Aint Life Grand

Trip Start Jul 24, 1999
Trip End Oct 02, 1999

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Tuesday, August 31, 1999

Managed to quietly rest in my cabin on the train before coming into Budapest and hour or so late. I decided to stay at the same Hostel Company that I stayed at in Krakow. They again had a shuttle service form the station and I was quickly settled in. I was pretty central to the sites so after getting some cash I headed to the massive Central Markets that was recommended by my Polish roommate. Once sheltered from the drizzle I was impressed at the enormous 3 storied markets selling everything from Food, Linen and touristy items. After that I stumbled onto the waterfront of the Danube River and was again impressed with the remarkable view. I then strolled along the huge waterfront parliament buildings, took in the city centre before visiting the twin towered great synagogue and Jewish Museum. I then made my way back to the market to pick up some dinner to cook at the hostel.

I spun into action the next day and crossed the stunning bridge over the Danube and climbed Gellert Hillto see the Independence monument and citadel. On the way up I had to stop continuously, not through tiredness but to stop at all the excellent vantage points for the breathtaking views. The building disappeared into the horizon and the Danube wriggled its way around Grissening into the sun.
From there I walked along the castle hill viewing the various museums, the Fisherman's Bastion and Maithias Church with its incredible patchwork roof. I then strolled around the grounds and took in the archaeological sites. The last place I visited on castle hill was the 'Labyrinth' an extensive system of caves, tunnels and cellars recently transformed into its natural state a very touristy but novel attraction. Later I walked over another bridge to an island in the middle of the Danube and relaxed in the park before strolling though the hustling and bustling central street.
Later that night after a pretty awful meal of pasta and the headed out to take some photos of Budapest by night. I had planned to stay another day but got so much done in the last two days that I have decided to head off again tomorrow.
Budapest has been a surprise to me and I didn't know what to expect but its quickly become a favourite place on my travels. A real definite highlight.

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