We awoke from a good night’s rest following our 24 hour travel marathon capped off by a night in a Marriott bed. The three nights in Budapest were the only three nights we used Marriott points to stay in a Marriott hotel on sabbatical-it is great to experience the local hotels since we stay in Marriotts all the time at home. However, the Marriott came at a good time after 2 weeks of sleeping in different “beds” nearly every night, inconsistent access to electricity, hot water, poor/no wifi, and wondering if we could brush our teeth with the tap water. Brooke’s top secret Marriott Platinum Premier Elite status got us a nice junior suite upgrade, and we had executive lounge access, a great shower that felt like a sandblaster compared to some prior showers, quality wifi, and electricity the whole time! The view from our hotel room was great as well! Check it out below.
Using Marriott points at the strategic mid-point in sabbatical also allowed us to afford a great waterfront hotel later in the trip in Croatia, which we’re looking forward to. And they greeted us with champagne and cheese in our room. Very awesome.
To begin the day, we enjoyed breakfast in the executive lounge overlooking Budapest from the outside patio. Next up was laundry time-we had a bag of dirty clothing stuffed into a Ziploc compression bag that either needed a good cleaning, or to be burned because the bag contents stunk so badly (all the clothes from the Kilimanjaro hike and dusty safari that we needed for the second half of sabbatical). The compression bag was great to make the clothes compact, and to avoid cross contamination between the clean and filthy clothes in our backpacks. We packed my backpack full of dirty laundry, and found a landromat about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. The washing part was a great experience-the price to wash and dry three loads of laundry was 4,000 Hungarian Forint, which included the detergent and the landromat worker starting the washing machines for us. That price translates into about $15. The fun part came after the clothes were ready for the dryer. There were two styles of dryers available to dry our clothes, and I had to use one of each. The first dryer had 16 different settings each portrayed by a picture that made little sense:
After it took 2 hours to dry our clothes, I did a little Google searching and found that the pictures actually indeed translated into English words:
I found that I had used the Time Drying, Extra Quick Mixed, and the Iron Dry settings in that order to dry to get the clothes to dry faster (with no luck on the faster piece). I ended on the Iron Dry setting mostly because I like that Monopoly piece the picture mimicked, and the other settings weren’t getting the clothes dry any faster.
The other dryer, we did not get a picture of, but I reproduced a drawing of the dryer dial:
Let me explain first what you are seeing, and second how I found out it worked.
The “1” setting is at 12 o’clock.
The “lightbulb” setting is at 1 o’clock (pretty intuitive)
There are then two blank settings
The “2” setting is at 3 o’clock
The “3” setting immediately follows the “2” setting at 4 o’clock
There are then 3 more blank settings
The “4” setting is at 7 o’clock
There were then 5 more blank settings
So the dial was very intuitively laid out. Next how it worked:
First, I was looking for the fastest drying setting, and I figured that the 4 setting would be quickest. But what about the blank setting at 11 o’clock (would that be setting 5? Or 7?). Wouldn’t that be faster than 4? The answer is no. The blank settings don’t do anything even though the dial nicely allows you to stop at each one of them. So I went with the 4 setting, and after 10 minutes the machine stopped, and the clothing was still very wet. So couple more rounds of 4 at 10 minutes apiece, and I was convinced the washing machine was a lemon. Before the 4th round of the 4 setting, I scrolled between 3, 2, and 1. Here’s what I found out:
The numbers don’t equate to heat level at all, which was my previous belief
The 4 setting gives you 10 minutes of drying time
The 3 setting gives you 30 minutes of drying time
The 2 setting gives you an hour of drying time
The 1 setting gives you 2 hours of drying time
I can’t think of how one could make a piece of seemingly simple equipment anymore intuitive than that! So another hour on number 2, and our clothes were finally dry! Brooke was happily blogging during all of this. She also had a fear of these Hungarian washers and dryers and our confusion around them before we got to Budapest. She was right. (Ok, Brooke added that part in)
After returning our clean (and great smelling!) laundry to our hotel, we explored the tourist area around our hotel-lots of shopping and cafes. We then stopped at one of the top 10 bars in Budapest (according to our “Top 10 Budapest” book) Szimpla Kert, which was built in an old apartment complex and courtyard. “Ruined garden” bars are really popular there. Very cool place with lots of nooks to hang out, with an eclectic display of items throughout the place. We then headed to dinner at Karpatia, also a top 10 in our guidebook. We showed up around 7PM and there was only one other couple; apparently dinner doesn’t typically begin until later in Hungary. With our bellies full of Hungarian dishes, we took a long route back to our hotel, which allowed us to see more of the downtown area with shops and cafes, and ended with a stretch along the Danube River-a very pretty walk with all the city lights and bridges lit up.
Maybe tomorrow we will actually do something besides old married couple activities. But the laundry was very worth it.