Hungry for Hungary!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
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24
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Trip End Sep 15, 2011


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Where I stayed

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Friday, June 24, 2011

I know, I know.  My blog is in dire need of a jumpstart.  It's been well over a month since I last posted anything.  Needless to say, a lot has happened.  I finished my tour through Turkey, drove and sailed through Croatia with Cynth and 2 friends, flew back to Vancouver to watch the Canucks on their quest for the elusive Stanley Cup, and then recently jumped on another plane to Budapest to eat some delicious goulash.  I promise I will post the rest of the entries in the near future!  

But back to Budapest... after a uneventful but long flight through London Heathrow into Budapest, I was excited to be back on the road again.  I didn't speak a word of Hungarian but I wasn't too worried since most of the young people in the city have a working command of English.  I took the airport mini shuttle to Home Made Hostel, my accomodations for the next 4 nights.  This hostel had very high ratings on several hostel review websites and it sure didn't disappoint.  With room for only 20 people, the place feels more like a cozy home than a hostel.  Everyone was ridiculously friendly and so incredibly helpful.  After not sleeping for over 26 hours, I had every intention of eating a quick dinner on my own and then resting for the evening, but a few of the girls invited me to join them for dinner at Menza, a posh but inexpensive (for North American Standards) Hungarian fusion restaurant.  I had this amazing vegetable marrow soup with beef stew on top and it definitely hit the spot.  After dinner, we took a walk to the Chain Bridge by the Danube River and enjoyed some incredible views of the "Buda" side.

The next morning, I joined the free walking tour (they rely on tips only) through the city centre.  There were over 50 people so I'm sure they made a killing on this 3 hour tour.  I wandered some more and went back to the hostel in time for the free meal.  Every Tuesday, the owner prepares an authentic Hungarian meal for all the guests out of the goodness of his heart.  Did I mention how awesome this hostel is?  Before we devoured the stew, we all had a shot of peach pálinka, a Hungarian fruit brandy.  Alcohol content? 70%.  It was absolutely disgusting.  It will definitely be my first and last shot of pálinka.  After we all got acquainted with one another over dinner, we went on a bar tour to sample Budapest's nightlife.  My favourite bar was Instant which has 3 levels, too many rooms to count, and the most bizarre decor I've ever seen at a bar (ex. a herd of plastic rabbits running across the roof of the main room).  Even on a Tuesday night, the place was fairly packed.  Apparently on the weekends, the bars open until 10am, yes in the morning! 

Over the next couple of days, I visited the Terror House (a museum dedicated to the fascist and communist regimes which terrorized the country throughout the 20th century), the Great Synagogue (2nd largest in the world after NYC), and the Grand Market Hall (it's 5 times the size of Granville Island).  I could have easily spent a week here in Budapest and not see everything but it was time to move on.  I'm attempting to make my way up to Gdynia (northern Poland) by the 30th so that I can attend the Heineken Open'er Music Festival featuring Coldplay, The National, Prince and many more.  I haven't had any luck with finding accomodations yet but I gotta try right?
 
Budapest, if I have the time, I will come back to see you again :)
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