I am back safe and sound from Budapest and I must say it was an excellent time. The weather left a little to be desired, it was warm but foggy which really made wandering around and taking photos a challenge but the company was great and over all it was a fantastic time. Budapest is for sure going on my list of places that I want to see again.
First a little back ground on Budapest, the city is unique as it is split into two parts there is Buda and there is Pest. The river which flows though the city splits the city into its two sections, Buda is the older section of the city where you find most of the castles, churches and things to see where Pest is the newer section of the city where you find all the stores to go shopping at as well as lots of restaurants, pubs and clubs. We spent one day exploring Buda and one day exploring Pest but to be honest to be able to really see the city you would probably need about a week. We were able to see all the big things however there was a lot of things that we were not able to see. Also it would be good to do during the summer, or not over a holiday as more things would be open.
Anyways in order to get to Budapest we took the train which turned out to be a 9 hour train ride. Normally I am not a huge fan of the getting there part of a trip however in this case it was really nice, for the 7 of us which went we had three cabins and each cabin was designed to hold 6 people so we all had lots of room. Also you can recline the chairs in each cabin and make a giant bed, each cabin also had curtains which you can pull shut and lights that you can dim. Traveling by train in Europe is really a nice way to go, plus you go though lots of beautiful country side.
When we got to Budapest we all got settled in our respective places, and met up for dinner. In Budapest they use the HUF not the Euro and the exchange between the Euro and HUF is 1 : 280 so when we would go out things would be in the 100s but it didn't take long to do the conversions. I found the prices in Budapest slightly cheaper then Slovenia so that was nice, also the hostel that we were staying had a kitchen which allowed us to make some food again reducing the cost of the trip. In Hungary they have a number of special items one of them is Goulosh and another is Langous (which is basically deep fried dough covered with some kind of topping, we had the garlic and cheese version and it was delicious)
The first night we were there we went out for dinner and then went out to find a pub for a beer. We went to two really cool pubs they were both make up of random rooms off one central area. It was kind of like the forks but much less organized, we are talking about 30 little rooms off one giant central area. I guess originally these rooms were apartments for Jewish familys and when they fled Hungary in the second world war they had been left abandoned and then someone combined them all into a pub, they called the pub the ruin because it looked like a ruin. I tried to take some pictures but they do not not this pub justice at all.
Another interesting fact Budapest is that they have fast food restaurants everywhere. A running joke was that we would get directions based on the number of fast-food restaurants that we had to pass in order to get to where we were going "Go past three Burger Kings and Turn right at the KFC if you hit the Pizza hut you have gone too far"
The second day we spent in Buda. It was warm but foggy which made it difficult to take any real picures. We first went to their statue of Liberty, that is right they have a statue of liberty as well and then we made our way to a castle and some more churches. Along the way we noticed this delicious smell coming from a church and found a resturant where we had a traditional Hungarian meal for super cheap and the food was delicious. We were going to go out to some jazz bars that night but unfortunatally one of our group was not feeling well and the others were tired from walking all day so we ended up staying in.
Thats right you are seeing a picture of authentic whips, I am not sure if whips were invented in Hungary but they were being sold in the market for a fairly cheap price. I was very tempted to buy one and pretend to be Indiana Jones but I could see problems and possible some whip related injuries.
The third day we checked out Pest and the shopping which was going on there. Since it was the 31 lots of the museums were not open so we just wandered around amusing ourselves. We did see this cool castle and the Square of heros. Also spas are very popular in Budapest because there are a number of mineral springs we were planning on going to one on New Years day but they were kind of expensive and we were told that they are usually very busy so we ended up canceling those plans.
That night for New Years eve we went to a club (It was called the Play Club) where we enjoyed Champagne and danced away the night we got back to our hostel around 6 in the morning and grabbed a few hours of sleep because we had to be our of the hostel before 11. Needless to say the train ride back was pretty quite as eveyone spent most of the trip sleeping.
All in all it was a great time and I would love to go back to check out the things that I missed the first time round. I have a lot more pictures but I can only post a few online if you want to see more check out my facebook profile.