By Brad, Jamie and Dan (Guest Bloggers)
Saturday evening, we had a reservation at one of the most desired attractions in Budapest – a “puzzle dungeon” enigmatically titled “Claustrophelia.” We were unsure what to expect, except that we would be locked into a room and forced to solve various puzzles to escape. When we stepped into the room listed on our receipt, it immediately locked behind us and a clock began ticking. We proceeded through four rooms of puzzles, with each containing progressively more difficult challenges. Some would lead to keys that would unlock doors into the next rooms; other puzzles would provide us with tools that we could use to get keys or combinations for various locked trunks around the apartment. Eventually (and slightly after the allotted hour), we found the final key to free us from the dungeon – a feat that the attendant later told us was only accomplished by about 30 percent of participants. Yay us!
That led into Saturday night, which we had designated as our big night out in Budapest. Sometimes, people ask, or at least are impressed – or horrified – at our continuing club-going, as most of us press into our 30s. The answer to the “How do you keep doing this once you are old?” question is that it takes much more careful planning than when we were 21, gleaned from years of doing it in Chicago and Vegas. The five of us went down for a several-hour nap after our puzzle dungeon escape, packed our earplugs, were ensured by a club promoter that we would be in an area with plenty of elbow room, and wore only fancy enough clothes to minimally comply with the dress code (“elegant and cool” the website recommended).
The end result was all of us on a platform next to the DJ booth at Legit, a multi-roomed Vegas-esque affair complete with lights, go-go dancers, and bottle service. The outside, however, dispelled the illusion somewhat: the club was located in a relatively seedy city park, under a highway, which led to some fairly sketchy adventures getting to the place. But all was well, and we stayed out way too late as the DJ blasted hits (and new Hungarian favorites).
We will admit that we did fail to finish off one of the bottles of vodka that we had purchased. Jed, ever the philanthropist, handed the remainder to a Hungarian guy who, in return, gave Jed several pieces of bubblegum. Jed kindly informed the gentlemen that together, the two of them had “improved Hungarian-American relations” for years to come, to which the man promised to always provide Jed with gum, whenever he needed it, for the rest of his life. The rest of the night is a blur, with us getting separated, casinos and after-bars being involved, and most of us not getting into bed until after sunrise. Take that, 30s!
That bizarre image closes out the Warsaw Pact, our amazing experience joining a leg of the Wherever the Wind tour, and an incredible ten days that flew by. We’re happy to report that Jed and Caitlin are basically seasoned world travelers at this point, and it was great to see how well their trip is going first hand. If you can find a way to meet up with them – do! Thanks to Jed and Caitlin for an amazing trip, for refusing to let us slow them down, and for giving us the opportunity to hijack their blog. ‘Til next time!