Having missed the Scotland game back in March, I was keen to try Budapest for masel and it did not disappoint. It was easy to tell from the slow bus ride in, not only was this an inexpensive place, but a historical and architecturally beautiful one.
I got an apartment for little money down by the river, close to one of the main hub points – Astoria. They first thing needing done was to buy and unlimited 3 days travel pass, which included all local trains, buses, trams and underground. A handy thing to have if your sight seeing given everything is well spread out, but its a great way to see the city and find out those hidden places. Get on a tram and sit on it to the end with eyes wide open neebs. I never got my pass checked once, they seem to have the honour system on the go similar to the trams Canada.
The world cup is starting so a good part of my time has been sitting in ‘fans parks’, with the biggest based right bang in the middle of Liberty Square. I was not aware these were on the go as well, it’s only when I went to visit the square that I came across two big doozys right before the Morocco v Iran game, where a fair percentage of the park were supporting Iran. It’s funny, I got out my camera ready to film in injury time if they scored from the free kick and they did!
I done a lot of tram hugging and wandering round and for the first time using the wee mini camera thing to get shots with, now I have finally bought one of those Scan Disk things. It’s funny, the shots from it are superb and I missed the boat not buying a card yet carrying the camera around Asia and the States with me. Never mind, my surroundings are very beautiful, picturesque and historical, primed for using the new tech. Plus, cos I am sitting boozing and getting the munchies for 4 hours every day watching the footie, I need to save a penny or two. My decision therefor is to pay to get into one attraction only during my stay.
Right at the bottom of my road, 2 mins away is the Chain Bridge, a suspension bridge which crosses the Danube and was of course, was the first permanent bridge crossing in Budapest. I read on trip advisor, before that, plonkers had to go to Vienna just to cross the river! I go along one side and back the other, sweating a little bit cos its beeling. Now I like a good market, so naturally I head up to the very nice Central Market for a scoot aboot. When I say nice, I am solely talking about the Great Market Hall, where its held, such a beautiful building, with strangely orange bricks. The Markets were very disappointing, all the same stalls again and again and nothing unique. Meats and cheeses, fresh veg and fruit, expensive chocolate and spirits, not what I had hoped. I did however get a Bounty flavoured Ice Cream, which, if you have not had one to date, is the dogs bollocks baby.
A wander up Gellert Hill, the main square and Parliament buildings are all ticked off. I wanted to go to the Transport Museum, but it was closed for work. I ride on the underground – Line 1 quite a lot as its the oldest of the metro lines in Budapest, on the go since 1896, without fail or stopping. My once paying attraction was to the questionably named ‘House of Terror’. What I will say is when you approach the entrance, you think the guard is going to open the door, he turns away and it creaks open – Terror!!
I’ve taking this bit from Trip Advisor as its a good explanation – ‘The museum is housed within the building where victims of the Soviet regime were captivated, tortured and killed. The museum strives to paint a picture of these bloody periods of history; honour the victims and remind visitors that the struggle was not in vein and that victory was achieved in the form of freedom and independence.’ It does just that in my opinion, albeit daftly in some areas. Daft to me, but at that time, farmers lost a lot of land due to resettlement and deportation. When it really hits home is when you get in the cellar or dungeons where the cells are. They were used by the AVH, Hungary’s version of the KGB. Locals were interrogated, tortured and finally Hanged, using a very rudimental system. All the stories build you up to getting to that part and even tho you read and learn about getting taken to be hanged, you don’t realise until you’re down there that its at the end of the hall and when yer standing in front – wow! or Not so wo in this case, gulp!
What I always find interesting is when there is memorabilia and things from that time that help tell the story and there is plenty of that stuff. We were not allowed to take photo’s but I snuck a few. For a fiver, it is definitely well worth the money. Round the corner is a wee boozer called the Rabbit Hole, that does a Hendricks and tonic for £1.50 and they have movie nights. All in all, the boozers are cheap, everyone is friendly and its very relaxed and easy to get around in Budapest. The only downside is the amount of Hen and Stag party’s that go there, not just from the UK, but all over Europe. Let’s be honest here, I would recommend if you want to take your darling away for a 3-4 day romantic break, Budapest is the place to go. Where you go and what you do, will be totally different from any Stag party, unless you go to the Irish Bar.
This one night, I had half a litre of house wine. Two G&T’s, some soup and a chicken in breadcrumbs meal with side salad and when the boy wanted £18, I was like Superb laddie. The only downside is everywhere, the service is slow and is some personally owned and run places, it’s like the boys dinnae want to make money? If you see my drink is getting low, come see me so I can get another, don’t ask when I’m pissed off and leaving. Anyway, enjoy the photo’s and get to Buda Neebs.