After real toilets and little noise= a good nights sleep, we were ready to head to slovakia...we headed towards the road that was to take us to Slovakia and found that the danube was in the way and the only way of getting across was a car ferry. But florint-less, I thought we would go to another nearby village where the map indicated a road across.
we arrived there to find, yup yet another car ferry...the danube is bloody big.
very cranky at this stage and promising all sorts of retribution on the heads of the map makers, we drove towards another crossing and then realised that the next nearest bridge was actually right back at the festival site back in the city. Oh I was not happy, I had been very pleased with myself that we had got to the border and made such good time,
so back into Budapest..back past the festival site, past the bridge that is currently closed, back onto the roads that we got lost on the day before...and yes we got lost again...and finally, eventually we managed to cross the river and head for the border...a round trip of a couple of hours perhaps to get back to the next border crossing.
then I realised that if we had only turned left instead of right out of the campsite, we would have seen the huge massive bridge to take us right across the river...
All in all the festival was a lot of fun, after 8 days we had enough of the noise and the chemical loos...they kept them as clean as possible and god knows that is not a job I ever want to do, but the smell.
We left obouda island and the festival and headed for the centre of budapest. It is a lovely city and we got lost as usual, but actually this time our getting lost brought us a lot closer to where we wanted to be. We found ourselves on the direct road to the thermal baths. I am a total thermal bath junkie, I would love a hot_tub in my garden, as wallowing for hours in hot water is my idea of heaven.
We managed to find ourselves driving up towards the avenue of heros. Architecture in Budapest tends towards the magnificient and impressive, rather than the small and cute. The avenue of heros (if I have remembered the name properly) is a huge square with very impressive statues of local heros, we squinted at them through the car windows, admired them as one is supposed to do, but hurried past as the baths were near.
For years in London, I religiously went to the turkish and russian baths, once a week, friday evenings from about 4.30 until 9,30 (I know!..what a social whirl)...were spend in a hedonistic round of heat, massage, scrub, steam, showers and general languishing...the bath house in London was a fairly small, utilitarian, victorian place, very nice, but nothing grand.
So when we got to the entrance of the Szechenyi baths, I thought it had to be a museum or something, I was expecting something like the York hall baths, I got this http://www.szechenyibath.com/ statues, mosaics, high celiings, knock your eye out gorgeousness. It cost all of about a fiver each to go in, there were about 12 pools of different temperatures and it looks to me like it is the favourite canoodling spot for Budapestians...or there was a severe shortage of sitting spots as there were a lot of women sitting on men's laps in the baths.
our favourite pool was the outside one, this is the one that you see in all the pictures, where you baste yourself gently in 36 degree water while playing chess...in this pool there were warm fountains, so you could hang about underneath getting pummeled by the water...bliss...oh my God total bliss
sadly we had to drag ourselves out of there and head to find somewhere to stay, we headed towards the border, to Esztergom where according to our maps we could cross into slovakia. We spent the last of our florints on the campsite and some food, ready to head homeward bound in the morning.
we managed to get very close to the front, and he was actually really good, he has such a distinctive voice and sings a lot in the counter tenor range that i wondered if he would be any good live, or if his 'sound' is mostly studio generated, but he was excellent, we had a blast. 30 seconds to mars were on after him, so we listened to a bit of them, but bubble gum pop to emo is not a good transition. So we decamped to the party tent and the 3D disco..where the ground was so beer soaked that I did a very non-elegant slide and fall onto my ass..almost wiping out a couple of innocent by-standers...you know me..the royal ballet are nevergoing to come knocking on my door when they are in search of natural grace.
after my skid along the floor I was filthy, so I had a midnight shower which was great as it was nicely cool and no queue, I finished my shower just in time to step outside into a veritable monsoon, a thunderstorm arrived from nowhere, I neen not have bothered with going as far as the shower tent...but walking scantily clad in the rain is always fun, naked is even better. but I didnt want to permanently scar the psyches of the already drug addled.
today was a monumental wait for an interesting arty installation type thing (I know not vague at all) all based on the tarot, it was a maze that you wandered around, meeting characters from the tarot. You would think after my recent history of getting lost I would know better and yes as you can imagine, I was in threre for ages.....but one thing I have discovered in all the getting lost is that eventually you find yourself back on the path, always.
on that metaphysical note I will depart...to get ready for iron maiden..now I wouldnt know a song (?) from them if it came up and slapped me, but if iron maiden was playing in the next field, you would go along to at least have a look, wouldnt you?
If something more fun that dancing in feet of foam exists, I want to try it..It was a blast, we were so foam soaked when we emerged that we went and had a shower in our clothes, saves on laundry
just a quickie today, off to go an get pole position for Mika, the one act I am really looking forward to. Yes I know I am just an old foamy h
I have never smoked, never had the urge to even try when I was at school. I have mostly only ever gone out with non-smokers and in general I think the smoking ban in ireland is a 'very good thing' but since I have been here I have updated that status to an 'extremely good thing' everyone....everyone smokes here and I am sorry to offend any of you smokers still out there..but it is vile. It stinks. I am not surprised that people smoke so much, mind you as it is so cheap, the cheap supermarkets have huge bins of cheap cigarettes at the tills.
I had almost forgotten how horrible it is to dance in a smoky room...until yesterday, we were in a huge tent. DJ shadow is huge (reputation rather than dimensionally) we were in the tent for about 10 minutes when there was that familiar air, nine tenths smoke and one tenth breathability. Plus there is all of that dodging of lit cigarettes while you are dancing.
Everyone smokes here..all of the time..and you come home reeking of second hand smoke, since i have ridiculously thick hair, its a perfect trap for all of those stray smoke molecules. I haven't been busy kissing anyone here, for quite a few reasons, but even if i had planned to spend my time snogging my way around the festival... kissing a smoker has all of the appeal of licking a dirty ashtray.
but on the upside..smokers are useful when you have just broken your last match and desperately need a light for the gas so you can have a cup of tea.
Ísmokers reading this will clearly believe by now I am insane...but if you are not convinced..here is the cherry on top..it was about a million degrees in the shade and I was drinking tea. Our packing- essentials included a tea caddy (lyons tea of course) tea pot, tea cosy and whistling kettle (in barbie pink)...
OK i am done ranting now..
wow they have some serious amps and speakers here, the Bass from an adjacent tent was so loud and penetrating..that it actually shook the supports of this one...lol or maybe I am getting old
Its definitely the journey, asall of the wise people in the world say, including my wonderful friend Derv, she sent me a text message wondering how the festival was going, and she said that she thöught that perhaps when its all said and done that it is the journey that will have been the best part. she is right...the festival is fun, but a little more mainstream and alcohol soaked than i had anticipated. The thing that I love most about festivals are the little wierd things that happen around the fringes, these are not so plentiful here, The big stuff is good, we saw Madness last night and the were good. queued to get into DJ shadow, nearly got smushed in the surge as the doors were opened. The specials are on tonight, then faithless, but tomorrow night is what we are really looking forward to Mika, (followed by 3ö seconds to mars) then the final night Billy talent (dont know their stuff at all, but wulf..I will be there!) muse and kasabian.
Interestingly this festival doesnt really kick off until about 2pm but goes on until about 9am, depending on where you want to party, Woodford (in oz, my favourite festival, starts at 6am and goes until about 3pm)the ones in the UK seem to split the difference. What it means for us though is that we hang around and read, fight over the hammock, stay in the shade...it is so hot here!...until the afternoon. I do feel like I should be jumping up and getting a bus into the city (cant move Rosita until after the festival) and going in to explore budapest, have thermal baths etc...but everytime that guilty tourist voice pipes up, I manage to ignore it. That is the trap with travelling, you do feel that you should see everything.
It all gives me a lot of thinking time, I was wondering today, how do you really see a countr, we have 'seen' a lot of places on this trip, but only skimmed the surface, but then on the other hand we havent done much of the touristy things, we have driven into the non touristy parts of the place, so have we 'seen' less or more, as all of the trips have been speedy ones. the language barrier is such a pain in the ass, I wanted so much to just sit and chat with so many people along the way, but am tounge_tied by simply not being able too.Or do you need to live somewhere to really 'see' a place.
How something looks, in terms of what a country and its people allows me to 'see', also makes me wonder about how we are seen and how we show ourselves to one another. I try hard to let people see who I am, i dont lie and honesty is important to me, I accept myself as I am, and yet I know that I am no different to anyone else, I edit the parts of myself that I judge to be likely to misunderstood or rejected by the other person. Is this a lack of honesty? or an acceptance that we are all multi_faceted, is it kindness to me or to the other person to challenge them with parts of myself that they might not like or understand? or do I simply protect myself from censure and judgement, because as sure as eggs are eggs, we all judge one another all of the time. No matter how much we wish we didnt.
Reading this blog and considering that I set off from ireland, daughter in tow, small van and a hazy itinerary, makes me sound all full of derring-do and capability. so is it less honest of me to write just about that side of me and ignore the part that wants to fall into strong arms and be taken care of, or is it simply that its too hard to cover everything. The map is not the territory and so the words can only ever be an approximation of the real thing.
as I said, festivals give you a lot of time to think...
normal service will be resumed in the next post.
the festival doesnt offically start until tomorrow, so the days are numbered -1 (cant find the counfounded comma on this keyboard) 0 and then it starts tomorrow at day one, but there is still a lot to see, there are concerts on the preliminary days, mind you its reggae and jazz today, so we settled instead for slinging the hammock in the trees and reading. We brought about 35 books with us on our trip and today my little moment of perfection was hammock, slice of watermelon, shade and a book. I hope your day had some perfection in it too.
there are some interesting ser vices at the festival, I am in a huge shady tent filled with computers for free internet access for festival goers. There is the local lynx shower gel promotion, that has scantily clad women soaping down any man who wanders past and fancies a public shower. Another thing about this part of the world, advertising is still back in the 60s as regards sexism. Personally I am all for equal opportunity sexism, so where were the showers with tanned gorgeous men to cool down (?) the women festivallians, sadly there wasnt one :(
The hungarian red cross are in attendance, they have their hands full with those who have been partying a little too hard, but they were also looking for blood donations, as I havent given blood in ages, (found the comma)...i thought I would volunteer. It seems that the lack of sat nav getting lost-ness, has infected me personally, I got lost on the way to the showers and then again on the way to give blood, after a long and very hot circituous route i found the tent, they wanted my passport to prove ID and then our irish medical insurance card. I showed my passport and explained that we dont have exactly such a thing as a universal medical insurance card, so they said that they couldnt take my blood...I am still not quite sure why, they said it was for security reasons..which was even more mind boggling, perhaps there are blood donating terrorists who scurry around the continent seeding blood banks with their unsecure blood....but c'est la vie, I have my full quota of blood and some poor hungarian person doesnt get to become partly irish...they will just have to settle for acquiring pints of irish liquid in some other way.
The food here at the festival is great, its all langos and gyros, both very yummy and shortly after I sign off here I am going in search of a gyros...a dish I plan to learn when I get home..it is that good. Langos are ridiculousy unhealthy, gorgeous things, a giant piece of fried dough (white flour and friend..nutritionists are already having a panic attack) you then top it with lashings of sour cream and cheese...oh and as a sop to health..dust it with a little garlic. I know it doesnt sound wonderful, but believe me if homer simpson had one of these he would swear off doughnugts forever
We were lucky in that we seemed to find the only campsite on the road to budapest. We have of course europe camping guides etc, but none of them feature bosnia, or hungary, we arrived late into a campsite lit with fairy lights, very pretty in a Grimms fairytale way, parked up and collapsed into bed, but not to sleep as we were about to undergo an huge thunderstorm, hai
lstones the size of marbles.,.yes I am probably exaggerating, but I wasnt going to to measure them, the thunder was deafning and then we realised I had left my shoes outside. I heroically leaned out to get them, getting soaked in a nano_second, I left an errant flipflop to fend for itself and found it 20m away next morning as there had been a flood all around our van...fortunately not too deep.
away early the next day for two nights of rest in a campsite in Erd, which is just outside Budapest, it was cool and cloudy, which was a nice break from the heat, we rested, shopped, cooked, read a lot and generally relaxed...
and this morning up bright and early to come to the festival. We only got lost 3 times on the way here, the festival security take their role very seriously, Rosita got a more thorough going over than at all of the borders put together, seriously these guys pulled everything out looking for cigarettes and alcohol. but finally camped and we have been wandering about. The festival site is huge!
400,000 festival goers, 13 main stages, and dozens of small ones, the national museums and galleries have a space for parts of their collection, film, theatre, mini circus about at thousand acts and a real wedding tent with a proper registrar in case!! That is one of the two things that strike me as a bad idea..lol..tattoo and piercing studio and a wedding tent, at a festival with dozens and dozens of beer tents and cocktails sold by the bucket..a two litre bucket of cocktail is about 5e...!!
there are loads of quirky things too, like tie dying , breadmaking and pole dancing workshops (not all done at once, I hasten to add) Today is a set up day, there is a concert later, today is offically day minus one of the festival. tomorrow is day 0 and there is a reggae concert, which is not my thing, so we might go into the city tomorrow and have our thermal baths...the festival will be in full swing on wednesday, so far Mika, Muse, Kasabian, Iron Maiden (just to say we have been there) Madness, Calvin Harris (DJ) are must-see's but there are so so many more. And internet access at the festival and our phones work again.
thanks for the comments on the posts btw, its a lovely slice of home.