Archive for the ‘Hungary’ Category

Budapest: The City That Doesn’t Care

August 24, 2011 - 1:37 am No Comments

Like Vienna, Budapest is an expansive city with an indiscernible historical center, so seeing all the highlights means a lot of walking. And I walked my ass off today.

Frank and I started our day by heading into the Soviet Bloc subway and going to the Great Market Hall, a huge indoor marketplace on the south side of the city.

Train 345 (more…)

Vienna to Budapest

August 22, 2011 - 11:58 pm No Comments

Another amazingly smooth ride. It’s almost silent, except on turns, when it sounds like a dragon is being tortured underneath us. This particular train had screens with maps that tell you how fast you’re moving (140 km/h, or 87 mph).

All the travel coordinated by Tomi has saved us a considerable amount of time and stress. Along the way, we’ve met other tourists who agonize over train schedules and complicated bookings. It’s nice not worrying about any of that. My favorite part is when we’re riding the train and Tomi jumps up to save us from a ticket inspector charging through the car and barking at people in a foreign language.

We glided over the unmarked Hungarian border, past herds of giant wind turbines, through the hills of Buda, over the Danube, and into the business district of Pest (pronounced “pesht”), which in 1873 officially merged with Buda to become the larger city known as Budapest.

Taxi drivers and tourist operators were waiting for us at the door of the train to offer us rooms and rides. Lots of aggressive shouting by locals with darker skin immediately gave Budapest more of a Middle Eastern feel than any of the other places we’ve been to, which makes sense since we’re now a bit closer to that part of the world. From looks to language to food, there are shades of difference between each country we’re visiting, and it’s fascinating how it all blends together.

Budapest Keleti Railway Station (more…)