I’m writing the draft to this post while sipping on some cappuccino at the airport. I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually post it – hopefully soon!*
It’s Friday and I have three (and a half) lovely days behind me. To be honest, I don’t know why it took me so long, considering that I’m so into Hungary.
Flights are cheap: a couple of low-cost airlines fly to Budapest from most major Scandinavian cities. I’m flying Ryan Air this time, and I don’t really mind it, even though the service on the plane isn’t good. The schedule is perfect: even though it takes me ages to get to the airport from my house (ferry 2,5 hrs –> bus 1 hr –> bus 1,5 hrs) I manage to squeeze the whole journey into one day. Transportation is easy in Budapest, but as my toes will tell you – you don’t really need to use any type of public transport if you plan on staying in the city centre. I used public transportation three times in five days: to get from and to the airport and to go to the bath.
The city centre is very touristic: and it’s OK. It wasn’t until I met up with a Hungarian friend that I saw some places that weren’t overcrowded with Italian teenagers. Of course, meeting a friend I haven’t seen for 8 years was one of the best parts of the trip: and better even, we still got along really well and had lots of things to talk about.
Accommodation in Budapest is cheap. I decided to stay in a hostel because I was travelling alone and this way I’d meet some new people. The hostel I stayed at was located very centrally and it was cheap. The staff were really nice, too. They arranged a wine tasting evening, and some locals were also invited, which was great.
How about the language? Hungarian isn’t easy, and more importantly, it doesn’t look like anything else. Most signs in the city centre were in English as well as in Hungarian, and most people did speak at least a little bit English. Knowing some Hungarian is a plus, of course.
What can you do? I spent most of my time walking (my toes are still sore!!!), drinking coffee and socializing. I could have seen more and I could have done plenty more, but I like it this way – I’m planning on going back soon so there really was no need to rush. My plan to write at coffee shops didn’t really pan out, there wasn’t enough time for that. I would definitely recommend the thermal baths, though. There are several in the city: we went to Szeczenyi at Varosliget (the city park), which has huge outdoor pools. The day we went there was very sunny and warm, so we were able to start working on our tans. Shopping would be an option: as any other big city, Budapest has a lot to offer. For once I managed to stay out of the shops, though. I just bought a skirt because it was too hot to wear trousers one day
The one downside was the beggars. First of all I’m personally not used to seeing them at all, so it was quite troubling. Secondly they could get quite intimidating when approaching a girl who was on her own.. Apart from this I felt safe in the city.
I know quite a few Hungarians from before and in general I feel very comfortable with them – maybe we have a similar mentality? I didn’t experience any rudeness: most people were helpful and polite. And yes, what they say about Hungarian women is true – they are sooo very pretty (gosh, I wish I were a Hungarian woman ).
*this post is published the same day it was written. I’m sitting on the ferry, longing for a shower! Wow, this has been a long day.