Sightseeing and thermal bathes!

Trip Start Aug 24, 2009
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Trip End Mar 28, 2010


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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Budapest is separated down the middle by the Danube River. The Danube River seems to be following us since it travels through Nuremburg, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Buda is on the west side of the river and Pest is on the East.

We got a campsite for 3 nights in Budapest in an area about 30 minutes outside of the city. It's getting pretty late in the year so a lot of campsites are closed already and the ones that aren’t closed, are pretty empty. So although we don’t have much choice of campsite, we do get to choose our spot (Usually near the bathroom…it gets cold running to pee in the middle of the night)! This campsite turned out to be pretty nice with good free internet connection and a pet…yes that’s right it came with a pet. Our first night there we sat down for some scrambled eggs and ham and who showed up but a cute little kitty who after some persistent meowing and rubbing won herself some ham and eggs (happy kitty). Well of course she came back every day after that. She was a loving little kitty that liked to crawl under your legs. She had a bobo on her eye but we still loved her! In the end we named her Pescht (Since that’s how you pronounce the pest in BudaPest) and because she was such a pest when we had food. She ate a whole packet of turkey!!! She sat and watched as we left the campsite which was sad, but hopefully she will find other people to take care of her. We also decided that if we ever get a cat, its name will be Pescht, in her honour!

In between the camping and feeding of the kitty we enjoyed the sights of Budapest. It’s a city with a lot to see and it’s all very spread out. As we were walking around, unsure of what to do next, 2 german ladies walked up to us and offered us there hop-on-hop-off bus tickets. They said they were good for 3 days but they were leaving today so there was a day remaining on them. We thanked them and hopped on a bus! These tours are great because they take you to all the main sites in the city and tell you all about each place. You can decide to stay on the bus until the next site or get off and walk around. The buses come every 15 minutes so you can hop back on whenever it passes by again! These are usually 20$ each so we were lucky to get them for free and see all the sights. We were both tired of walking so we mostly stayed on the bus which was okay since you got a good view of the sites and the city from it (It was a 2 floor bus with no roof)! All the buildings in Budapest seem to be something to take a picture of. They are all covered with designs and statues and pictures. It’s nice just to walk around the buildings. There are many pretty churches and synagogues in the city. A big attraction in the city would be Hero’s square where there is a large monument commemorating soldiers and a large park behind it filled with various museums and attractions. We took the bus there and walked around a bit and then hopped back on to see the castle district on the Buda side of the river. The castle district has various castles and palaces that have been built throughout the years of Budapests history. They are all very different looking, since some were built by the Turks and some by the Hungarians, but they are all very impressive. As we climbed the mountain of the castle district the views of the city got more and more impressive. At the top of the mountain is a magnificent lookout, tourist shops and the Statue of Liberty, which is a women holding out an olive branch. After purchasing a few gifts we headed back to the campsite.

Well you can’t go to Budapest without going out for a night on the town. Its known for its late night partying and luckily we had guides to help us out! As I mentioned in the Bratislava blog a large amount of the people we met there were students from Budapest. 1 of the guys we met offered to take us out and show us around a bit so after meeting at his apartment and meeting his roommate the four of us went out for supper. Eastern Europe defiantly knows how to do meat; even I’ve been enjoying it!! After dinner we joined some other people and played pool and foseball before heading over to Szimpla. Szimpla is a "kurt" bar. Kurt bars are bars that are set up in abandoned buildings that will soon be demolished. They usually only last a few months but Szimpla was the exception. It was so popular it stuck around and I can see why. The bar is actually almost completely outside. It is in the middle of a courtyard (It closes in the winter) with the bars the bathrooms lining the walls or in nooks. There are tables set up outside and couches along the inside made of old bathtubs and cushions and whatever else they found. After playing some more fooseball and officially ending in a tie with Andrew and Kyle (rematch in December) we called it a night and managed to use the night buses to get back to the campsite.

Well the next day was departure day so we ate some Ramen noodles, packed up our van and headed to Poland. It’s not a quick trip to Poland and involves driving through the Slovakian Tatras (Their slightly smaller version of the Alps) so we took our time and spent a night in Brezno, Slovakia.
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