Published: December 17th 2007December 12th 2007
I wouldn't exactly say that we got up late, however once we were up and dressed we headed over to a restaurant in Buda called Eden for lunch. It had come highly recommended by a girl from our hostel and we were both wanting something wholesome to eat. We got there and found it to be more of a cafe with a selection of foods in hot trays, however the food was tasty and the staff translated everything for us so we could make the best choice.
Once we were refueled we decided to wander around without much of a plan just to get a feel for Budapest. Due to our fantastic travelcards, we were able to nip over to Buda for food and then return to Pest for some sightseeing. We started just outside of the parliamentary building where we marvelled at the sheer size of the building and then cursing it for not being able to fit on a camera. We had been told that the opera house was beautiful and that tickets were dirt cheap and available even on the day of a performance. We had looked and found that the Nutcracker was on, so we went
to the box office to buy tickets. An unfriendly lady called us over and we sat down in front of her and told her what we wanted to see. Initially she quoted some prices that were way out of our price range and when we told her we just wanted cheap tickets she frowned and looked intently at her screen. She told us she only had two tickets left for that evening and they weren't seated together. Neither of us wanted to sit separately so we asked if she would mind checking the other dates to see if there was anything better. Without even checking she said that it was all fully booked and that if we wanted cheap tickets we would have to buy the two separate ones for that evenings performance. We asked if she would double check for us but she didn't and retold us about the two tickets for that evening. We declined the offer and stepped outside the office to confer. We both decided that it would be worth nipping back in and attempting to ask someone else about performances on different days, however when we returned she was the only was available and she
told us in a sour manner that there was still nothing available. We left quite disgusted with her manner and upset that we would be missing out on the opera.
The street that the opera was on had plenty of big impressive buildings etc so we wandered along it and turned down numerous streets until we stumbled upon St Stephen's basilica. It was huge and looked way more impressive than any pictures we had seen in guidebooks etc. We walked inside and instantly it won the most attractive religious building competition for me. I imagine that the cathedral in Belgrade was aiming to look something like this when it is finished. It is decorated in heavy red and green marble and there are muriels everywhere. Unusually the crowning attraction of the basilica is the hand of St Stephen which resides in a gold box in a chapel. You can enter the chapel and look at it and if you want to you can put some coins in a slot and the box with the hand in lights up. Naturally being students we just waited until someone else paid and then looked in, but it was actually fairly creepy and
I didn't want to look for too long.
We wandered around the front a little more and looked at the buildings around the water. Rob took a few pictures of the waterfront that don't really do it justice but the views are breathtaking. Late afternoon we decided to hop on a metro to go and have a look at one of the Christmas markets. We arrived after dark and so the square was nicely lit up with Christmas lights and decorations from the stalls etc. We worked our way around the stalls and noticed people walking around with mugs of mulled wine. The smell was too much to avoid and we queued up and purchased our mugs of mulled wine. It was fun walking around the stalls with a hot mug of wine in our hands. We spotted a stall that were roasting weird cone shaped things over an open fire. On closer inspection we saw that it was something sweet and we couldn't really resist. We purchased a cinamon cone and stopped to eat it whilst watching the advent calender being revealed. It was lit up and there was lots of music, however the picture behind the window
was pretty lame and it took us a while to figure out what it was.
We caught the metro straight from the Christmas market to the stop very near to the hostel which was very convenient. At the hostel we relaxed and whilst we waited for the internet to be free we watched a movie that we had bought earlier in the day. It is called Alpha Dog which looked good in trailers at the cinema, however in reality it was just a bad film. We did watch it right through to the end although a few people attempted to watch it and left part way through. Once the internet was free, Rob attempted to call his parents however the computer at the hostel was very bad and we couldn't hear anything over Skype. We then cooked ourselves pasta and ate it whilst watching Resident Evil 2 which was Rob's choice.
There are more photos below