total of 9 churches and we also visited Europe’s smallest synagogue. We also visited a marzipan museum with sculptures that were made entirely out of marzipan. Another treat that comes with visiting towns outside Budapest is langos. This is a wonderful meal that consists of fried dough that is topped with sour cream, cheese, and garlic sauce. You can get this delicacy in Budapest, but it is just better when you are exploring different places.

Our next day trip was to Lake Balaton, which the Hungarians call the Hungarian sea. It was beautiful lake and the water was very blue. The sand was soft and the water was the perfect temperature. It was the ideal last taste of summer before fall brings winter. The town we were in seemed touristy, but the beach we were at looked like it housed locals and tourists alike. It was a great day with friends, langos, and swimming in the Hungarian sea.

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The next trip I took was one API planned to Transylvania in Romania. This trip was absolutely fantastic. Getting off the train in Cluj Napoca was a bit overwhelming after a hot 7 hour train ride, but the dinner at the bed and breakfast was amazing and it definitely made up for the train ride. The next day was spectacular because we hiked through an amazing gorge, which made me feel like I was back home in Portland, Oregon. After that, we toured the coolest salt mine. It had a Ferris wheel, a lake with rowboats and so much more. Then we drove to the town where we stayed for two nights. The backdrop to this town was a gorgeous mountain. The room that I stayed in had an incredible view.

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It was a great experience because we left everyday distractions behind – including WiFi. Our group got to know each other on a deeper level and we experienced the magic of the town’s beauty. We also hiked to a castle that had one of the best views that I have ever seen. This trip was one of the most memorable trips that I have ever taken and it is a place that I want to see again.

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Exploring the city in which I am studying abroad has given me many different experiences, but getting to go explore other places outside of the busy city has been a treat. I get to step back and appreciate where I choose to study abroad.

Gracie Finlayson is a student at Hofstra University and an official API Blogger. Gracie is studying abroad with API in Budapest, Hungary.

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