Are you feeling hungry? How about Hungary? We sure are!
We got up this morning and slowly got ready. Our train wasn’t until ten to nine, so we were able to leisurely eat breakfast while sitting around and chatting with a nice couple from Manitoba. They own a wholly organic farm and were kind of like old hippies, so they were enjoyable to talk to.
Our train ride to Budapest wasn’t very eventful, especially because we didn’t switch trains. That had been our plan, switch in Vac, but our train was running behind & didn’t get to the station until after the other one had left…grrr… Luckily our train was still going to Budapest, just to a different station, so we didn’t end up riding to some unknown location. When we arrived in Budapest we though, oh it’ll be easy to get to the station we originally meant to arrive in…we still wanted to go there because our hostel was only 2 blocks away from it. We couldn’t have been more wrong! We only needed to take one bus that went directly there, but due to construction right in front of the station & lack of signage we wandered about forever before someone was finally able to point us in the right direction.
The bus ride was only about 10 minutes when we finally found the bus and dropped us off just a couple blocks from where our hostel is located. Arriving at the hostel was an experience too… It sits on the top floor of an apartment building that apparently won’t let them put up a sign. There is just a little sign next to their buzzer number to let you know it is indeed the right building. Once they buzz you in you have to walk up the 5 floors of stairs in this gorgeously old, but slightly delapitated & under loved building. There is only a small sign by the hostel door on the top floor & you are starting to wonder what the heck you’ve gotten yourself into…. Then the door opens & you’re greeted by a bright, open typical looking hostel with super friendly staff. It has turned out to be a great place to stay, even if you felt like you were walking into the start of a horror movie when you first get there. The girl who checked us in walked us through everything there is to do on the city map and gave us advice on what to do based on interests, where to eat and pretty much anything else you’d want to know about the city.
Ok, we think it’s time for the Hungary history lesson, you in? If so, read on… If not, then skip ahead a paragraph…
Hungary was first inhabited by the Romans, until the Huns defeated them around 500AD. The nomadic Hungarian tribe arrived a few years later and in 1000 King Stephen was crowned, founding the Hungarian Kingdom. Medieval Hungary encompassed the lands of present day Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Croatia. The Ottoman Turks arrived in the 16th century and Hungary was ruled by the Ottoman’s until the Habsburgs helped evict them. The lands of Hungary now became under Habsburg rule until the end of the First World War. When the Empire was dissolved and the Republic of Hungary created, the country lost over 2/3 of it’s previously held land. The Hungarians were not happy. The country entered the Second World War on the side of the Germans but realizing their mistake switched sides. They were liberated by the Soviets only to fall under Communist rule for the next 40 years.
We took our newfound knowledge and hit the street for a bit of an orientation walk. We followed a main street to the river and walk across the bridge. We then followed the river along the other bank, taking in the view of the Parliament buildings and the Chain Bridge. You can also make out the castle and citadel statue on the hill. It was really beautiful!
We crossed back over on the Chain Bridge and went for a closer look at Parliament. The building is so nice! First of all, it’s huge…the second biggest in Europe to be exact. It has a very gothic style that is very reminiscent of Westminster (in London). All of the points & detailed patterning at the roof lines make it look quite intimidating & almost church-like.
A competition was held to find a design for the Parliament buildings. Obviously the winner was picked & their design created, but there were so many excellent submissions that all of the buildings on the square around parliament are built to match other submissions. It is really an architecture nerds paradise!
We went for supper at a place recommended by the check-in girl. It had a dark-lit, cozy, local sort of feel…aka it was really cool but really comfortable. Justine had a beef stew with potato noodles. Kristin had pork medallions fried in potato pasta with garlic sour cream. It was all really, really good and made us wonder (and not for the first time) why we don’t eat more potato noodles at home?
Our hostel is called Carpe Noctem…which, for those of you who don’t speak Latin, means seize the night…so that’s exactly what we did. The hostel organizes an activity every day & every night, so we joined in with the pub crawl going out that night. Much fun was had & much ridiculous ensued 🙂
Love, Luck & Lemonade with dinner,