Yet another delightful train ferried us to Budapest, Hungary. Hungary’s capital is bisected by the Danube River with the hillier Buda section on one side and the flatter Pest district on the other. Once clear of the train station, there was a bit of a disconnect with regards to transportation to our next lodging… there wasn’t any. Adina, being the pro that she was, worked her wizardry, and successfully procured us a ride to our hotel on the Pest side.
As with every other city we visited, it began with an orientation walk through the winding roadways. We began our stroll with a stop at a small deli that makes Langos. Langos is a traditional Hungarian dish (not a delicacy since it’s made of fried dough and cheese and there’s nothing delicate about it) consisting of deep fried dough that traditionally is served topped with sour creme, cheese, and your choice of meats. First of all, one cannot go wrong deep frying anything, and when you add cheese and ham or sausage, it’s even more delicious. It was basically a deep fried pizza. Yum.
Besides Venice, Budapest probably included the most walking of the trip. From the hotel, to St. Stephen’s Basilica, to Buda Castle, to the Parliament building, up/down/across the Danube, and all the way down through the main shopping district. For those of you who haven’t been to Budapest, it’s quite the ambulatory pursuit. Budapest was a stark difference from Vienna – much dirtier, less upscale, more unkempt, not ostentatious. We were able to wander through St. Stephen’s Basilica, an incredibly ornate structure that elicits an immediate awe. Buda Castle was across the water from our hotel, and is swarming with tourists, but worth the trip. It offers phenomenal views of the city, and is completely free to enter. While we were unable to enter Parliament, it gave me a great place to execute a handstand along the Danube.
Adina very nicely paid for all of us to visit the swimming pools in Budapest. Indoor and outdoor pools adorn the grounds of the establishment. One can swim outside in a large, open pool, or you can choose to go inside and splash around one of the many heated and mineral pools.
The final night with the entire group concluded with a delicious meal at a restaurant that I cannot seem to recall the name of. But the food was good, as was the company, and the bill looked enormous and in the sextuples. I still don’t understand Budapest’s currency.
A few of us opted to stay out a bit longer. Adina suggested Instant Bar…. I felt like Alice in Wonderland surrounded by bright colors and magical rabbits flying through the air. I am not kidding, there were rabbits adorning the ceiling and walls. Everything was bathed in neon lights, and the place was a maze of small rooms. Weirdest bar I’ve been to in quite some time. That must be what people on hallucinogens see when they’re on a bender. Or where they elect to go whilst in their euphoric state.
We stayed one extra night in Budapest before embarking on our journey home to Virginia. We met up with a few other travelers who also decided to continue the vacation…. Amanda, Frazier and Jess. We met up with the trio at the Pointer Pub here we sat out on the street, laughing, devouring pizza and drinking more beer. That night resulted in the following ridiculous photos (there are quite a few)…
The above ridiculousness could have been the result of one of the The Pointer Pub’s party cocktails, known as a Van Gogh. It was neon green in color, and came in the form of shooters. This particular spirit consisted of 85% Absinth, lime juice, and energy drink. At the time of this excursion, Absinth still wasn’t even legal in the States. What a great night that was…
Since I’m drafting a lot of these posts six years after the actual trip, I have forgotten a lot of the wonderful anecdotes that resulted from the tour. Sad, but common, dilemma of oblivious travelers. Since then, and courtesy of Mama Rubes (aka. the woman who birthed me, and if you knew my last name or actually know me, you’d understand the nickname), I have acquired a leather-bound journal for my travels in order to jot down the often forgotten details of my worldwide trekking.
Viszontlatasra! Again, I have absolutely no clue how to pronounce that, but it means goodbye in Hungarian. Definitely not a romance language. And I’ll leave you all with three handstands around Budapest.