BUDAPEST, HUNGRY

Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
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Trip End Oct 14, 2009


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Saturday, August 22, 2009



Budapest was a pleasant surprise. Our first impression - the train station - was unbelievably gorgeous. We hopped, skipped and jumped to our University Dorm. The girl said we'd have to wait until 1pm to check in because they were all full. Because it was 8am, I asked again if she had anything available, she looked, and simply said, "oh yes, we do" and we got right into our room. Moral of the story - it ever hurts to ask.

Budapest is beautiful and is actually 2 cities. Most of you probably know that, but we didn't. Buda is on the west side of the Danube River and Pest is on the east. We stayed in Pest. There is so much to do here, you need a good week, but we were going to see it all in 3 days.

We saw the Museum of Terror - the former headquarters of the secret police of both the Nazi and Communist governments.  Scary place where they tortured a lot of people they thought were trying to resist Communism.  We also saw some churches and walked by Parliament our first day. We lucked out because there were two festivals going on in Budapest at the time we were there. Every night we were down on the river enjoying the local food and drink. They had bands playing as well but nothing we were familiar with.

We went to the Buda Castle one day. They had a huge Folk Art Festival going on. We strolled through that a bit but wanted to check out the actually castle. Inside was the Art Museum. Even if we had 3 weeks in just this museum, I don't think I could see every piece of art. It was incredibly huge. We did get to climb to the top of the castle's dome and look out over the city. They also had a lot of folk dancers and music playing so that was interesting to watch. We went in to see the History Museum, which was also housed in the castle. We walked around for about 30 minutes looking at stuff that we were clueless about and nothing was in English (or in order). Decided it was time to go...but saw an interesting looking passageway and walked though it. That lead to another hour wondering though the castle. This was all part of the museum. Ever in my life, have I ever been in a museum this big before.

Budapest is known for their club scene, but somehow Brian and I missed any sign of that. We were staying off of Raday Street, which was lined with cafes and restaurants from one end to the other. We finally found a happy hour place (which are hard to find). They had liters of beer for 490 forients = $2.50, and it was good beer. That's what we are doing here after all, trying to find the World's best beer. Although we think the best comes right from California - Sierra Nevada. Maybe they'll read this and give us free beer for life.

One evening we were enjoying our liter outside, sitting near an older couple from Canada. Everything was quite and peaceful, then the woman started screaming "my purse, my purse!". Brian saw the whole thing. They were sitting near the edge of the restaurant tables and she had her purse on the chair nearest to the walking path. A guy in a hooded sweatshirt just walked up, grabbed it and took off running around the corner. I couldn't believe it. It seemed like such a safe area. The weird thing is, this couple didn't do anything. They sat back down and finished their meal. I gave them the Canadian Embassy number but I don't think they called. After they were done, they got up and walked down the street that the guy had ran. She said her and her husband share the same credit cards and everything. I would have been on the phone immediately. It's just different how people react to things I guess. If anything, it reminded Brian and I to keep our stuff secure.

Our last day in Budapest we climbed Castle Hill which is on the Buda side of the river and at the top is a big monument and lookout. Not too bad of a climb. Beautiful lookout and worth it. From there we hiked back to the Castle grounds and wondered the streets in the village there.

I suggest Budapest to anyone that has the time. Its possible to see everything in a few days, but you'd be going pretty fast. We are getting better and making wise decisions about whats worth our time and whats not. A few things in this city are not worth it - like Hero's Park.
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