Before I tell about our adventures in Budapest, here’s the enormous steak platter Bud had for dinner on our first night there.
The restaurant was called Fatal, and the meals really were fatal!
So…the hostel in Budapest was average, and didn’t even have anywhere for breakfast. So far, all the other hostels have had a dining area and provided cereal and toast as part of our booking. Topdeck had arranged breakfast with a restaurant next door, but when we got there they told us the chef hadn’t turned up! So, breakfast was a roll with a slice of ham, salami and cheese – not a particularly exciting start to the day!
A few people had organised to go to some natural baths for a soak and massage, but there was too much to see and do to waste time there. It was a bit drizzly in the morning, but fortunately it cleared up as the day went on.
So, a few people went to the baths, Bud and Aaron (a guy from Adelaide who’s on our tour) went wandering some shops in search of a guitar, and I did some washing and blogging. We all met up an hour or so later to explore the castle on the Buda (west) side of the river. We had a yummy lunch in a local pub before climbing the hill to the castle. (When Natasha, who went to the baths, joined us she was very unimpressed with the baths, and ended up not having a massage! Glad we didn’t bother with that…)
Under the castle is a labarynth. I’m not sure how authentic or genuine parts of it were, but it was really well set up with strange statues and ‘fossils’, and spooky sound effects. There was a maze in complete darkness (it wasn’t so much a maze, but a single tunnel that would ultimately lead to the exit) which was a lot of fun. We used our phones and camera flashes to find our way. We didn’t realise, until about halfway around, that we had gone in the entrance and bypassed the ticket desk, so it was a bit confusing going backwards. When we got to the end, which was really the start, we just went back through and came out the exit! (but don’t tell the Hungarians! lol)
We wandered the castle after that, checking out the grounds and views. There were some nice market stalls as well which were great for souvenir shopping. We bought a delicious snack called a ‘funnel cake’ which was a bit like a sweet prezel, but coiled around instead of knotted.
That gave us enough energy to get back down the hill, cross the river and explore the other side of town. There were some nice gardens on the opposite side, so we caught the train. One pulled in as we got there, so we snuck through the barriers and just jumped on (great value for money that day…first the labarynth, and then the train!) Being non-Hungarian speaking tourists we figured we’d have a chance at acting confused if there was a problem.
A quick coffee at Gloria Jeans (which I discovered is Australian owned! there are two in Hungary) then we explored the gardens for a while. They were particularly beautiful, with a lake and lots of lovely old buildings. It’s amazing how green everything is here – completely different to back home! And there are drinking fountains in most cities with water continually flowing through (particularly in Rome). Despite so much free water on the streets, at cafes and restaurants it’s highly unlikely they’ll give tap water to drink.
After a long day wandering the city, we headed back to the hostel for a bite to eat followed by a few games of cards. Later in the night we all headed to a bar on the river, but the staff were quite rude, and we were almost out of forints so didn’t stay long.
Others did stay very late though, and at 6am there was a knock on the door. One of the girls on the tour had stayed out with her sister, and they’d separated from the group. On their way home they lost each other, and she was panicky because she didn’t know where her sister was. About 15 minutes later her sister turned up, but they were pretty stressed. Just another night of little sleep!
Speaking of sleep, I’m going to head off now and get some before we wander Berlin. A walking tour and a few other activities organised for the day, so it should be good!
Bye for now!