Trip Start Jul 31, 2007
Trip End Sep 05, 2007

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Flag of Hungary  ,
Monday, August 20, 2007

Today was the longest travelling stint I would be doing over the 5 weeks: Ljubljana to Budapest via a 9 hour train journeyy.  The train was due to leave at 7,40am and arrive into Budapest Deli at 16,23.  I somehow managed to get an amazing deal on the ticket: only €29!!  Ridiculously cheap.  I'd met an American dude at the hostel in Ljubljana who was also going to Budapest, and also staying at the same hostel as me by some strange coincidence.  So thankfully I had someone to talk to over the journey, which ended up getting us into Budapest sometime after 6pm, urgh.  I think the American guy (Danny) was almost ready to kill me by the end of it, being cooped up for so long with me and my inane comments, like how there are over 100,000 stray dogs in Bucharest (who counted that one?!)  Eventually we arrived at the hostel, and found out that Monday was a public holiday celebrating St Stephen, who is claimed to have been the saviour of the Hungarian race (or Magyar as they call themselves).  Having a quick read of a city guide I picked up in the hostel I found out that they actually parade his withered hand (the Holy Right) about the city after a religious ceremony..... A must see I reckoned, especially reading a little bit more about the bizarre history of the hand: healing miracles were said to have occurred at St Stephens tomb, so someone decided they should take a look, and found that his right arm was "as fresh as the day he was buried".  Hmmm.  So they chopped his arm off, then the arm got to go on a few trips around just for the heck of it: Dubrovnik where some monks cut the arm into 2 bits and sent them off to Austria, keeping the hand (sneaky), then a few other places, and eventually it made it back to Buda only to be taken away by the Austrians again in WWII, in 1945 it was returned to where it lives now.
Anyway, back to Budapest......  headed out briefly in the evening to get a bearing of where things were, checked out the nice buildings over the Danube on the Buda side of the city lit up and also the Basilica.  Budapest is basically 2 distinct districts; Buda where a lot of the older buildings are found, and Pest which is much more the busy part of town, and where my hostel was.  The evening was cut short by a monster thunderstorm, thankfully it only started just as I was about a 2 minute sprint from the hostel.
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amazing_ste on

St Stephen.
I hope when i'm eventually exhumed (it's going to happen) I'll look as fresh as the day I was buried.

hels_belles on

Re: St Stephen.
All of you, or just a limb like your namesake? Or maybe just a toe.

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