Saturday, June 18, 2011

Budapest: I Could Live Here

From Vienna I took a short train to Budapest.  The trains were very old, which gave them a bit of charm, the same charm that I got from the entire city of Budapest.  When I got off the train I instantly saw one of Hungary's most famous past-times, chess.  Throughout my trip I saw people setting up chess boards just about anywhere you can imagine to play the game all day long.

Budapest is split by the river Danube into two different cities, Buda and Pest.  My hostel was on an island in the Danube river.  The hostel was called Island hostel and was smack dab in the middle of a huge beautiful park filled with fountains, beer gardens and dance clubs (at night).

My first day I just walked around the Pest side of the city for a bit and saw the Parliament building.  Then I went for dinner and went to a few bars with some other travelers that I met.  It was a great start to Budapest but it wasn't till the next morning that I began to really love the city.  The next day I walked to the Buda side of the city and spent the entire day walking around looking at monuments, castles, and outdoor markets.  Everything in Budapest is beautiful, the architecture, the sunsets, the cafes, and the people.  At night I had dinner and drinks at the hostel with the people I had met.  Great conversations from people from around the world:  the owner was Hungarian and I met some travelers from Brazil, Spain and Austria.  Great memories from the hostel and from the city.

My third day in Budapest was eaten up almost entirely by the thermal public baths.  An incredibly relaxing and enjoyable experience.  Thermal pools of all sizes and temperatures, both indoors and outdoors.  The temperatures of the pools ranged from 16 degrees Celsius (60 F) to 40 C (104 F).  The Hungarian owner of the hostel gave me directions of how to do the thermal baths like a Hungarian.  Basically you spend a good chunk of time (4 hours) at the baths going from bath to bath and sauna/steam room to the cold baths.  I couldn't fully do it like a Hungarian because I couldn't handle the coldest water.  However, I did spend some time in the hottest sauna which came in at 100 degrees Celsius (212 F), which is the boiling temperature of water.  Those temperatures are only really tolerable for a couple minutes.

My final day in Budapest I walked around a bit more and ended up in the House Of Terror.  The House Of Terror is an old building, on one of the cities most famous streets, that has been headquarters to multiple fascist and communist dictatorial regimes during the 20th century.  It is an erie building with a tragic history.  There are parts of the museum that explain and show where/how many people were detained, tortured and killed during these regimes.

Later that day I hopped a train to start my 15-hour journey to see Jacob in Hannover Germany.  Not 12 hours after arriving in Hannover did my already upset stomach (from Morocco) become unbearable and I ended up spending the entire time in bed.  I had to cancel my trip to Copenhagen in hopes that this passes in time for my flight home in 2 days.  That being said this will be my last blog post until Mexico in late July.

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