If Prague is the urbane, hip, slick city of eastern Europe, then Budapest is the only-slightly less charming older cousin. Sure, his eyebrow hair is just a touch too long, and maybe he could use some newer, more fashionalbe clothes, but he’s still fun to hang out with. Plenty of people agree, making the Hungarian capital the 6th most visited city in Europe.
sweaty, non-airconditioned, metal coffin on wheels lovely overnight train deposited us in the Keleti railway terminal, the main international railway station in Budapest. The station is perfectly functional, but has definitely seen better days. We struggled to find a working luggage locker, and when we did, we struggled further to get local change to pay for it. After the initial hassle of stashing our bags, we made our way to the center of town. We toured the Opera house and strolled through the city, shopping a little, ending the day with a nice dinner with a seranade by a self-proclaimed gypsy band. A heat wave still blanketed Europe and we spent the evening in our unairconditioned apartment, the four of us sharing a small fan that made more sound than breeze.
Public transportation in Budapest, as in most of Europe, is excellent and an upgrade over most transit systems in the U.S. We spent two days strolling thought the city and visited the usual tourist destinations. Tomorrow is an early morning train to Slovakia. Very early. Like five in the morning early. Sigh.
What we did:
Hungarian State Opera House – Nice tour and you get a short performance from one of the singers, though it’s kind of in a hallway, not the main performance hall.
Vajdahunyad Castle – Not a real castle in the historical sense, it was a novelty building made permanent, but nice to walk around.
Turkish baths – Szechenyi Baths. Martha chose this bath house and it was a great pick, very relaxing and not too expensive. Great way to unwind after a long day.
Castle Hill – take the funicular up to the top!
Chain Bridge – very nice bridge to stroll across, spanning the Danube river.
Where we stayed: airbnb near the train station.