Weekend in Budapest

Trip Start Mar 01, 2007
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

On the weekend of June 23rd and 24th, we went to Budapest, Hungary.   It is supposed to be about a five hour drive from Prague.  All I can say is, dad, now I know how you felt driving in Italy.  Our old reliable GPS turned out to be not so reliable.  It quit working about half way into the trip.  We realized this after we had driven about 55 km in the wrong direction.  So, we had to navigate the rest of the trip the old-fashioned way, with maps.  We did make it to Budapest, but didn't know how to find the hotel, so we decided to try and fix the GPS.  There is a reset button that needed a pin or needle to reset it.  We stopped at a Tesco (like Walmart) to try and find a pin.  We couldn't find one, so we bought a compass (the kind you draw circles with)  instead.  That still didn't reset the GPS. With our compass and map of Budapest we tried to find the hotel.  We may not have been drawing circles, but we sure were driving around in circles. We had no clue where we were or where we were headed.  We realized later the M1 (the freeway we were on) and the M1 on the Budapest map were not the same.  The M1 on the map was really the metro.  Anyway, we did finally get to our hotel, but our "five hour" journey turned into nine hours. 

When we did finally get checked in and started walking around, it was great.  Not only was the city beautiful, but it was like one big party.  There was food, beer, dancing, singing, vendors and people everywhere.  Turns out it was a celebration for the longest day of the year.  That night we enjoyed the festive atmosphere and walked around.  The view over the Danube River and seeing the Royal Palace was unbelievable, especially at night.  Our hotel was on the main shopping street of inner city Budapest and was close to the Danube.  The hotels central location was great for touring the city on foot, which is exactly what we did on Sunday. 

We did a "walking tour" of the Castle District that we found on the internet.  We walked across the Chain Bridge over to the Buda side. (Budapest is actually divided into two cities by the Danube River, "Pest" and "Buda.")   Once across the river we took the Funicular, (an inclinator) up to Castle Hill.  From there, the views were spectacular overlooking the Danube and the Pest side of the city.  The walking tour was great for about the first 1 1/2 hours.  Then, Joe and I both started to get bored, (and hot) so we decided to cut the tour short and head back to the hotel. 

From there, I talked Joe into heading to one of the hot springs in Budapest.  We went to Gellert Baths and had a great time.  The indoor pool feels like you are swimming inside of a cathedral. It was very cool.  Outside they had a wave pool and lawn chairs set up to tan on.  They were all occupied so we didn't get to lay out, but we enjoyed the sun and the wave pool. After that, we walked around a little more and went to dinner. 

Overall, we found Budapest to be a beautiful, fun city and would recommend visiting there to anybody. 
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