Giddy Up Europe

Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Vatican, Monaco, Spain...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Budapest, July 11 - 12

Enter Budapest. Only a few hour train ride from Wien, but we only got to stay there for about 18 hours before heading to the airport to catch our flight to Athens. For those of you that don't know, Budapest is divided by the Danube into Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Unfortunately, shortly after we arrived at Keleti Station, it started pouring and didn't really let up until the next morning. So we did less sightseeing that we would've liked and only got to hike around Castle Hill in Buda. Though the rain was rather unpleasant to walk around in, Budapest seemed like a city quite fitting to explore in the rain. It's a city (at least Buda) that still has a lot of foliage that seems somewhat 'wild,' especially climbing up the hillsides to the Royal Palace. Though Hungary became a member of the European Union on May 1, 2004, they still use the Hungarian Forint, which is worth about half of one American cent. There is no construct of cents and dollars, so bills come in 1000, 2000, and 5000, and other denominations. It's probably the most inexpensive country we've run into on the trip as our hostel was about eight euro per person per night and we ate at a classy vegetarian restaurant for about 13 American bones.

One of the German students, Panagiotis, in Stuttgart showed me a German flick called Im Juli, which is about a guy travelling from Germany to Budapest. It was a decent movie - though I could only understand because Pana was translating - and reminded me of our trek, especially in the rain. Let's roll.

Here's a shot of Allison and I on the Elizabeth Bridge, trying to make it to our hostel in the rain.

Here's the Chain Bridge that we passed shortly thereafter and crossed the next day to get to the metro.

So there was a surprise when we found our hostel. Though it was very clean, these were the showers. If you're noticing that something is missing, you aren't alone. That's right, no shower curtains. Which is just kind of curious because the water gets everywhere. So we all took showers, but one at a time.

The next day we headed up to Castle Hill in Buda and see what was there. There was a pretty sweet view across the Danube and what you're looking at is Parliament. That's a bad ass structure, eh?

When we got to the Royal Palace, which didn't seem all that exciting, I decided I should be in some of these pictures. It was still coming down a little even the next day. See how appropriately dressed I am?

Outside the Matthias Church on Castle Hill were some towers that looked over the Danube and lots of tourists were taking pictures. Is that pretty sweet?

Here's a shot of inside Matthias Church. It was pretty small and one of the few churches that I had seen with an entrance fee, but it was still pretty cool to check out where the Habsburg emperors were crowned kings of Hungary.

If Matthias is reading, here's a restaurant with his name right on Castle Hill. I imagine etterem means 'restaurant.' Check out those skills of deduction! Oh, you might want to look that up, though.

We also went to the Castle Labyrinth under Castle Hill, which was probably the most interesting part of the day. It costs HUF1100 and you get to walk around the underground cave system, which was decked out with haunting music and sweet lighting. Definitely a must if you're in the greater Budapest area.

It started to smell a little strange when we were rounding a corner, but it turned out to be a wine fountain in one of the cave rooms. I doubt the wine pouring out was very drinkable, but I mean, that's awesome. Wine fountains.

There was also a huge sculpture of a submerged king in one of the rooms. It was kind of random.

Then it got a little more random when there was a section of fake fossils. Here's a seven-foot fossil of a Coke bottle. So the labyrinth started out pretty intense because it was gloomy and dark with creepy music, but then it kind of turned into a fun house? What's going on here?

Here are some random Germany pictures.

At last, here's the long lost Heidelberg jump picture with Brad and Allison.

Apparantly Brad took this picture in Stuttgart of some random guy completely peaced at the Schlossplatz. He's also just caged in there and check out whatever he has in his hand. Is that a tape recorder? Anyone ever see the movie 'Saw?'

Here's a shot of Allison and Tall Jon. I actually don't think Jon is that tall. It's really just that Allison looks shorter because she's wearing horizontal stripes. I guess there's no unimpugnable way for me to mention that I sometimes watch 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.' Wow, that was like a triple negative.

Here's a shot of the official 'Core' taking it easy in a park in Stuttgart, that is Allison, me, Jon, and Jesus. The Core generally has nothing to do with drinking and well, whatever happens in the Core, stays in the Core. But that's a story for a later post.

A nice perk of hitting Budapest was that Hungarian customs stamped our passports entering by train and leaving by plane. All previous countries that we had travelled through didn't bother with stamps when checking your passport, but oh well. Stamp that passport. Bitch.


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