Don’t drink the water.

Central Europe is flooding.

IMG_2280A few days ago, I got a message from my sister asking if we were having any flooding near our place. Puzzled, I responded, “Should we be?” She replied that there was major flooding in Prague and parts of Germany and Austria and that she’d heard of potential flooding in Budapest as well. I was reading the e-mail out loud in the wine store, and the cashier said, “Don’t you watch the news? The river is already three meters higher than normal.”

Now it seems like a bad decision to have not gotten local cable. But since 90% of the channels are in Hungarian, I wouldn’t have understood it anyway.

Although it hasn’t rained significantly here in Budapest, it *has* been raining heavily in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria. The Czech Republic has had major damage and has closed several metro stops and even relocated zoo animals as a result. All the water from the Danube in the other countries is just flowing straight into Hungary, so even without the rain that was predicted all week, the river has spilled over the banks.

This is where the shoe memorial is for the Hungarian Jews executed by the Arrow Cross in 1944-1945. It's completely invisible now.
This is where the shoe memorial is for the Hungarian Jews executed by the Arrow Cross in 1944-1945. It’s completely invisible now.

Hungary has gotten lots of advance warning from the other countries, and so we seem to be well prepared. The government has declared a state of emergency and mobilized something like 7,000 troops to assist in flood prevention. Margaret Island (“Margit Sziget”), where we often take the dogs, has been closed down, and other nearby islands are preparing to do the same. BKK, the Hungarian transportation authority, has outlined which bus, train, and metro services might shut down due to flooding issues and when those outages will likely go into effect. Volunteers have been laying sandbags at the Parliament, and the roadways directly on the riverbanks have been closed to vehicles.

Water has already begun to fill the road in front of Parliament.
Water has already begun to fill the road in front of Parliament.

Of course, my friends and I thought this would make a fun opportunity to check out the sights. My friend Julie said that there is a word in Dutch that basically translates to “disaster tourism” – the people that flock to the sights to check out the damage. I guess the closest phrase in English would be “rubberneckers”. Today, that was us.

Sophie and Julie's feet would normally be about 5 meters from the riverbank, and the water is normally at least 2-3 meters below that bank.
Sophie and Julie’s feet would normally be about 4 meters from the riverbank, and the water is normally at least 2-3 meters below that bank.

Luckily, none of us live in an area that would be affected by the floods, and since the rain has thus far been pretty mild, it was a pretty fun afternoon! And today marks the three-year anniversary of our wedding, so when I came home from the drizzle, I got a wonderful present: Richie, home early from work, and these beauties.

Anniversary flowers!
Anniversary flowers!

We got a little fancy…

It's impossible to take a photo in this house without getting part of a puppy in it.
Winston photobomb.

We headed to Bock Bisztro, a restaurant just a few blocks away that we’ve wanted to try for quite some time. It requires reservations a few weeks in advance (almost unheard of in Budapest) because of how small it is, so this was the first time we remembered to call in advance! It was seriously delicious and probably one of my top five meals here.

It’s been a pretty amazing three years of married life… here’s to a million more. Or at least fifty or sixty.

 

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