Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Eastern Europe, part 4 (Budapest)

I got off to a rocky start with Budapest; we arrived at the train station a little after noon, and were promptly accosted by dozens of people trying to convince us to take their taxi or to stay at their hotel. We finally made it out of the train station, and into the subway.

We checked into Adina Apartment Hotel, which was really nice; our suite had a kitchen, a huge living room, two half-bathrooms, and a bedroom. We managed to meet up with a friend from London, who had arrived earlier, and spent the rest of the day walking around. We saw the Opera House, St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Parliament (complete with protestors, that week), and then walked up Castle Hill to check out St. Matthias' Church. We wound up the day with a late dinner and some Tokaji wine, and then headed off to bed.

The next day, we hit the Royal Palace (also on top of Castle Hill, and gorgeous), and then walked over the bridge to Vaci utca, a touristy shopping street. At the end of the street was the Central Market Hall, where we found even cheaper souvenirs, spices, wine, and lots of other stuff. Then, we walked up the Gellert Hill and checked out the Gellert Statue and the nice view. Afterwards, we had dinner on a floating restaurant on the Danube, which was nice.

The last day was pretty chill. We did laundry in our hotel room (which took way longer than necessary) walked around a bit, eating at a cute falafel place for lunch, and checking out a bookstore (with Internet access). We went to the Gellert Baths, to try out the famous thermal baths. I was underwhelmed, but then again there are lots of thermal baths in Taiwan. That night, we bought 400 Ft (~$2) tickets to the symphony, which was playing at the Opera House. We heard the first half; a piece by Bartok, and then cut out so we could eat dinner and get to bed in time for our early flight to Istanbul.


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