Thursday, October 24, 2013

Missing Budapest

Today, my first stop in Pecs (pronounced Paich) was the Ottoman mosque that's been around for several hundred centuries. I've never been inside a mosque, so I was pretty excited.

Then I walked inside. The most prominent decoration on the wall was Jesus on the cross.

Now, I'm no religious historian, but I don't think the Muslims would put a crucifix in their church. I went back to my map. Even with my special map-reading skills, there was no possible way I was in the wrong place.

I eventually found an explanatory note that told clueless visitors that while the Turks initially built the mosque, when the Ottoman Empire was beaten it became a Catholic church, which is what I was standing in today. This is why you pay attention to your guidebook.

Pecs is small in the American touristy sense -- that is to say, you can walk to most of the sights and if I told somebody where I was, I'd have to include a country for it to make sense. It's not really small. Besides the mosque turned church and St. Peter and Paul Cathedral on the other side of the city center, I went to some ruins, up a hill for a good view of the city and just kind of wandered around. Pecs used to be a walled city and a lot of the wall is still standing. I also totally saw the LDS missionaries in the main square. I debated stopping to talk but didn't. If they'd been alone I might have.

And I tried to spend money. I arrived here with 10,000 Hungarian forints. I'm leaving Hungary tomorrow, and that money will do me no good. Fortunately, that's only $47, so between dinner, the hostel, a couple of souvenirs and chocolate cake, I cleaned out my wallet. Tomorrow I move to the Czech Koruna.

Tomorrow I also have 12 hours on a train. It's the result of some reasonable planning and some not great planning. However, it is a reality, so there's no getting around it. I have a bunch of podcasts, I have a new book and I'm going to get some paper and hand write cover letters for jobs to apply to when I get back to real life.

And tomorrow marks the end of people commenting on my Hungarian name! That makes me a little sad. I love that every single person to whom I've told my last name has asked about my Hungarian ancestry. I much prefer that to what I'm used to hearing: "Heidi ..... Tooth?"

St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

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