Hello Ladies & Gentlemen,
Today, I had the pleasure of attending a Budapest free city walking tour followed by a tour of the Buda Castle Labyrinth, it was good times. Sure I’ve hated on free walking tours in the past and guess what, I probably will again in the future. This one was different, it was actually quite cool. The above photo is the first non communist commissioned statue. “The Princess”.
Woke up early and these 4 ladies from the USA had come in, they were going on a tour. I was going to go for a walk so decided it was a perfect match. Arrived at the meeting spot and the guides were cool. I think this is the *major* factor in whether or not you’ll enjoy a tour. The lady in Prague looked ghastly boring. In fact, I saw another tour going later and it looked boring, anyways.
We checked out lots of things, here is some of the tidbits I picked up on… The city was Buda and Pest and later got combined to become “Budapest”. The divider is the river that runs between the two sections. Buda is easy to get lost in as it’s old school road structure, Pest is on grids and the country loves the guy who founded it. Supposedly if you lose your ID card you need to fill out 2 forms at police office because they have no photocopier. Your average person here earns ~500E a month after tax. The tax goes as high as 46% here, it’s on the Scandinavian code or whatever. Also they are about the same on the world development scale as Uruguay. The whole transition from Communism occurred ~20 years ago so she said that it’s their grandchildren who will be living in a “sorted out place”. FYI ~60% of the income around here comes from tourism, travel accordingly.
The hero is this first King Stephen who brought Christianity in 1000A.D and as a result ~65% of the population is Christian. Someone asked what would have happened had he not brought it, she said they would have lost their land. Looks like it happened anyways. They backed the Germans in WWI and lost a lot of land, then again backed them in WWII and again lost even more land. Also the entire royal palace was looted and basically burned so it’s now just a boring museum according to the guide lady.
The parliament is the 3rd largest in the world, it`s basically like some other countries except the architect added 1m to make it bigger, ha. The church and parliament are same height as they have the `same power` and no other buildings can be taller. There are also a few famous inventions from here but they elude me, one was the hologram, yeah they elude me.
After that, myself, the US ladies, another US lady and a gent from Canada hit up the labyrinth under the Buda Castle. It was cool and it was used for many things including a bomb shelter for as many as 10,000 people and darker things like torture and prison when the “Commies” came in. The catacombs, labyrinth whatever was cool and there is even a wine fountain, supposedly it’s NOT for consumption though, tasted watered down anyways so don’t bother.
I think the walk was good for the old cough, the labyrinth, not so much. Whenever I’m sick, this whimsical whacky world has a way of bringing me in touch with a nurse. She gave me some reminders and suggestions and basically I’m going to “lay low” for a while, ya heard?
Went to a local cafeteria that is out of the eyes of the tourist traps and had some traditional Hungarian food. Don’t get goulash, everyone makes it and there are other dishes that are more “Hungarian” like potato soup, mushroom soup, spinach stew, lamb stew with potatoes or dumplings. The dumplings reminded me of what my ex gf’s mom used to make. Wish I had ordered some but I had limited Hungarian coin on me and they don’t take euros.
Always ask the price when ordering wine or they will get you in on a 6E meal and give you a 95E bottle, for real. Also I asked about all the Mercedes and BMW cabs, what the deal was. She said those are the ones you see driving around the TOURIST areas in Europe and they only have them because they rip tourists off. Always negotiate a price and never trust the meter, never thought of that, did you? Then we see them in a sick ride and assume they are more trustworthy, hmmmmmm.
Tonight at 10PM there is a free Indie Rock Concert in the Deaktor subway stop aka downtown. There is a massive fountain with glass bottom and underneath it, a massive club with a glass ceiling. All free to get in. The Jewish district is also supposedly great for dinner and amazing pubs, no cover required. She said there is no reason whatsoever to do a pub crawl in this city, told you she was cool. They also have a massive theater but the acoustics suck so no composer has ever played there twice. As a result it’s mainly rented out for raves and techno parties.
Finally, this city is considered quite “safe”. So safe that many people walk around all over at night, I think part of it is the “grid system” you can spot enemies and weirdos a long way away and always have an exit every block. Also the Prime Minister of Hungary works right near the royal palace and there is no security, anywhere. He just walks out and jumps in his car like anyone else.
Funny how so many say going overseas is so “dangerous”. Lots of people should compare their backyards on a global scale before making such blanketed and often false assumptions.
Update: Found a place in the Jewish quarters where you can get a large pint for ~1E, I felt like I was at The Jam in Lagos, ok, not really but kinda. Also had a great meal for under 10E. Say good day to the crew as I have health issues to attend to. Now I’m sitting here with two nice French girls from Paris. If you’re playing Hostel Roulette your best bet is to never get empty, reason is that every night there is something going on, one must choose their battles wisely.
Flick of the cap,
P.S: These cars below, you had to be on a waiting list to get. They were total garbage with 21 horsepower but if you had one, it was the bomb because you couldn’t buy things, only what was given to you. No gas outlet, you had to mix oil and gas and pour into engine and check with a stick. Also it was made out of a cardboard composite basically, yeah!!!
P.P.S: As someone from North America I find it hard to relate to the hardships these people have suffered. We’re lucky for too many reasons to mention, for real.