Krakow to Katowice 2 hours, then after a 1 hour wait, 6 and a 1/2 hours in a sleeper over night leaves you 82 euros light in the wallet and standing on the platform at Budapest, Hungary and a short time later I was able to drop off my bags at East Side Hostel my home for the next three days and get a look at the local surroundings
Sitting in the hostel this morning with the blisters on my feet hurting and realised I have not said much about Budapest or posted many pictures - the reason for this is that I have been using my camera here as the architecture is amazing and the camera lasts longer than the iPhone battery which seems to run out just when I want to take a picture.
Budapest is made up of two cities Buda which is set on one side of the Danube and is on hills and Pest which is to the other side and a flat area.
Perched on the top of the hills of Buda overlooking the Danube which can be reached by a walk up the steep banks or by Funicular for a few Florins.
At the top you will find Buda Castle, also known as The Royal Palace,
The Fishermans Bastion magnificent from the river find the cafe on the turret and sit and watch the boats go by with a Coffee or a Beer.
Sometimes if your lucky there are surprises to be experienced like this falconer and his bird.
All of this splendour looking down across The chain Bridge to the magnificent Parliament Building on the river bank
and to the skyline of Pest showing St Stephens Basilica (free to enter and where you can see the arm of the saint in a box), The Great Synagogue, not free to enter and only at set times, The Opera House where shows are still put on and if your lucky tickets can be purchased and finally The Central Market well worth a visit for the atmosphere and cheap fruits and souvenirs, however, the first floor food court not cheap and not so healthy.
Further down the river on the Pest side you will find Gellert Hill, atop which you will find The Citadel, where if you brave the climb you will get one of the best views across the city and make sure you see the caves which I ran out of time to see but worth a visit.
From The Chain Bridge you must find the time to head all the way up Andrassy Avenue to Heros' Square which commemorates the freedom of Hungary but take my advice and take a bus.
Allow plenty of time to explore here as The Square is bordered on both sides by The Budapest City Park, also known as Városliget Park,which used to be a royal hunting ground but now is home to. Originally the castle was built from wood as part Vajdahunyad Castle of an exhibition over 100 years ago, it was such a success it was later built of stone and is a great place to wander round it even has a lake.
There is also a Zoo in the park although I didn't go in. I took a picture of the entrance and right nearby is the largest Spa in Budapest, Széchenyi thermal bath which is well worth a visit if just for a couple of hours.
If you want time out from all the hustle and bustle of the city take a boat ride on the Danube it is are very cheap you can even get a 24 hour hop on hop off for about 10 euro and you will find yourself passing by the Island that lies in the middle of the Danube River called Margaret Island. This Island can be approached from either Margaret Bridge and make sure you do not make the mistake of not bothering to visit or you will be disappointed.
On the Island, at the entrance you will be met with all forms of transport for hire from a leisurely bike to a vintage car the cost is reasonable and you can hire by the hour and off you go.
The first sight you encounter is the fountain that is going 24 hours a day and every hour there is a sound and light show totally free and well worth a look especially at night. There is a map available with numerous routes and it is easy to cover it all in an hour if you want to rush.
There is an open air pool, numerous ruin sites to explore, a cafe if you get tired, private houses and Hotels, A Rose Garden to admire, Wild Birds to see in aviaries and last but not least a Japanese Garden to rest up in.
The Nightlife is varied in Budapest with most of the entertainment on the Pest side. The one thing you will want to experience is a night in a "Ruin Bar" There are a number of these bars scattered around but the place to look is in the Jewish quarter behind The Synagogue start at the best known Szimpla Kert. A Ruin Bar is a quirky bar or bars set up in dilapidated premises with each trying to outdo the other with outrageous ideas. There is a room in one where you can lie down in bathtubs and smoke a hookah pipe, Hey Ho whatever. This link should help you make to make your mind up. https://www.offbeatbudapest.com/top10/best-ruin-bars-budapest/
Another site you might like to take in is the living memorial which is an unusual memorial dedicated to the way in which the Hungarian Government tried to lay the blame for a lot of the atrocities solely at the feet of the Nazi whereas they sided with Germany in two wars and had to shoulder some of the responsibility which this memorial has turned into. As you walk at the water there is sensor that causes the water to drop and you can enter as well as return after. It is regularly vandalised but volunteers always make sure it is kept up.
I have since i wrote my first blog about Budapest back in 2015, returned to Budapest on other occasions, the last time in October 2019 as I find this to be one of my favourite cities and I have updated this post with things I have found new.
There are many fabulous food shops, however I find that the costs are increasing since my last visit and Budapest is no longer the cheap place to visit I remember although there are still bargains to be had.
This time I managed to get a tour of the inside of the Parliament building which tour mags all say you can book yourself but I think you have to go via an agent or you will wait forever for a ticket, fear not it is not too expensive and worth the price of the 28 euro ticket that includes hotel pick up and a 1 hour guided tour or you can just look at my pictures for nothing.
I stayed in a different part of Budapest this time behind the Parliament building which I found to be perfect for walking everywhere and although a bit late I also found out that all transport for over 65's in Budapest is free as long as you show proof of age. Oh well better late than never I suppose.
I must have walked most of the two cities now called Budapest and I could wax lyrical for ages but I will pop a few pictures on here to give you some idea of other sights you will see as you visit and foods you may enjoy, until the next time.
I didn't forget the food and nor should you