Random Days are the Best...
I generally enjoy my lifestyle as a volunteer here in Budapest, but sometimes I just love it. This winter I have been a bit disappointed by the snowfall in BP, as it never lasted more than a day and was never deeper than ¼ inch (no doubt because I live downtown with lots of hot car exhaust, etc). Last Saturday I went up to one of the parks in the Buda hills, called Normafa, with a Hungarian friend, Eszter, to walk around, and the snow was MUCH deeper there (8-10 inches). I thought about sledding, but did not have a sled. We had the idea of taking thick plastic bags to sled on, but forgot those.
When we arrived in Normafa, the park was full and festive, parents pulling children along on wooden toboggans, young people standing in clusters drinking hot wine and eating turo retes (a pastry with cheese in it), and many many children, adults, teenagers sledding down the hills on everything from small plastic discs to skis and snowboards. I went to practice my Hungarian and asked someone in a group where they purchased their discs; I really wanted to go sledding but did not want to buy a sled (and at least those round discs looked cheap). One man told us that he got his at Tesco, and Eszter and I were discussing whether or not we thought it was worth it to leave and purchase one (neither of us wanted to spend the money or make the trip). This man must have overheard our conversation and later offered to let us use a broken plastic sled that he had.
I proceeded to take the sled and immediately sledded down the slope right in front of us. It was perhaps the steepest slope there and I was soon rolling around to stop and covered in snow head to foot. It was brilliant. And then they let us keep the sled! J
So, Eszter and I now had a broken sled! We spent the rest of the day sledding down the slopes of Normafa. It was absolutely amazing, from this hill, or “little Hungarian mountain”, you have a view of Budapest throughout the entire slope, and you are also surrounded by other hills, trees, fresh unpolluted air, etc. And the slope was amazing; hill after hill after hill (along with the obstacles of other sledders along the way J). As soon as you reached what appeared to be the edge of one slope, you could then continue and go down the next. We had a lot of fun with this broken plastic sled.
And then, as we were walking back up (and up and up J), we found a think plastic shopping bag someone had left behind and proceeded to see if we could sled with it. It was even better than the sled (less painful on the tailbone). Wet, tired, and elated, we went to the grocery store to get supplies to make spinat fűzelík (a Hungarian spinach crème soup) and to buy some thick plastic bags. The look on the cashier’s face as Eszter was checking the texture of the bag (for smoothness and thickness) was priceless. We were planning to go sledding again the next day, Sunday, already. J
We spent Sunday afternoon and evening sledding around on shopping bags with more friends, and watched the sunset and the lights come on in BP, etc. Many kids had headlamps to continue sledding after dark. I am hoping the snow won’t melt before next Saturday…
…Another random funny note: When I went to the store to buy batteries for my camera to photograph our sledding adventure, I accidentally asked for “a life” instead (I said élet instead of elem). J