Celebrating 21 in Budapest

Tags: Budapest,Study Abroad,wsa intern,budget travel,Caving

By McKalee Mooney WSA intern

    Out of all the places I’ve traveled thus far during my semester abroad, Budapest captured my heart. It also just so happened to be the beautiful, historic city that I was able to spend my 21st birthday in. Talk about a cool birthday present, right?? Sure, I didn’t get the typical American version of turning 21, but I got to explore Budapest with the whole WSA crew while making some great memories and meeting new friends from all over the world!

    Right when the clock struck midnight on October 8th, I had my first “legal” shot of tequila with a bunch of people I met from WSA and the hostel we were staying at. Side note: this was my first time staying in a hostel and it definitely did not disappoint; I had my fair share of interesting run-ins with other hostel-folk and met some amazing people. Okay, anyways… back to tequila… I kicked off 21 crawling through the pubs of Budapest with friendly strangers (just for some clarification: not literally crawling, but taking part in a pubcrawl) and clubbing the night away. When I woke up the next morning, we went caving in the hills of Buda. I’ve been caving before and it didn’t even compare to my experience here! Our guide (I’ll refer to him as Jeff because his name is escaping me) was insane- in the best way possible! He was so energetic and genuinely loved his job. The ease with which Jeff catapulted his body through the tiny cracks and holes between the rocks still astonishes me. How he isn’t existing as one giant bruise at this point is beyond me.


Meanwhile, the other people in my group and I are slowly, gingerly scooting ourselves through the rugged cave terrains. Not gonna lie, at one point, as I was shoving myself through a hole I had no right being in, I started to understand a true fear of small spaces. It was such a cool experience testing my own capabilities and gettin’ down and dirty in the dark, cold caves. Also a highlight of the experience was when everyone sang me happy birthday in complete darkness. Instead of the usual awkwardness that ensues as you sit waiting for the song to be over, it just made the whole caving experience even better and more memorable! Jeff also proceeded to sing the Lion King Song, “AHHH ZABENYAAAA!” at the top of his lungs as we all chorused in behind his echoes. Overall, 10/10 would recommend this whole experience. It was only one part of why I loved Budapest so much!

Let me finish off by saying that I got to top off my birthday festivities in the cool, unique ruin bars and clubs of Budapest with a group of new friends while I danced (and drank) the night away. If you’re unsure if you want to make it to Budapest during your travels, I’d say go for it, no questions asked! Budapest not only has a fun nightlife, but is also an incredibly beautiful and unique city! The extravagant architecture of all the buildings you can see and the historical knowledge you can gain are immense. You can stroll alongside the river and breathe in the fresh, crisp Hungarian air as you take in all of the beauty around you.

Book your Budapest Adventure today and use the code MOONEY to save €10


Lauren Wallender, Elon University

Happy Backpackers

I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there’s so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.

Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014

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