Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold

We drove far, through mist and rain and snow and mountains. We drove through three countries, sang a lot of songs, and discussed a lot of things. And then we finally, finally reached it: Budapest.

T’was a long journey. But t’was worth it – read on for more details and more or less blurry/beautiful pictures.

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You know Ezra Miller’s song “Budapest”? It was playing on New Year’s Eve, and Frodo and I joked that we needed to go to Budapest – and here we are! Who would have thought?

Why Budapest? Well, the song, for starters. But also because we don’t know all that much about Eastern Europe, except for the fact that most countries there are a lot cheaper than Western countries. So we thought, why the hell not? It’s been a while since we went anywhere, we got time, and, miraculously, just enough money for a cheap trip. It was an easy decision to make.

We were foolish enough to believe that it would be a good idea to get there by car. After all, it was only supposed to be a six-and-a-half-hour-drive, and cheaper than the bus or the train.

But guess what? Horrible idea. Horrible, horrible idea. We drove in circles for hours because there was road work, no signs, and the GPS was freaking out on us and kept sending us back in circles. Since we had to drive through the Czech Republik, Slovakia and a part of Hungary, we had to pay at the borders. And when we finally got to Budapest, we realized how f*cking expensive parking is. So, pro tip: do not drive to Budapest by car.

The rest of the trip was fantastic. The hostel was amazing (it’s called Essentials Hostel, it’s in the middle of the city, it’s cheap,  cozy, friendly and helpful staff), and the city is beautiful.

First thing we did was walk around Castle Hill, visiting Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion.

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The view from up there is fantastic – if you ever find yourself in Budapest, go to Fisherman’s Bastion, and look around. Especially if the weather is nice.

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You can look over the entire city.

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And it’s beautiful to look at, even if you don’t feel like going inside Matthias Church. The Bastion is for free, by the way.

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We went in, and it’s a very pretty church. I’d post more pictures, but this is the least blurry one I got, so I decided not to hurt your eyes any more.

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It rained on day 2, so we went to Gellért Bath, which is wonderful, but we’d recommend any other of the thermal baths in the city (it’s got a lot of those), because this one is expensive, and the best baths are outside. It was way too cold to go for a swim outside, so we didn’t.

Day 3 we spent walking around the other side of the Danube, visited Basilica of Saint Stephen – the view from the tower is fantastic!

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Steep stairs, though, so if you don’t like those, you might want to consider taking the elevator.

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Totally worth it, though!

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There’s a monument to Hungarian Jews shot and thrown into the Danube by members of the fascist Arrow Cross Party in 1944; it’s called Shoes on the Danube, and it’s pretty much in front of the Parliament – definitely worth a look. Not that you could miss it if you walk up the Danube.

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We also went to see the Parliament, but only from the outside. It was too beautiful a day to spend inside.

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It’s an absolutely beautiful building.

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The last day we spent riding a Hop On Hop Off Bus, because we were tired.

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We started at Heroes’ Square.

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Look, it’s Gabriel! Although we can’t see the resemblance… sorry Richard Speight, Jr.

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This is the Great Synagoge, which we also wanted to visit – but, idiots that we are, we forgot that it was Saturday, and that it was closed. So much for that. But hey, gotta keep it interesting for the next time!

There was one other thing we wished we had visited: the House of Terror, which is a museum of sorts dedicated to the Uprising in October 1956. But we didn’t really have the time or motivation for it… Maybe next time.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip! Bit cold, but that was okay. The weather was okay, too, and since it wasn’t high season or whatever, the hostel and stuff was a lot cheaper. Amazing first vacation of the year!

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