Monday, April 18, 2016

Part 2: 5 days in Budapest

Conference Name Tag
Budapest ended up being a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be.  For some reason, I thought Budapest was going to be dirty or scary, but it was actually really clean and nice!  I would have never gone to Budapest, and that "Miles from Budapest" song is rather correct; Budapest is like a "hidden treasure chest" because there weren't many tourists there.

Dessert from Speaker Dinner
Day Two was a lot better since the rain disappeared and the sun came out.  Today was also the first day of the Django Conference.  Brandon and I woke up earlier to go see the largest synagogue in Europe.  You can tour the synagogue, but since it was so early (8am), we just took some pictures and walked around.  We arrived at the conference at 10am and watched the opening keynote and enjoyed the talks.  The conference was great and had some great food.

Brandon and I enjoyed the Hungarian Ginger Ale; it was sooooo good! After the conference, I was invited to the Speaker Dinner that was at a restaurant called "Koleves."  It was nice seeing all of the speakers and getting some good food.  I tried the goulash and the other meals.  I also had rose wine with club soda to drink.  Once I was finished with that drink, I got the house lemonade which was amazing! It had the perfect ratio of sweet and sour.  The dessert was delicious; it was some kind of cottage cheese, cherries, and chocolate.  After the dinner, we went back to the hotel and crashed for the evening.

Outside picture of the Marketplace
Day Three was another jammed packed day of learning new things.  It was really warm this day which was nice.  Before the conference started, Brandon, Anna, and I walked around the Marketplace looking for cheap souvenirs.  The Marketplace was a 3 story building where the lowest level sold meat and fish and there was an Aldi, the middle level sold more food, and the top level sold arts and crafts.  We looked around for an hour, and I got some gifts for me and my family.  The conference was once again great.  Nevertheless, I was getting tired after lunch and had to get some fresh air.  My friend, Anna, who I met at PyTenneesee last year, and I walked around town.  We went to the Danube and walked to one of the bridges.  We then went to Vaci Street which is a pedestrian street that was filled with shops and restaurants.
Soul Food
We looked around, and I got a few souvenirs.  After a good hour, we went back to the conference to watch the lightening talks.  When the conference was over for the day, a bunch of us went to Soul Food, which was one of the local attendee's favorite places to eat.  Anna ordered an Uber to pick us up from the conference to take us to the other side of town to meet them.  The Uber driver was quiet, and we think he broke like 10 traffic laws.  The people in Budapest are ruthless when it comes to driving.  We arrived at the restaurant, and I got chicken strips, grilled corn, and a salad.  It wasn't authentic Hungarian food, but it was something that I have never tasted before.  I also got a lemonade, which was okay.  The lemonade at the speaker dinner was better. After dinner, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the conference after party which was held at a ruin pub called Extra.  One of the sponsors rented out the pub for the evening.  We all had drink vouchers which was good for beer, wine, lemonade, and soda.  At first, I got the beer.  It was okay, and then I got the lemonade, which was good, but not as good as the night before.  There were a lot of people socializing.  We played Rummy with a few people until almost midnight.  We then walked back to the hotel and crashed for the evening.

Conference Center
Vaci Street
Day Four was the final day for talks at the conference.  I was giving my talk at 12:30pm, right before lunch.  I stayed in my hotel room and practiced my talk and fixed some slides.  I walked to the conference center and gave my talk.  At first, I was nervous, but as soon as I started talking, I was fine.  I thought my presentation went well, and it was the largest group of people I ever spoke in front of.  I'm terrible at estimating, but Brandon thinks about 300 people were in the auditorium.  The talks were also live-streamed, so who knows how many people I spoke to.  After the conference, Brandon and I went back to the hotel and got ready to check out the spas.  It was something on my bucket list to do.  We walked over the thermal baths, and climbed Gellert Hill before the sun was going to set.  It was nice to see the city with that view.  After that, we went over to Rudas Spa and enjoyed the thermal baths for almost 3 hours!  They had baths that ranged from 10 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius.  I did the 42 degree bath then jumped into the 10 degree bath a few times.  It actually felt great. We decided to leave, and as we were walking out, we jumped in the outdoor bath which was on the roof of the spa.  It was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and the bath was close to 90.  It was nice seeing the whole city with the lights on. After a good half hour, we went back inside and dried off in the saunas.  We got back to the hotel around 10pm and began packing to leave Budapest.  There was still a lot to do and see in the city, but we were there for the conference.  I got a taste of Budapest and would love to visit again!
View from Gellert Hill

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