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Published: October 15th 2008
We decided to head to Hungary on our way to Austria because we thought the transportation would be cheap. Well it was! For about $4 CAD we managed to get a four hour bus ride from Bratislava to Budapest with complimentary newspapers, coffee and even an English movie! It was when we got off the bus in Budapest where things got a wee bit pricy. But it was our fault.
In every city we have been in so far (and that is a lot of cities) the public transportation system runs on the system where you buy a ticket and that lasts for a certain time (generally an hour or so) or works within a zone. So we assumed our ticket in Budapest would be the same. Oh how sadly mistaken we were. Imagine the supprise on our faces when we confidantly handed the transportation cop our tickets for the metro and he responded by asking for our passports and 6000 Hungarian Forints. We neglected to read the teensy print on the back of the ticket that says each ticket is good for the full length of any line. That means no transfers! We had to pay the fine on the spot. And we weren't argueing when the guy was holding our passports ransom! So I guess that made up for the cheap bus from Bratislava.
It took us a while but we found our hostel on the Buda side of the Danube. It is the coolest place we have stayed at so far. I have to admit that we didn't see as much of Budapest as we should have because it was so nice to just sit and hang out at the hostel. The people were so friendly, and there are cozy places inside and out to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.
We did manage to pull ourselves away one day to walk around the Pest side of the river and go to some thermal baths. It was like walking back into Roman times. I felt like we should have had olive branches in our hair and togas on as we went into the eucalyptus bath or the hot pool. Although, don't go to Hungary into a public bath if you are wanting to see a lot of hard bodies. There were more banana hammoks at this place than in all of the south of France! But with averted eyes all was very relaxing, and very enjoyable.
The next day we went out with everyone staying at our hostel to the Mongolian Grill here in Buda. For half of what we paid as a fine on the public transport, we got to eat and drink as much as we could for five hours. There were all kinds of meat (I had to be careful to avoid the endangered Mouflon and Tibetan goat) and you had the choice of drinking beer, wine or sangria. I had all three! And towards the end there were very tasty deserts. I had two ice creams! Alex went back and had more meat for desert. We were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves for missing thanksgiving. But after that fantastic meal we can't complain!
It is going to be hard to leave this place. After four days it already feels a bit like home. But we must press on to Vienna.
So Viszlát from Hungry,
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