A Travellerspoint blog

Hungary

Cruising the Danube

29 May 2011

sunny 75 °F

crazy curt

crazy curt


This morning we had to pack up and check out of our hotel because we were taking the night train that evening. THe Leo Panzio got high marks except for when the front desk guy told me to call the cruise company for a reservation. I asked him to do it and he told me I could from the room. Then when we checked out he charged me 16 Ft for the call.
kurtoskalacs guy

kurtoskalacs guy


Anyway our activity for today is to cruise the Danube but we had some time before the boat went off so we stopped for kurtoskalacs.
happy cappy

happy cappy


This is a hungarian specialty. THey wrap dough around a rolling pin, fry it and cover it in all kinds of goodies like honey, cinnamon and sugar, chocolate, etc. The worker seemed bored and was glad to provide a kodak moment.
buda

buda


Our group chose the two hour cruise of the danube that included a stop in margaret island.
Jerilyn and I on danube cruise

Jerilyn and I on danube cruise


The audio guide was pretty good giving us info on Buda and Pest while we sailed along.
Legenda dock

Legenda dock


There are plenty of cruise lines that make the route but we chose Legenda which had a large "rick steves" discount. It was even more than the budapest card.
parliament again

parliament again


gillert baths

gillert baths


tiled church

tiled church


The cruise passed all the most important landmarks in Budapest like parliament and castle hill. After an hour most passengers disembarked on Margaret Island.
bugs on margaret island

bugs on margaret island


The place is uninhabited except for swarms of small insects that congregate every few feet.
running path on the island

running path on the island


There is a nice jogging path where people are running, walking and enjoying the beautiful weather. The island also has a water park, zoo, gardens and ruins from a dominican nunnery.
gazebo in ruins

gazebo in ruins


For us an hour seemed a bit long to be on the island but we got our exercise hoffing around the path. The cruise then took us back to the starting point where we rested and had pad thai for lunch.
parliament building

parliament building


After the last few days on our feet and the hike around the island we weren't enthralled with walking all over the sites on buda so we did some more shopping on the vaci utca and hit up a free concert in one of the churches.
church with concert

church with concert


I was thinking it would be the musical works of mozart, beethoven, etc but it was more like organ music with a soloist. We cut out early, hit subway for sandwiches and made our way to the train station.
The train was actually cool this time, well, all except our berth. Curt called in the worker and he turned the dial and said 5 minutes it would work. About 20 minutes later Jerilyn tried the same thing and he came back in, turned the dial and said minutes. Finally we convinced him it was never going to work and he opened the window for us.
We really enjoyed Budapest and still only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. I would return here in heartbeat.

Posted by ErinDriver 08:13 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Central Market and House of Terror

28 May 2011

rain 70 °F

Central Market Hall

Central Market Hall


The miniature dining room in the hotel provided the usual European fare and we were off to the Central Market. The first floor is food dominated by everything paprika.
paprika stand

paprika stand


Hungarians also seem to like liver in tiny cans and pigs feet. The top level has rows and rows of souvenirs that seem to be the cheapest in town. One little old lady with linens saw me coming and took it all the way to the bank. Their money is Ft and it is 270 Ft to to euro. So table clothes and runners were up into 60,000 ft. They were quite expensive but beautiful.
Hungarian linens

Hungarian linens


Curt and I picked up some Christmas gifts and a few things for ourselves to include hand panted champagne glasses. The majority of the choices were linens, nesting dolls and small wooden boxes.
Hungarian spaghetti at the market

Hungarian spaghetti at the market


Our hands were full and legs tired so we hit up a stand and got spaghetti. It was cheesy with ham but when I asked the girl what it was called she said spaghetti – oh well.
House of Terror

House of Terror


After dropping off our bags and a nap we set out for the House of Terror. It was the former headquarters of the Arrow Cross (Hungary’s version of the Nazi Gestapo) and communist secret police. Hungary was initially aligned with Hitler until the Nazi-affiliated Arrow Cross came to town and started exterminating Jews. When the Nazi’s were pushed out the Soviets were in with their own brand of terrorism. The museum is full of disturbing photos, old uniforms and communist propaganda. At one point you wind through a maze of pork fat bricks which represent the conditions of the 1950’s when lard on bread was for dinner.
Russian tank

Russian tank


The basement is cellar where torture used to take place – they have gallows and instruments of torture. You can look in cells where prisoners were standing 24/7 and one with a low roof so the prisoner could never stand fully upright. Another was filled with water so the prisoner had to sit in water.
The museum is a sobering experience and we were ready for a rest afterwards. I had read that Radhay street was a restaurant row that was not so touristy. I don’t know that that ended up being true but we saw our friends from work and had great pizza at Angelinos café and restaurant. Post dinner comas set in and we marched back to the hotel to rest.

Posted by ErinDriver 02:44 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Arrival in Budapest

27 May 2011

sunny 80 °F

The trip to Budapest actually started on Friday night when we boarded our train in ansbach to go to Treutlingen to go to Munich and finally to get on our sleeper car to go to Budapest. The train was an unheard of late to Munich but we still got on the more antique style night train in time.
my bunk on the top

my bunk on the top


Our night car was a bit of a surprise and we thought we had upgraded. One wall had three bunks going up to the celing and the other side had a ladder and sink.
Eastern European sleeping car

Eastern European sleeping car


It was fine since all we were doing was sleeping but an interesting trip none the less. The conductor told us to be sure and lock our door during the night to keep the gypsies out. The same guy woke us when we had an hour to Budapest and then gave us each a cappuccino.
The train came in to Keleti (eastern) station and as we followed Rick Steve’s advice we found no ATM or ticket machine. Jerilyn and I went to the bank while Curt stood in a long line to get tickets for the subway. We sprang for the Budapest card as it seemed many things we wanted to do were given a discount. A subway ride later we emerged across from our hotel – Leo Panzio. It is on the third floor of the building which makes it a little of a guessing game to get to.
The receptionist was nice offering us a room to change and a place to drop our bags.
outside of Szechenyi  Baths

outside of Szechenyi Baths


We immediately got back on the subway and sped to the Szechenyi Baths in the city park.
goulash

goulash


First the restaurant across the way hooked us up with goulash soup and fries. After a rest we were ready to brave the entrance to the pool.
6DSC05384.jpg
First we bought access to a “cabin” which is really just a changing room and place to leave your stuff. We were given a bracelet that we used as our ticket to get in. Once in we rented a “towel” (read sheet) and set off for the cabins. A quick change and appointments made for the thai massages and we were ready to bask in the sun and warm water.
Szechenyi Bath

Szechenyi Bath


Szechenyi Bath

Szechenyi Bath


Curt and I in the bath

Curt and I in the bath


All around us were beer bellies in speedos but atleast no one would need to be self-conscious about their body here. The day was spent lounging, people watching and getting massages. Not a bad intro to the city.
Fatal restaurant

Fatal restaurant


The hotel advertised Fatal Restaurant on the Vaci utca so that was our next stop. Don’t ask me why they advertise a restaurant with this name!!! We all got goulash that came with noodles this time and Curt got the local beer.
Dreher beer

Dreher beer


The sun had exhausted us and we were ready to rest and prep for Central Market tomorrow!!!! We were lazy so we got in the rickety elevator and then could not open the door. Just prior to panic levels we rode it back down and up again when the door opened. That will teach me to be lazy.

Posted by ErinDriver 02:36 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

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