Budapest marked the beginning of our most concentrated visits with friends, where we stayed with a friends at every other location all the way into Turkey. Our Budapest hosts started us off in grand style; they met us at the train station and escorted us back to their apartment in central Budapest. We also had a pleasant surprise – Some our mutual friends along with their daughter, were in town on a road trip. So that first night we all headed out to a nearby restaurant that had a “kids corral” (okay, a kids play area) so that the 6 adults could talk while the 3 children could run and scream in the play area, and generally disrupt most of the other restaurant patrons.
The following day we traveled to Budapest’s most popular tourist destination, Castle Hill, to see the Mathias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion, which was a great vantage point over the “Buda” area of Budapest; apparently long ago there were two separate and distinct cities on opposite sides of the (Danube) river, Buda and Pest…. And you’re welcome for this bit of arcane Hungarian history. After experiencing Castle Hill, and the ORIGINAL Hungarian funnel cake, we headed back down the hill to the central market (souk) for a stroll through a flea market – Budapest style offering everything from cow heads to gypsy dresses. After a solid morning of tourist work, we headed back for nap time.
After nap time we ventured back into the city to take in some famous cathedrals and relaxed at a wine bar in the shadow of the Cathedral before walking 25 meters next door for dinner (and then an additional 50 meters for after dinner ice cream) before heading in for the night.
All in all it was a good trip, although it was possibly the first city where we really were a little disappointed we only had two nights (which meant only one full day) to see all the sights.
Guidebook – For the next leg of our trip we used Fodor’s Eastern and Central Europe
. We don’t’ normally use books that cover such a wide area because it means they only cover the cities; but in this case that was all we were covering as well. We occasionally hit an area not in the book but overall it was a perfect fit. It was great only having to carry around one book for more than 2 weeks of travel. For travel in Europe Fodor’s travel books are our go-to.
Transportation – We arrived by train, and as normal it was a great way to travel. Once in the city we travel vie the Metro mostly. Most of the lines we took were above ground tram style cars. Everything was very clean and easy to use.
Castle Hill – This is the main tourist draw, and the area that houses many of the most historic sites; such as Mathias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. Each site has its own admission, line and tickets. – Must See!
Central Market – This was a nice little stop during an extra hour we had. Compared to some of the other markets we’ve visited in Europe though it’s not on the top of the list. – If time allows