Budapest: Hungry for Hungary
Trip Start Aug 18, 2011
45Trip End Jul 02, 2012
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I can't delve into the sites I saw without first recounting how terrified I was for my first two hours in the city. I got into the train station after all of the currency exchanges and information booths had closed and there was no ATM. I had no Hungarian money, so I couldn't ride the public transportation to my hostel. The train station also seemed very sketchy, it was nighttime, and I was by myself. Luckily, or unluckily, I asked some police officers in the station who didn't speak English very well where to find an ATM. I then followed their direction to a square where I didn't see any ATMs or banks. Then I saw some young people who looked like college students and they told me to ride the bus with them to the next stop and there was a bank
I accepted their offer and got on the bus and then immediately began to think what if they were taking me to a secluded part of the city to rob me? It was probably very naive of me to follow them, but when we got off at the next stop the boy showed me to the bank and was very nice, so I felt bad for even thinking he might try to rob me.
I then had a horrible time trying to get to the hostel and spent about an hour trying to figure out the trams and getting on wrong ones. By the time I got to the hostel, I honestly was not a fan of Budapest.
Luckily the rest of my stay went really well, though, and I ended up with a better impression of the city than my first night.
On my fist day I toured the Pest side including St. Stephen's Basilica, Andrassy ut (an avenue that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the State Opera, Vajdahunyad Castle (a castle built in Romanic, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles) and the Great Synagogue (the largest synagogue in Europe).
The following day I took a journey over the famous Chain Bridge, which was actually bombed in WWII but reconstructed. I later saw pictures of the bridge and the city destroyed from the war and it was poignant to see places I had walked through completely ravaged. War is such an ugly part of human nature.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around the hills of Buda and Buda Castle. I got to see the Matthias Church (beautifully decorated inside with colorful artwork), a view of the beautiful Parliament Building, the Fisherman's Bastion and the Royal Palace. I stopped inside a restaurant to warm up with some Hungarian goulash soup, which was wonderful.
Before the day ended I toured the Terror Museum, which is a memorial and museum about Nazi and Communist rule in Hungary.
Unfortunately, my plans to go to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland next fell through, because the train I was supposed to leave on sold out of tickets. I was disappointed, but on the bright side I didn't spend a whole day utterly depressed. Next, onwards to Prague!