A nice surprise
22/01/2009 - 25/01/2009
Got off the train in Budapest only to be greeted by a Goblin with bright red lipstick, trying to get me to stay at her accommodation for 30 Euros, I told her politely to go away, well she decided to follow me around for a bit. I went to the Tourist information and they showed me the best and cheapest place to get the internet......God bless McDonald's. I had a look at the hostels available and found two that were close and quite reasonable. I headed down to the area where it was shown but nothing is ever as simple as you would like it to be. When I was on the stret where they were supposed to be I asked some of the locals roughly where they were, strangely no one had ever heard of the hostel. Even when I was outside the address of one of the there was no sign of it!!
At that point there I decided that I needed to get back on the net, I found an cafe which had the internet it was quite pricey the £2 for the hour. I went in a spoke to the girl about the hostels and she had never heard of them. I was also told if you get a coffee you wouldn't get charged for the internet. I found the new place I wanted to stay ....The Goat Hostel, what a great name.
After finding the Goat Hostel, I went straight to bed for a couple of hours. I was exhausted and all I had been doing was sitting down and watching the scenery. The first night I just read my book and wrote some e-mails somehow that took me up to 11, so it was an earyish night for me.
The next day I woke around 9 and had my breakfast and some coffee, I don't wat to know what brand it is as Eastern Europe has Nestle signs everywhere I took one of the tourist maps lying around and based my day around that. The first stop was the local Hall Market which very European country seems to have, and this one was exactly the same, it's not a bad thing, I quite like them. After that it was on the the Hungarian National Museum. I was quite impressed with, well I must have been I spent the best part of 4hrs in it. Outside the museum there was a plaque with flowers and candles around. I asked a few people what it was for and nobody new, finally somebody shed some light, it was a tribute a 18year old man who set himself on fire as a protest to communism, There was a lot of interesting facts and exhibits in the museum but when the Avars come along for about 400 years it get gets boring for a while. It gets interesting when they try and put a whole new soin on WWI and it tries to prove that they were right in the first world war and that nobody actually won it.
after the the museum I was going to see the Synagogue. It was a less than welcoming as the police/ security strolled around scowling at everyone walking past. It was so stringent that they stopped people taking photos of it, it was at that point there I decided to give it a miss and head on. So I strolled merrily down the road. Decided to get some authentic Hungarian street food, this was to prove harder than expected so I succumbed to a Sahib, still not entirely sure what it was made of, it was in pitta bread and consisted of hummus, salad and some meaty looking thing...mmmmmmm. At that point I was outside the parliament and lets face for a country that was not fully independent for a long time its parliament is pretty sweet, think our parliament designers should have ad a look at that for a start. Anyway tried to find out about a tour but the last tour of the day, well in English speaking tour, it had started an hour earlier at 2. I was some what annoyed and impressed with myself for staying that long in a Museum. I thought a stroll along the Dunube would be nice. It is still used quite a fair bit today but that still didn't take away from the fact that it was freezing cold down by it. The rest of the the city was reletively warm compared to being down by the Dunube, it is quite strange the drop in temperature,
When I got back to the hostel I decided to look at getting transport to Belgrade for Sunday. I was expecting to take a hot of about £70 for it, I had trawled through numerous websites and tour companies even direct all via the english side. Well f**k me!! I finally got the ticket from the Budapest ticket woman for......£15, and yes it's a proper ticket and I didn't have to do anything bad to get it. I think this is a good lesson for me take note of that its better to get the locals to help. If it wasn't for the guy in hostel giving me that advice I would be out of 50quid. Later on that night I went out with the Brazillian guy who was in the dorms. It was weird getting used to people smoking in the pubs and clubs again. we went to a few of the bars suggested by the hostel staff, which were pretty good but it was interesting to hear so may people speaking in English.
Amazing the next day the sun was shining, so decided it would be a good day to walk up to the castle and the Fisherman Bstillion. It's quite a steep rise so I was happy when I got to the top. The views of the Dunabe and of Budapest were pretty good, afer wandering around the castle for a bit I started heading across to the rest of the settlement up there. Its the first time i've seen a building covered in bullet holes and what I can only assume to be a mini cannonball shot. Then it was across to Fisherman's Bastillion, which is just amazing when your there and puts Disney to shame for trying to copy it! I was having that good a day I even ventured into a church, the Matthius Church, where a my own we private miracle happened, i learned how to take use my camera in the dark, I was so frigging happy it's only taking me 3 years!!
I then walked for 45mins to the park to the North of the city where they have a memorial for the Jews, pretty spectacular memorial. There was only so much sight seeing I could take for a Saturday so decided to go shopping. Unfortunately the shops had different ideas, all the shops close at 1230 in Hungary, even most of the food shops. I eventually found a Spar, which incidentally was exactly the same as our Liddels. After arriving back one of the girls who works at the hostel was waiting to talk to me as she has never heard a Scottish accent before and wanted know more about Scotland. So after having to explain to here about everything she asked me if we still spoke like Rabbie Burns, well she asked me to read some. It was excruciating, I was so happy when I the ordeal had finished.
Later on, I went out with two english guys and one of the girls they knew. I have never felt that small before. Dean was 6ft2, Nick 6ft3 and Sabreen was the tallest at 6ft4. We were suppose to be going on an organized pub crawl, but we were slightly late for the first one, so we tried to get to te second one, we got there 5mins before hand but none of the organisers showed. We quickly jumped on the metro back to one of the clubs we had seen earlier, it wad under one of the local parks at had a massive glass frontage. The beer there was cheap which is always a good start, we managed to find seats which was quite a feat considering how busy it was. In the background the band started it was straight up Romany Gypsy music and it was pretty good. The down side to this place was that everyone was smoking, since none of us were used to smoking in bars it wasn't long before your eyes were stinging. We left the club after an hour and a bit to try and find another.
The problem with Budapest especially during the winter time is that bars and clubs are hard to find if you don;t know where to go. Nick decided to lead the way, before pretty long we were lost. One bonus was that we found the British Embassy. The embassy had a low barrier around it and some guards protecting it, Sabreen decided that she was going to walk through, even though we'd advise against it. The guard seen her stepping over the barrier and took the time and effort to shout quite loudly at her and motion towards his gun, she quickly took the hint. We wandered for bit and were offered entrance into every seedy tourist bar imaginable bar available. I figured we should just go to the bar we were at the night before. I was given the map and was charged with navigating us to on of them. Fortunately my navigating skills along with my uncanny sense to find a pub we manged to make too one going through the back streets. We made it to Cseudesz and had a couple of jars in there until it closed. It was about half one by then so we decided to call it a night.
The next day I pact my stuff and waited to get the 345Avala to Belgrade, when I git to the train station I noticed the Goblin and her apprentice applying there tricks on a new bunch of new comers to the city.
I wish I had stayed in Budapest longer the hostel and the city were great, it was a excellent way to start the journey off. I have a feeling i'll be back there sometime