So how was Budapest? Well, I think you’ll get the picture by … ehrm … looking at my pictures. I geotagged most of them, and I like the map view. Though you should zoom in on the different areas for it to be a good way to explore Budapest and our trip.
We got upgraded and got a HUGE room. I kid you not. It was more like a suite. Nice.
Budapest food is quite heavy. Lots of paprika in just about everything. But one of the local restaurants had an innovative menue. I especially liked the chicken with apple and ginger sauce. Our best eating experience was at Café Pierrot though, on Fortuna Utca in Buda. Delicious food and a nice inner yard/garden.
The weather was very moody. One minute rain, the next sun and quite warm. At the end of the week the temperature rose towards 30 C.
The thermal baths are great. It’s very pleasant being soaked in 38 C slightly sulphuric water. But the weird thing is the big difference in perceived temperature between the 38 C pool and the 36 C pool. Two degrees make a lot of difference. And then you jump into the 8 C pool and suddely the 38 C pool is burning hot. :-) We went to Gellert and Széchenyi baths. Both were very nice. Gellert has more historic atmosphere, and Széchenyi has a large outdoor area. This is where you can see the chess players in the southmost pool.
The market hall was an experience. Sausage and fruit everywhere. We did some last minute shopping there and got home with a whole lot of meat, sausages, garlic etc.
There’s plenty of street art and even more tags on walls, doors, everywhere. More in Buda than in Pest, and the further out the more – and the uglier – it got. So did the houses. Huge Soviet style buildings. No wonder there’s no shortage of apartments anymore…
I kept a lookout for eastern european cars. There were quite a few Trabants, but also Wartbugs, Ladas and a АЗЛК 2140 which I asked Common to help me identify (thanks Uffe!).
The military was at work at Heroes square, preparing a speaker’s stand and rolling out a red carpet. I never did get to know what was going on.
If you go to the Museum of Aviation and Space and start taking pictures, a sullen looking man comes up to you, shakes his finger at you and says something in Hungarian. Then he writes the number 800 which turns out to be a fee you have to pay. Then he goes and fetches something. It turns out to be a photo permit. :-)
The only way to enter Budapest’s funfair seems to be to buy a “ride all you want” ticket for 3000 forint. We only wanted to have a look around and maybe go on one or two rides, so it was not an option. Instead we went to the zoo, which was quite nice. I especially liked the butterfly pavillion.
One restaurant we went to had a cell phone charger machine for six different cell phone brands. Pretty cool.
The Statue Park is a weird experience. On an empty lot outside of town they’ve gathered all the communist statues and turned it into a tourist attraction. Well worth seeing though, and it’s good that they preserve history.
There’s a “summer on the Chain Bridge” festival on all summer, a free cultural festival on Chain Bridge. When we went there some Hungarian band was playing, a lot of street vendors sold stuff, and over all there was a good mood. But I really disliked all the spiders on that bridge. Not a good place for arachnophobics…
I was impressed with the transport system. We seldom had to wait more than a few minutes for buses, trams and metro. Though on our last day as we were heading to the airport, our metro line was out of order. Finding the replacement buses turned out to be hard since nobody spoke English. Finally I found a nice bus driver who explained to me in French(!) how to get to the M2 bus-stop.