Trip Start Feb 26, 2007
8Trip End Mar 12, 2007
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I'd had the option to leave the hostel at something crazy like 6 am, but not wanting to miss out on the Wombat breakfast (and boy, do they know how to do breakfast!) I stuck around until 8:30 am, taking a 3-hour train and arriving in Budapest later that morning. That didn't leave me much time-I was to return at 7pm-so I bought a ticket for a bus tour that took me around the city's historical and cultural sites and gave a brief history lesson. I was glad I did that, since I knew virtually nothing about Budapest to begin with. I saw some really beautiful, old-looking buildings but was disappointed to find out that most of them had been built after the 2nd World War, when the originals were destroyed. Eighty percent of the "Buda" side of the city (the side west of the Danube) was destroyed during the war
After the tour, I backtracked to the Museum of Fine Arts, where earlier I'd seen a poster advertising a Van Gogh exhibit. Normally, the museums are closed on Mondays (just my luck!) but because the Van Gogh thing was so popular, they opened the exhibit to the public this Monday. Hooray! I love Van Gogh, and the exhibit was a treasure, showing some of the artist's charcoal and pencil studies for later paintings, unfinished paintings, and early landscapes. It was excellent, and it made me feel like I'd spent the day well, even if I hadn't by anyone else's standards. Back at the hostel, I showered and slept soundly.
Budapest Summary -
Thing that rocked: the Van Gogh exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts
Things that sucked: the crazy people in the train station; learning that most of the buildings are replicas of older buildings that were destroyed during the war
Advice to fellow travelers: Before you go, you should probably learn a little more about the city than I did. Other than that, I feel I'm unqualified to offer advice. Sorry.