Budapest Day 2 Part 1

Continued from Budapest Day 1.

I am in Budapest! Woohoo! I wake up and despite being on the road for so long, its still weird to think that I am on the other side of the world. This is the last leg of the trip. It’s starting to hit me that I only have a few more days of traveling left. Where did all that time go? It wasn’t that long ago when I was thinking that there are still soooo many days of traveling left. Everything in the middle felt like a blur. Now I am at the end of the trip.

Free breakfast buffet from the hotel. It’s never free, just included with the price of the room. I love this hotel. There’s a free coffee bar too. Again, free, but not.

After breakfast, the first item on the agenda is to find a bookstore to buy a Budapest guidebook. This is my first trip ever to travel with guidebooks, and I’ve grown to like and rely on them. I haven’t done much research on Budapest while in Austin because I thought, incorrectly, that I would have time while on the road to read up on it.

I went to the front desk, asked about where to find a bookstore, got directions and everything. Then the lady at the front desk said that they have guidebooks that guests can borrow for free. Errr, hell yeah, gimme! I took not one, but two! Just saved myself $20. Loving this hotel.

Bright sunny day in Budapest today! Blue sky, but it’s just not the same. I am looking at this sky, and it’s just not quite as blue as the sky in Istanbul and Berlin. This Budapest blue sky with the ever slight tint of white feels like the all familiar Austin sky.

Entrance to the subway station. The subway stations here are very poorly marked. This entrance to the subway had exactly zero signs. It was just a staircase leading down under.

There was only one single ticket counter. The ticket vending machine didn’t work, so we had to wait in line. Got a 3 days public transportation pass that’s good for subway, tram, and buses.

No gates for ticket control. Instead, they’ve got people standing around(you can see the two guys standing by the escalator entrance) who check your tickets.

Probably the fastest escalator I’ve ever been on. It was on berserk mode and felt like it moved at twice the speed of normal escalators. You almost have to get a running start just to step on.

A minute thirty until the train arrives.

Here it comes.

Continuing with the theme of photos inside trains.

I really liked the look of these ceiling light fixtures. Loved the art deco feel to them.

Transferred to a different line. This was odd. The time display for the train arrival counts up instead of down this time. It zeros whenever a train arrives and starts ticking up. What good is that?

I laughed. Saw this in one of the tourist brochures containing a map.

Lots of McDonald’s. Pretty good public transportation system here.

I just loved the lights inside this subway train. I felt like I was back in the early 1900s.

One of the longest and fastest escalators I’ve ever been on. Because it was so long, there was enough give in the long chain to create an ever so slight back and forth swaying. I had to use the handrails to balance myself. The other really long escalator that I’ve been on would be the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. Hmmm, my favorite museum in the world.

From the top of the long escalator, we emerged to the Buda side.

I was disorientated. I had no idea what direction I was facing, and I didn’t see a swarm of tourist all heading in the same direction. Had to break out my iPhone to use the gps. There are not too many tourists in Budapest. Though, of the tourists that we’ve seen, there seems to be a high percentage of Korean tourists. What’s the draw to Hungary for the Koreans?

This is the way to one of the biggest tourist area in Budapest. No other tourists in sight.

Up the hill.

Here! Old fortified walls of Buda Castle.

Vienna Gate leading into Castle Hill.

Inside the walls.

I see a giant phallic symbol.

The unique roof tiles of Budapest architecture.

Old church. Except, it’s not a old church anymore. It’s part of the Hilton hotel now.

Matthias Church.

Again, the colorful roof tiles.

Fisherman’s bastion with the statue of Stephen I of Hungary in the middle.

A great portion of the church interior was under restoration.

Looks nice and interesting, but it’s just paint.

What are those cast metal pieces for? Hold down for rugs when restoration is over?

Nonstop banging noises from the restoration.

These remind me of the bottom of beer bottles.

Heineken, anyone?

Well, that was that. It was just OK. But, I knew coming into it not to expect too much, so I wasn’t disappointed. This is the drawback of having been to some of the greatest churches in the world already. Nothing really blows you away anymore.

A creepy guy with his falcons. Can you be a guy who busks with falcons and be a non creepy guy? This is John. He goes to the park every Sunday and makes money from falconry. There is something else you should know about John. John drives a white unmarked van with no windows and gives out free candy. He lives in his parents’ basement(despite almost no basements in Austin), and he dresses up in medieval gear every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday just to get lunch at the neighborhood McDonald’s. No, I don’t believe any person who owns a falcon can be normal.

Up on the fisherman’s bastion. It’s really just a viewing terrace. Plus, I think of fisherman as lovers and and not fighters. They would have been pirates if they were fighters. Aarrggghhh.

A very nice viewing terrace indeed.

That tall cathedral is St Stephens basilica.

That massive gothic looking building is Hungarian parliament, one of the most well known buildings in Budapest.

Time for some lunch. Cafeteria food, you bet.

Is that saffron just laying out and about?

Sweet noodles with poppy seeds, a Hungarian specialty. It was really good!

Sunny day, and just a tad bit chilly in the shade. The weather was rather enjoyable today.

Tons of bullet holes from WWII. Oh yeah, this whole area was heavily damaged during WWII.

That’s Buda Castle on the right with the green dome.

Looking down at Buda from Castle Hill. It’s hilly over on Buda side and flat on Pest side.

Budapest, the city of sculptures and statues.

To be continued at Budapest Day 2 Part 2.

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