Hungary Hungary Hungary!
Trip Start Apr 14, 2009
22Trip End Aug 06, 2009
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Monday morning started by our Turkish hotel ripping us off $50, so it was always only going to get better. Landing at 6am we had time to kill before check in so we had some Nutella croissants at a cafe across the road from our hostel. The Boomerang Hostel was brilliant. We were advised before booking not to let the name put us off, and contrary to what you're probably thinking now there were no other Australians, it was run by an American and a Ukrainian. They gave us a city map when we arrived and described all the tourist attractions, dinner options, and were really so helpful. OK. Let's share some of what we got up to!
First day we were too tired to do much, but checked out some landmarks. The Opera House, St.
Tuesday was a big day. Began checking out Terror House - a museum of the Soviet Union communist takeover of Hungary following WW2. Very informative and interesting yet understandably a little creepy (especially the torture room and old prison cells). Then on to Budapest Zoo! Zoos are always good but this one has a huge aquarium, polar bears, and you can walk around with beer! Can get dangerously close to some animals, some people were touching the rhino's but we weren't that game (stupid). Then to top off the day we went to Budapest's famous thermal baths. Hopped in about 8/9 pools with different water temperatures, anywhere from 20-40 degrees. Most were mid 30s and oooohhhhh so nice. After a good 40 minute walk home we finished with a Foster's at Captain Cook's Pub, which was also NOT AUSSIE in the slightest. Nice way to finish our day though.
Wednesday ventured out of Pest to the Buda side of the Danube River. Across the Chain Bridge and up a funicular rail to climb the massive steep Castle Hill that features amazing views over the river and rest of the city. Walked the castle grounds, avoided the swarm of peddlers and browsed souvenir/market stands
Thursday we left Budapest and caught a train to Szentendre, a cute town about 20+ kms north that featured art galleries and cobblestone streets. They had a Marzipan museum, we didn't venture in but did buy some chocolates! Oh wow Chris had a foodgasm. Balls of chocolate with carmel and Baileys inside. So good. Also some small other concoctions of marzipan, chocolate and caramel that are a must try. We then caught a bus another 25ish kms north to a quiet town called Visegrad. Had a nice walk up the river Danube and a beer overlooking the hill. A great day out followed by dinner in town. Yes we tried the goulash and yes it was good :-)
Friday we braved a 2 hour bus ride east of Budapest to Eger. Time to visit the wine valley! Szépasszony Völgy or "Valley of the Beautiful Women"...sounds good to us. Basically we walked around this complex of over 40 Hungarian wine cellars, and drinking 100ml glasses of the finest for the equivalent of 70 cents a pop. After a few hours crawling through many of these we'd spent only about $11 each. We recommend to all! It was a public holiday so there were extra people around, music performances and basically a fantastic happy vibe that was a joy to be a part of. Especially after a few glasses of red, white, rose and whatever else they had. We probably didn't learn anything about wine and are still far from conneisseurs (sp?), but we know we like it.
So we stayed in a cute little hotel in Eger and are now waiting for our bus back to Budapest, and then train to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia.
Have a great weekend!
Chris & Alicia.