Random times in Budapest

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June 1st 2008
Published: June 7th 2008
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Ok, so we got to Budapest and it was a haven after the little eastern swing we had. It is very beautiful with many interesting sights and historically filled stuff. It is made up of Buda and Pest, Pest has all the places to stay and eat whilst Buda has all the historical sights and such. So we arrived pretty early thanks to our stellar night train from Romania. We got in early so we dropped off our bags and walked around to get a feel for our surroundings. We came across a giant church called St. Stephen's Basilica. The Hungarians have the mummified right hand of St. Stephen's there which we took a look at. We agreed with the Hungarian working there (who didnt speak a word of english) that the lighting wasn't great and that we should come back later for a photo. We thought that buying metro tickets would be the best option and we bought two of what we thought were 10 pack metro tickets. Then we looked at the tickets and noticed each individual ticket was numbered 1-10. "Crap, did we just buy 100 metro tickets each?!?! Well, looks like we're metro-ing it everywhere!" Or so we thought until we actually used the tickets and realized that $16 canadian is actually a decent price for 10 tickets. Oops, oh well, it made for a fun 20 minutes of panic and a day of us feeling dumb. We saw that the Parliament had tours so we decided to do that this day as well. So we walk up to the Parliament building and join the hoards of people waiting in line. Peter went to buy tickets while Kif stayed with the bags. They had a weird system where only one person was allowed to go into the ticket booth in the parliament building to buy the tickets for the group. There were lots of guards so we didnt question them. The tour cost $15 each. It was free if you had EU passports. Kif had both EU passports for Kif and Peter at his fingertips, so instead of a free tour we had to pay. Rats! The tour was very cool and interesting; however, really short. But they showed us some cool stuff like Hungary's crown which was bent slightly (since it's over 1000 yrs old).

We took it easy that night because hey, a bed that wasn't shaking and moving and pulling into stations! Alright!

The next day we met up with one of our travel mates from before. Her name is Samila and she's from Brazil but works in Budapest and off to study in Norway. Weird combination of countries but she was the best Budapest tour guide we could ask for! We met her in Split, Croatia and she lit up when she heard that we were going to Budapest and offered to show us around. So we took her up on the offer.

We went off to Buda to check out Buda Castle which sits ontop of a hill and looks over Pest. The views were stunning. Samila thought it was a bit cold though; however, she's from Brazil, it was 27 and Kif and Peter were sweating wondering how the heck it could be cold, and secondly, how is Samila going to survive in Norway. Anyways, we walked around the Buda side seeing all the sites we needed to see. We walked all over Budapest it seemed, we saw a place that reminded us of lonsdale quay; however, this one was 5 times bigger and hsold hungarian things. It was called nagycsarnok. We also saw Buda Caslte. we saw the changing of the guard at the castle and walked around looking at the sights. It was a nice day. We took it easy in the afternoon and chilled at Samila's place and lounged in the hostel. That evening after a nice dinner on the walking street in Pest. we met with Samila for drinks at a local bar.

The next day was epic. I (kif) think it is the best and most random day of our trip so far. Again, sorry about the no pictures!
So what do people travelling to Budapest got to Budapest for? The bath houses of course! So we were up bright and early to get a good start on this. Kif thought it was funny how we were waking up early to go relax, but it was worth it. We went to Szechenyi (sp?) bath house on the Pest side. A big beautiful yellow building with an open pool and hottubs in the middle, saunas, pools, massage, many many nice and relaxing things for you to try. It was a glorious 2 hrs spent swimming, getting massages, and relaxing. After the bathhouses we were walking up to hero square when we saw something was happening there. TV cameras, grand stands, shops, food, drink, a horse track.....a horse track?
See apparently every year the cavalry puts on a horse race around hero square (they build their own freaking track) and riders from the different provinces/states race in the traditional clothing. We stuck around to catch one of the races and look around the tents set up. We had another epic thing that we wanted to see.
See the day before we saw a poster, a redbull poster. It was advertising for a soap box race at the top of Buda hill. Redbull soap box rally... in Hungary? We were so there, so after a long and hot walk we were at the top of the hill with 20,000 Hungarians watching other crazy Hungarians race soap box cars down a small track. It was very entertaining, saw many crashes and funny cars. Sadly we understood nothing of the play by play but we left hot and sweaty (it was 32) and happy.

So Hungarian bath house, Hungarian Cavalry race, and Hungarian redbull soap box derby race, in one day. epic? yes!

The last day in Budapest we walked around with Samila some more and she recommended we go eat pancakes at this pancake house. Kif and Peter looove pancakes so off we went. It was a small restaurant with sweet and savoury pancakes. It was delicious. We were so wrapped up in our pancakes and conversation that Peter left his backpack a little behind him. A random guy walks up to the table behind Peter and is also carrying a backpack. He goes to the ground to get some stuff out of his bag. Kif takes notice and thanks to some strategically placed mirrors kif sees only one back pack. "Uh Peter, check your backpack will ya"
Peter turns around to find the guy with his bag snug beside Peters, both open and the man window shopping in Peters bag. He's caught in the act and says something in Hungarian and runs off. Peter, naturally worried, rifles through his bag and finds nothing missing. Close call.

After that we said goodbye to Samila and headed off to our nighttrain to the UKRAINE!

To our loyal fans and followers, we tried, we really did, to get some photo's up in Budapest, sadly to no avail. We're thinking Mariestad will be the next bet. Please keep patient, we promise you they'll come up.

What we learned in Budapest:
-Brazilians are cold in anything below 27
-Scaffolding still remains a constant on this trip, beating out Jerry and Asian tour groups (which kif calls asian invasions)
-Budapest can be very random and fun
-Eastern europe is bloody hot
-Hungarian is a weird language


16th June 2008

Haha...that is awesome that you went to the baths! This was one of my favourite things while I was in Budapest although I thought walking in the big park on the Buda side was pretty cool too.
20th June 2008

It DOES sound like an epic day!

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