the low down
(Chain Bridge) over the Danube
What we did: Unfortunately,
Susan spent most of her time in Budapest recovering from an ugly
stomach flu. This, combined with the rain, made our short week
here even shorter, so we really only scratched the surface.
Overall: If you've never been,
it's easy to make the mistake of thinking that Budapest will feel
like a long oppressed Eastern-Bloc country. And of course there
are times when it does make you think of this, but they are rare;
Budapest is a fairly modern city with so much to explore.
Essentials: In general, you
can find things fairly easily here.
Food: In a word…hearty.
Eat here for a few months and you too can try for the shotput
Fast Food Weak Moment: In
the states, we eat at a fast food restaurant about once per year.
But one day, when Susan was home sick, Grace noticed that the
McDonald's at Oktogan advertised ice cream for 50 Forints (about
$.25). It turns out that if you go inside, it costs 100 Forints,
but as long as you buy it through the outside window, it only
costs 50 Forints. Lots of ice cream...no complaints.
Cost of Living: Quite reasonable,
compared with the cost of the rest of Europe.
The view from
the top of St. Stephen's Basilica
Exchange rate: $1 USD = 201
Having an apartment: Our apartment
is in District VI near Oktogan – a big intersection where
it’s easy to catch buses and metros. It’s visited
by tourists, but we’re outside of the normal tourist zone
which is nice.
What's fabulous: The architecture.
And if you love museums, there are more here than you can shake
several sticks at.
Weather: It’s the end
of July/early August and it’s hot and rainy but the weather
is generally good enough to go out and walk around everyday.
Getting around: The trams
around town are great, and cheap. We bought a one-week pass. Strangely,
nobody bothered to check our pass (the whole system operates on
the honor system) until the last day.
Random translations: "Sajnos
nem beszélek magyarul" = "Sorry, I do not speak
Hungarian." For Grace, the easiest trick to remembering this
is to remember the commonly used English phrase: "Sho' nuf,'
I'm not a basilisk; mag wheels rule!"
|Specific places we visited/things we
- Szecheny Ianchid (Chain Bridge): One of many bridges
that connect the Buda and the Pest sides of the city. This
becomes pedestrian-only on some days and is filled up with
a small local market of arts, crafts and food.
Bastion in the Buda Castle District
- Andrassy Street: This beautiful, wide, tree-lined street
is one of our favorite streets in the world! It has cute
little cafes, shops and huge planters full of flowers.
- St. Stephan's Basilica (or St. Istvan’s, in Hungarian)
– Nice, big church with great 360-degree views of
- Buda Castle District – It’s actually sort
of a small town in itself! It’s fun to spend an afternoon
here visiting Fishermen’s Bastion for some great views
of the city and relaxing in one of their cafes (with plenty
of pastries to keep you company).
- Stex: This is a frequently recommended restaurant that
supposedly has good local food. We went, but the food really
wasn't that good and it seemed not very authentic to us.
You can find better.
- Szechenyi Baths: Lots of pools, including some outside
stuff which was nice, sauna, steam room, etc… The
total cost for staying under 2 hours was about $7.50 each
– a pretty good deal.
Check out the budapest
gallery for pix of all the above!