|Thursday afternoon we arrived in Hungary to a busy and confusing train station. There were a bunch of people attacking us about rooms as soon as we got off the train. We headed to the news stand to get tickets for the bus to find out that Forints are used in Hungary instead of the Euros we had.
After exchanging we hopped on the 7 bus going the wrong way. We realized this after passing back by the train station 20 minutes later. The bus jumped across the coblestone streets for another 20 minutes until we crossed the Danube from the Pest side to the Buda side.
Budapest is divided by the Danube River with Buda, the more residential and hilly area, on the West of the 2 million plus city. And Pest, the more lively modernized shopping side, lies on the East of the Danube.
The 19 tram then took us within 3 blocks of the Back Packer. Jay, a 24 year old from Wales, gave us the grand tour and led us to our 10 bed dorm room. There we met John, a mid 20s Swede with long dreads. He was going to some folk music and agreed to join us for dinner. We walked around about 15 minutes before coming to a market area. John decided to head on to the folk show, so Brian and I set down for a nice man date at an authentic Hungarian restaurant.
We ordered a really good Hungarian chardonnay. I had mushroom soup and the shepherd boys meal. After dinner we were headed out when I was stopped by a young Hungarian guy that spoke very broken English with great excitement. I took Andre outside for Brian to enjoy this. Here he began saying one of the 4 or 5 english words he knew while jumping up and down or shaking his head while trying to find the right word. All we ever got was girls, dancing, and tonight...not tomorrow, as Brian and I were suggesting. Andre went in to finish his beer and we bolted.
That night the crowd began to grow with a variety of American exchange students, two cool Irish girls, and a number of other nationalities. There were great converstaions sometimes getting quite deep. It is interesting how much more open and honest Europeans are about issues that most Americans keep quiet about. I have this to be true most everywhere.
Friday we got a late start to our exploration of the Buda side of the city. We took the tram along the Danube to the base of the Buda Royal Palace. There we hiked up to an awesome, birds eye view of Pest and the Danube. On the other side you would see the rolling hills and residential side of Buda.
Then down to Mathias church, a very impressive interior, and on to The Citadell.
We picked up groceries for dinner and found a lot of the other roommates had as well.
Saturday set us out with James, a Kiwi, to explore Pest and the Szechenzyi Baths. After passing the Opera House, The Oktogon, we ended in the City Park. City Park hosts the Museum of Fine Arts, Heroes Square, Vajdohunyad Castle, and the bath house.
The 3 of us paid about 10 bucks for access to innumerable hot baths, swimming pools, saunas, and more at the Szewchenzyi Baths. We ran into a couple of girls from the hostel, showered, and set off for dinner at Kiava.
Some of the group at the Back Packer were heading for a trance party, a few to a boat party, and others just hanging at the place drinking the house beer, Arany Azkok.
My favorites were just laying low, so decided to do the same.
Today I talked Brian into a quick backtrek to Munich for a day at Oktoberfest. We booked an overnight train to Munich on Sunday, getting us to Oktoberfest at 6 am on Monday. Our next train would leave that Monday night at 1145 pm for Zagreb, Croatia.