Baths, Statues and buildings oh my!

Trip Start Jan 17, 2007
Trip End Aug 29, 2007

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Where I stayed

Flag of Hungary  ,
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Time for a new country, lucky for me they are all incredibly close to one another!
Some quick notes about Hungary:
- Population: 10 million people, 1.8 in Budapest alone...
Their currency is the Forint, of which $1 is worth 158...
Prices for food and other items are fairly comparable to the other Eastern European countries that we've the very least, they have all been significantly cheaper than Western Europe
We arrived in Budapest, with quite the trek to our hostel awaiting us....
In order to get to our hostel, we had to take a metro, a tram and do some walking...luckily though the instructions were explicit so it would be quite hard to mess them up...
Our first problem however was at the bus station when we it was a Sunday most things were closed, including the only ATM in the building and no other machines were even remotely close...luckily an currency exchange office ended up opening and we were able to exchange our money...
Problem number two, we went to the metro ticket office and clearly stated to the lady where we were going, she understood and repeated it back to us...problem solved right?!
Nope...we needed to take 4 stops to get to ours and she only sold us a 3 stop ticket...I will blame our tourist ignorance in the system and trusting her...anywho, when we finally got off at our stop, some lovely Metro police were conveniently waiting for us and we got a 10 Euro fine because we had the wrong tickets...
We are pretty sure it was some sort of a scam, but at least we learned a lesson the cheap way...
Anywho aside from that little glitch, from then on we arrived at our hostel and got cozy from our journey...
It's an amazing hostel!  It's called the Backpack Guesthouse...the owner is a man named Attila, who's travelled all around the world and so the hostel is full of his pictures and travel memorabilia...
There's free tea, coffee and rather bitter hot chocolate, a great kitchen, a living room with a huge video collection that we can watch and a hookah!  Which yes I have now tried and will again some more...don't fret there are no illicit drugs in it, just flavoured tobacco...but it is very relaxing...
On Budapest itself, we are staying in the Buda part (it used to be two cities, Buda and Pest, but now they are one giant conglomerate :p)...there's a fair bit of beautiful buildings and sights...we walked around the Royal Palace and the Citadel (built by the Hapsberg's in the 1800's to protect themselves from Hungarian uprisings) and took some great pictures...too many actually, I had to delete 50 pictures or so!
For an early supper, we went to the Mongolian's an amazing, posh restaurant, where for 2590 Hungarian Forints (before 5 pm at least), one can have all the free wine, beer and other drinks, free soup, free appetizers, free dessert, not to mention a huge buffet of salads and seasoned meat that you pick and they cook it for you on the spot...
It is definitely worth the money!  It was very tasty food!
Other things to do whilst in Budapest (and most of popular with the locals is Szechenyi Furdo, which is huge!
Due to the baths, there is an extensive system of underground caves and so caving is also a quite popular activity to undertake here in Budapest...
Because I will be in Budapest for 6 nights (at our hostel if you pay for 5 nights, you get the 6th free...why not)
What else have we done!?
We went to the baths and they were wonderful!  All sorts of people, from all walks of life go there!   Old men playing chess, women doing water aerobics, foreigners relaxing...
Other than that we wandered and explored around the city and relaxed!  The last night we had a huge party at the hostel!  Twas fun!
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