travelogue: budapest

ohhhh budapest.  you deserved so much more of my time instead of a scant 28 hours! if only i hadn’t done some bookings while half-asleep, if only i hadn’t gotten lost and wandered around the city for a couple hours, if only i hadn’t had to hang out in my suite and do laundry–we would have become so much better-acquainted!   but, the suite i got to stay in was really cool and communist-looking.  maybe that doesn’t even make sense.  it had the world’s least comfortable couch (seat was 2.5 feet wide, back was maybe 6-8 inches high…), dark carpeting, wallpapers, 12 ft ceilings, and a set of incredibly beautiful 12ft tall doors!

not the building i stayed in, but nearby

budapest was different than the other former-communist places i’d been.  for one, there were sex shops everywhere.  bars open at 8 am, with people drinking.  slightly dingy buildings, not restored like prague and krakow (and some with bullet holes still!).   three train stations, instead of just one, which gave us the opportunity to pretend we were in the amazing race, when we went to buy tickets to zagreb at the wrong station, 25 minutes before departure.  we rushed down to the underground–budapest’s was the first in europe, in 1906–to ride the shakiest, oldest subway car i’ve ever seen, and made our other train by five minutes.  what a rush!


anyway, i digress.  budapest was full of stately old buildings, intriguing narrow streets, the second-largest synagogue in the world, the museum of terror, a giant opera house, bath houses left over from the 16th c. turkish invasion.   by this point, my travel partner and i were really into the euro cup, which happens every four years and had started while we were into poland.  we wandered the alleys near our hostel-apartment until we found a suitable place with a big screen and a seat for us.   wandering the narrow streets that evening, i felt so sad–this city deserved more than such a quick run-through!

budapest opera house

budapest synagogue

alas, my poor planning led to not enough time in an interesting place full of history, beautiful little nooks, interesting pubs and really great food.  one tourist brochure claimed that certain kinds of sausage were “hot enough to blow your ring piece out”.  if there is a visual i do not want to connect with eating, it’s having my asshole fall out after, but i digress.

st stephen’s basilica

sorry budapest.  next time i’ll give you more of a chance.

it’s totally worth paying for the upgrade from 6-person sleeper to 2-person. for real.

read about the rest of my trip: reykjavik pt 1pt 2, oslo, stockholm, copenhagen, berlin, prague, krakow.