As of 11:20 AM we officially arrived in Budapest, Hungary. First impression “What the heck, I’m in HUNGARY?” After a beautiful 7:56 train from Wein Westbanhof lasting three hours, the adventure began by figuring out the money. It is approximately 250 Florins to $1. It’s a great way to keep the wallet fat- too much math to buy anything! We eventually exchanged our money, figured out how to use it, got our train tickets, and headed off to our hotel.
Our hotel are Studio Apartments in a very nice area- next to Gucci, Armani, and the Opera House. Turns out that Budapest is really two cities, separated by the Danube. One side is Buda and the other side is Pest– we are staying on the Pest (pronounced ‘pesht’). The Buda side is the old city, and the Pest is the ‘hip’ side.
Alan (our Professor, with a fresh haircut) found a great free walking tour that we wanted to go on to discover what lies in this great city of Budapest. We were taught the history of Budapest, Hungarian culture, and walked 2 1/2 miles to the major sites of Budapest. It was incredible! The city is beautiful and so unique. I really enjoyed this walking tour from United Europe Free Tours. If you’re going to Europe anytime soon check them out at http://www.triptobudapest.hu
My favorite fact that I learned is that the Parliament building is the exact same floor plan as England’s, just 2 meters wider to claim they had the largest Parliament Building in the world. But then, in 1987, Romania got the same floor plan and added another 2 feet. Hungary has been Hungary for only 21 years after the Communists left- so everything is still in transition.
So far everything we’ve eaten here has been AWESOME. They sure don’t go hungry in Hungary. One of the my favorite finds is a Lagos. It is a scone with a creme/cottage cheese/sour cream spread with shredded cheese and garlic dip spread on top. Delicious. For dinner we found a great restaurant that was cheap in comparison to Vienna and the menu looked good. It turned out to be one of my favorite places I’ve ever eaten. The menu was so different- I had lemon pepper chicken with risotto. You have a great dining experience of live classic jazz piano music in the background and beautiful men as your servers. We’re planning on heading back before we leave. 🙂
It's not Vienna- but it's getting close. I think by one more day I should be quite convinced that this is the European city that is meant for me.