The train ride to Budapest was pretty nice. Other than Nicole being sick most of the trip, I was fine. I did eat in the dining car and that was pretty disgusting. Plus, the food was way more expensive than I wanted to pay for dinner, but I only had one choice… chicken. The food wasn’t that bad, but I think they were reusing food others didn’t eat. For example, my chicken was hot like it was just cooked. But, a small piece was cold. I was just looking forward to leaving the dining car as soon I finished what I could stomach. Plus, smoking was allowed in the car, so I smelled like a cigarette. After going a year without a smoke, I try and steer clear. A year ago though, I would have been in that car smoking like a chimney.
We arrived in Budapest around 10AM and hit up the McDonald’s for breakfast before finding out hostel. When we got to the hostel, Nicole had a face of being very unhappy, which was understandable because our room was next to the main entryway and balcony for smoking. For me, it was not a big deal. The kitchen was nice, I had a clean place to sleep, they had wifi, and a little gathering area. Plus, it was cheap!!!
At this point it was about 12:15PM and we found out that there was a Free Walking Tour at 1PM. Nicole and I rushed to the meeting place because we figure this would give us an opportunity to see and learn about Budapest and anything we didn’t see could be done the next day.
The tour was pretty good, but this one seemed even longer than any tour I had been on before. Plus, the group only started out with seven of us. I actually like the bigger groups I had been in in other cities because I sort of get lost in the crowd and don’t feel rude taking pictures while the tour guide is talking and being occupied with other people’s questions. But on this tour, everyone slowly left in the middle of the tour until Nicole and I were all that were left. On one hand, this was nice because it was our own private tour. On the other hand, we felt like we had to tip more. We gave him pretty much all the cash we had, which was about $10US. Oh well, it is a free tour! I am just amazed at the beauty of the building architecture throughout Budapest.
Opera House (Picture 1)
New Controversial Statue commemorating all who died in WWII (Picture 1)
Fisherman’s Bastion (Picture 1)
Parliament (Picture 1)
St. Stephen’s Bridge and the Danube River (Picture 1)
The next day, we headed out to see a few things we saw on the tour more up close. We went up into St. Stephen’s Cathedral and even saw St. Stephen’s mummified hand! After that we headed over to Hard Rock Cafe to get me my shot glass and pin, walked through Central Market Hall, went to the Holocaust Museum, and headed out of town to the Memento Park (A park with many communist era statues).
Central Market (Picture 1)
Lenin Statue (Picture 1)
Overall, I feel we had a pretty productive couple of days. Budapest is easy enough to walk around, but it is pretty big. If someone wanted to get the most out of the city, including going to the different museums, you definitely need more than a couple of days. I do have to say I fell in love with Budapest. I really loved the atmosphere here and will be back to take in more of the city.
Next stop is Zagreb, Croatia.