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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Budapest

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Budapest, Hungary - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 17/10/2012 18:28:42

When I initially included the Eastern European cities of Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest and Bucharest I was expecting to see cities filled with Soviet-style drabness along with massive amounts of poverty. So far this has just been further indication of my ignorance as each of these cities have surprised me with their colour and beauty - Budapest was no different in this trend. There is still a lot of visible socio-economic issues throughout the city, which can make for an interesting contrast (i.e. seeing a homeless guy sleeping in a tunnel between two immaculately groomed parks with fancy tiles on the tunnel walls).

I met up with Pao, a friend I first met in Edinburgh, which just goes to show the advantage of living somewhere like London as opposed to Melbourne. If Pao wants to travel and has a few days off from work she can easily take a short flight and spend some time in a country with a vastly different culture such as Hungary. If I were to take a similar flight from Melbourne I'd probably be in New Zealand or Perth. Of the two I would probably choose NZ and enjoy some Perky Nana.

The restaurant we enjoyed for the first night was amazing - Hungarian delicacies are full of deliciousness. Lots of meat and heaps of onion was the theme - perfectly suited to my taste buds. After dinner we went to the original of Budapest's ruin bars. Over the last 10 years people have been building bars inside abandoned buildings in Budapest's old Jewish quarter. There's not a lot of external signage, and while they are all pretty well known now - it used to form quite a cool underground bar scene. We went to Szimpla Kert - still one of the more popular ruin bars - and it was a great experience. Interesting architecture and decor along with alcohol and dancing made for a great time had by all.

The ruin bar we frequented - in this case the blurry photo is a result of artistic expression *cough*

The interior of the ruin bar - apparently Sweden is next

For the first full day in Budapest we picked a few monuments to visit and went for a long walk with a map in hand. While Pest (East of the river) has the vibrant night life of Budapest, the Buda and Castle District on the West of the river is where all the prettys are at.

Europe has done things to me - that I thought would never be done. I do not dry-heave at the thought of drinking sparkling water anymore. Not only do I enjoy coffee now - I actually look forward to some after my main meal. When I get back home I will probably look into buying a coffee machine allowing me to try different coffee blends (every part of that sentence has made me cringe at myself). I also feel my stance on bridges is softening. This is probably the fault of London's beautiful Tower Bridge - but I enjoyed looking at Budapest's Chain Bridge even though it wasn't lit up with fancy colours. What have I become?

It is called the Chain Bridge, for some reason. This may be explained by a quick Google - but instead I will assume it is because the bridge started as a single chain going from one side to the other that people needed to shimmy across. This, of course, led to the phrase "shimmy across my bridge" being introduced to the common vocabulary

The fancy looking Buda side of Budapest. I'm not sure why the boat has an multi-purpose knife flag flying

After Pao went back to London I still had another full day in Budapest so I put on my shoes and went for a long walk. I crossed three of the seven bridges that span the Danube river, which allowed me to see quite a lot of the inner city. Budapest is an amazing place with so many parks, fountains and beautiful buildings. My favourite spot that I stumbled upon was Margaret Island in the middle of the Danube - a nice little sanctuary in the middle of Budapest. I also loved walking through the City Park - another excellent chance to get away from both the hustle and the bustle of the city.

Another fancy fountain - this one on Margaret Island. I presume there is no crowd watching the water theatrics, because we were on a frickin' island surrounded by water

I was trying to get a generic shot of the pretty park - but it seems I made the garbage bin the centre focus. I guess it is fair enough - it is a nice looking bin

Budapest was lovely, but similar to Poland and probably Romania - I don't feel like I really got the complete picture of Hungary. I guess that's the downside of visiting so many different countries - I've had to stick to just the main cities to keep this trip to three months in duration. Maybe one day I'll return and do some of the Eastern European countries in greater detail - I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the little I saw.

This is the 29th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012

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