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Published: August 22nd 2009
I am not sure what to say about Budapest. It is so many places all at once. It reminded us a bit of Prague in terms of the ornate nature of its architecture but it seemed a magnitude in size bigger and the old buildings were generally in poorer condition. We walked for hours looking at what could be some of the most beautiful buildings if anyone was willing to restore them.
Clearly this city was once one of the most beautiful places in the world, but years of war and economic hardship including years of communism took much of the life out of these buildings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest). The tourist areas of Pest and Buda are generally well restored but if you walk a block or two off the tourist paths, you will see what I mean.
It is very much worth a visit. There is something really exciting going on despite the need for more love and respect for these old buildings, especially on the Pest side. There is a hippy-intellectual feel to many areas of Pest like the Hawthorne area of Portland, Oregon. If you are young at heart, I would stay at least 3 days on the
Pest side and 2 on the Buda side. Otherwise, stay 2 in Pest and 3 in Buda. It will cost a few extra bucks, but stay really close in so you can walk everywhere. The underground subway is good.
We were walking along at night on the Pest side and we would hear music coming from somewhere. We would follow our ears down a side street or stairway, and end up in an interesting market or small open-air night club. Once, we found what appeared to be an open-air bar in the courtyard of a building. There was a 5 man drum-and-bass-band playing in one corner of the courtyard. They were also singing rap songs and the crowd was singing along and dancing and clearly knew these hip-hop songs.
They were singing in Hungarian and it was all new music to us. The only time the lead singer spoke English is when one of his friends entered the courtyard. He would yell out, "Jaybird-G is in the house." Spend some time walking around Pest with no agenda. Stop along the way and people watch. You will get a better feel of it. Of course, that advice is good
for almost anywhere in the world, including home.
You must swim in the hot baths (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Széchenyi_thermal_bath). See the Parliament on the Pest side (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungarian_Parliament_Building). Walk the old town on the Pest side and go in the big church (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Stephen's_Basilica) and the synagogue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dohány_Street_Synagogue) and stop at a cafe and people watch. See the Castle on the Buda side (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Stephen's_Basilica). You must check out the Lion bridge between Pest and Buda.
You must floss, pay taxes, and die. If you don't like children, then you probably aren't cooking them right. Try more garlic and cayenne pepper.
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