Beautiful and mean…

Well, relax you guys, this is not really about a chick, nothing like that… It’s actually about how I got back from Budapest all sore at it – mean, nasty city that was!

Here’s our story: Once upon a time, the Java team went on a trip to our friendly neighbouring country… What for, you ask? Team building, of course!

So, here we are, storming out of Cluj, off to a warm welcoming hotel with thermal water pools and way too tasty food – offensively delicious, I must say… (by the way, each meal was more or less a weight-gaining spree, so how on earth am I to get my figure back now, huh?)

Word goes it was an exceptionally bright and sunny day… Oh, wait a minute, this scene‘s cut from a different movie… Anyway, it was drizzling and we got accommodated near a quiet lake by the name of Tizsa.

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I did mention bright and sunny, OK?

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So far so good. We made it safe and sound to the reception desk and I remember a funny hap a year back. Word goes a Transylvanian down-to-earth couple go on a city-break to Budapest. Accommodation is cheap, away from the city hustle and bustle – ideal for low budget people like them. Morning comes and they are downstairs at the reception desk to ask about a bus to go downtown. But no one’s behind the counter. While they’re sticking their necks out across the counter in search for the hosts – thus resembling 2 Vienna swans – in come two young ladies, all tired and dusty from the road, bringing in a breath of Canada air. An impish look is all it takes for our heroes to agree and they quickly jump behind the counter greeting politely.

‘Hello, welcome… welcome to our hotel. Have you got a reservation?’

‘Yes, …’ and details pour out.

The guy pretends to check the books and calmly says, ‘Sorry, I’m afraid we don’t have any reservation under this name. Are you, ladies, sure you’ve booked accommodation in our hotel? We’re already fully booked tonight.’

‘What? But we’re exhausted, it’s been so hard to get here; how can you not have our reservation noted there? This can’t be happening, I made that reservation myself! Please, check again, this just can’t be!’

After a few horrific minutes, one of the hosts comes back and, mad to the bone, drives the couple away from the reception area. Happy end.

In the evening, our heroes go over to the girls and nicely apologize for their prank; finally, the Canadian girls admit the prank’s a good story to share with others back home.

And, I swear, these heroes have got nothing to do with us; we’re all high-minded, serious people here in iQuest. In fact, I don’t even know these guys; I simply heard this story from a friend .

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On Sunday we were off to explore the capital city. It’s wonderful and flourishing, bright, clean and civilized – a jewel that reveals itself every step of the way. The name of Budapest originally comes from ‘Buda’, Attila’s brother, and ‘Pesta’ which means furnace in the old language. In the up-the-hill Buda, you get the feeling that you’re in a completely different, much quieter city where people go about their business without leaving the impression of being in a hurry at all. But we were in a hurry as we needed to check monument photos, interviews and beer receipts off our to-do list . (Don’t ask for details, please.)

Pesta is cosmopolitan, lively, offering shopping streets and fashion boutiques while Buda has a different pace offering winding streets and imposing hills with bewildering views. We actually arrived right in the middle of the wine festival, quite a nice tradition.

We then quickly got to the Fisherman’s Bastion, an interesting building erected in 1902 situated close to the cathedral founded by Mathias Rex in the 15th century. The church is beautiful; it has colorful roof tiles creating a special effect in contrast with the grey rock walls. From the ramparts we admired the Danube and the incredible panoramic view while listening to tourists who spoke all sorts of languages. Across the Danube we could see Pest with its jewel-like buildings along the river embankment. The most impressive is the House of Parliament, an exceptional architectural gem.

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Then we were off to the Chain Bridge, a unique construction with tongue-less lions awaiting tourists on both its sides.

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We slowly crossed the bridge so we could admire Budapest’s wonders and take in the Danube’s pleasant air.

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One to-do item on our list was to take shots of the entire House of Parliament. List point checked off… but not by me. And that’s because my beloved, highly-treasured camera bailed out on me. There was no warning, not even an e-mail or text before it. It came out of the blue… Nothing, except one short ‘memory error’ message and two ‘can’t read this file’ warnings. Such cruel fate! Imagine being put down by this ruthless capital city! But I won’t forget it – for sure I won’t – and sweet revenge will come one day. I’ll be back!

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This is the tragic moment when I figured out I wouldn’t have a single picture to cherish when I got back home! So, all the pictures in this article have been ‘stolen’ from my nice colleagues (thank you Kerekes Jozsef, Gabi T., Bogdan A., Zoltan A.)

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We finally got to St. Stephen Basilica, the largest of all in Budapest and boasting the largest bell in Hungary. The basilica houses St. Stephen’s right hand in the reliquary – St. Stephen was the first Christian king and founder of Hungary.

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And I guess we can now go about our own business; that means drinking a certain number of beers somewhere on a terrace, but I am only too upset to keep all that stuff in mind .

On the next day we had a reeeeally nice activity to focus on; we got carton sheets and a plan, and we were to quickly build two boats, get them afloat and enter a challenging competition in terms of speed and endurance.

Gee, aren’t we lucky to have engineers in this world! Surprisingly, our small boats – resembling coffins more than boats – did a great job as the guys in my team won 2 challenges out of 3. Of course, I kept my fingers crossed while watching them from ashore and cheering hearteningly as they sank in the muddy, cold and particularly wet water.

As this next picture shows, the flowery and starry design is my own masterpiece. So, those of you in need to paint a boat don’t hesitate to contact me; I’ve got plenty of experience with boat painting now.

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Our colleagues who named their boat INUTILUS would surely have won an award for the most amusing name .

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And, of course, no party is ever complete without karaoke. And yes, we know, waking up neighbors at 2am with nightingale trills is one of the highest-ranked experiences ever! But we were also good at delighting hotel guests with our songs.

The first song was really inspiring. Having the entire team put to work, I bet it sounded somewhat like this:

Well now… some nitpickers, envious of our own unparalleled talent and bereft of evidence  – therefore, not worthy of being taken into account – say our song sounded somewhat more like this:

But participating is what matters after all, isn’t it?

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The jury was completely fair, impossible to bribe or influence.

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In the end jury members admitted we had all done a great job. This really gets me thinking it’s outrageous! We just can’t take it anymore, these guys must get some training on Cat Mime Competitions so they’ll be able to fairly rig judge a competition from now on. How’s it possible? Dish out congratulations to each and every participant and wind up with a congrats’ inflation whopper?!

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And last but not least, I admit my favorites were the 35 degrees Celsius thermal water pool  and the water bubble massage. I’d have slept right there if some mean old ladies hadn’t driven us away around 8pm to clean up the place and get us moving for the next horrible activity: dinner. So next, we were all terribly suffering while digging into croissants and cakes and pudding and pie and sponge cake and what not! Ouuuch, poor stomachs! Horror, I tell you!

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Any resemblance to actual individuals is purely coincidental; this text is pure fiction while the above images are mere fakes .

P.S. We’d like to thank the organisers (Claudia & Alin) who’ve taken great care of us and got us all back safe and sound !

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