A Travellerspoint blog

Buda!

semi-overcast 82 °F
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We were good Catholic girls yesterday and went to mass. Too bad we couldn't understand any of it. Sam said she understood 2 words: "Yesukristus" and "misterio." I didn't understand any of it.

After mass, we decided to cross the Danube and head over to Buda, since we had only been in Pest so far. We took the metro and then a bus over there. I really liked Buda. Unlike Pest, which is flat, Buda has hills and is a more residential area. Also in Buda is Castle Hill, where there is a ton of cool stuff to see. Thankfully it wasn't crazy hot anymore so we were able to enjoy the area.

Castle Hill was completely overtaken by tourists, so it was actually a bit hard to walk around the tiny streets. We saw a beautiful church with a green tiled roof called Matthias Church. We also went into the Military Museum, which was nice but a bit confusing. We saw everything out of order because there were no signals telling you which way to go and only part of the exhibit had English explanations, so I'm sure we missed out on a lot.

After that, we walked towards the Palace, which houses 2 museums. We were too tired to go inside by then, but had fun people watching and staring at the beautiful palace. Instead of taking the bus down towards the river, we decided to take the funicular. I wasn't too impressed. It was really hard to see the view down the hill and the ride was super short.

Back in Pest we met up with our hostel friends and bought tickets to see a chamber music concert at St. Stephen's. The concert was pretty good, but the acoustics were weird and the seats were very uncomfortable. We've come to the conclusion that there are no comfortable seats or chairs anywhere in this city!

By the time we made it back to the hostel we were very tired and hungry. We were able to find Chinese food, but it had no soy sauce. Instead, my sesame chicken had paprika in it! The Australians were gone and the hostel is now full of a lot of girls. The girls took over the common room and we all watched a girly movie: The Absolute Truth.

Posted by wetabixkid 13:34 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Staying Cool in Budapest

sunny 98 °F

Brenda here! (just for you Aileen)

After a really, really hot night we were pretty much forced to get up because of the heat. Practically everyone got up even though most of us were still sleepy from the night before. But it was impossible to sleep because of the heat and lack of air.

We got off to a slow start and decided to check out one of the many baths here in Budapest. We headed over there with the two girls from the hostel we met the night before for a nice girls day away from the heat and rowdy men.

The baths were awesome! Although there were options to go into the steam rooms or get massages, we opted to just pay the regular fare and have access to the different pools and tubs. First, we went into small-ish tubs that were different temperatures. There was a room temperature one, a really hot one, and a cold one. It was fun going from the hot one to the cold one because you could feel your skin tingling.

After that, we headed outside where they have the bigger pools. These were also different temperatures and we went into all of them (even the super hot ones) because we wanted to try them all out. In one of the pools they had like a faster and smaller version of the lazy river. It was a small circle around the center of the pool where jets pushed you really fast.

After the baths, Sam and I headed over to the river front. We kind of dreaded leaving the baths and heading out into the awful heat again, but we had more places to see! When we made it to the bank of the Danube, we found a music festival going on there where they also sold food and little souveniers. It was nice to just sit there for a while and listen to the music.

On our way back to the hostel, we stopped by St. Stephens to check out the church. It"s really big and completely covered in marble inside. Then, we headed back to the hostel to rest for a little while before heading over to the river cruise.

The Danube river cruise was very relaxing. We went with an Argentenian girl from the hostel and ran into an Indian lady we had met at the Communist tour. The four of us had a table to ourselves and enjoyed drinks while enjoying the Danube and Budapest at night.

All in all we had a great day despite the awful heat!

Posted by wetabixkid 10:28 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Hot Hot Hungary

sunny 95 °F

We slept pretty well on the night train as I said on the last post and got to Budapest at around 11:30 a.m. We were very eager to get to an atm and make sure our cards finally worked. Unfortunately there were no atms at the train station which was very inconvenient. Plus it was scorching hot!!!!

We ended up exchanging some Romanian lei to Hungarian florints at the change station in order to have money to get to the hostel. We took the metro and then a tram and then walked a short distance to the hostel. Surprisingly we didn't get lost this time haha.

When we got to the hostel we were almost dead of heat stroke. Imagine Miami in the summer but no air conditioner anywhere. The receptionist was very nice and tried to explain to us about a bunch of sights and things to do but all we wanted was a shower. After very cold showers she recommended a nice Hungarian restaurant nearby. First though we had to head to the atm. Luckily our cards both worked and we jumped for joy, yay!! We rushed to the restaurant and had a great lunch!! The people here are also very nice and more of them speak English. I think it's because even though Hungarian uses the latin alphabet it's still completely incomprehensible.

After lunch we headed to a nearby square where there was a meeting point for a free walk about communism in Hungary. The walk lasted 2.5 hours and was very informative. Our guide was awesome and very knowledgeable. We learned all about what life was like in Budapest during communist rule under the iron curtain.

After the walk we headed back to the hostel to rest for a bit. The hostel owner organizes pub crawls some nights and the receptionist had told us there might be one that night. We met some nice people at the hostel. There was a big group of Australian guys who were of course very rowdy but they were very friendly and nice. We also met a nice girl from England and an American girl that was teaching in Romania and was on a short holiday in Budapest.

We left for the pub crawl at around 10:00. Gabriel the owner took us to two pubs nearby and they were pretty cool. A lot of pubs here are housed in old run down buildings so it gives it some atmosphere. After the pubs he suggested we go to this island in the Danube River that is home to many nightclubs. We all jumped in some cabs and headed over there. The clubs were very nice but the music was pretty bad. It was all eastern european house music which believe me it's not like miami house music. It's pretty much robotic thumping music. We also went to a latin club but again the music was pretty bad. Very old salsa and merengue songs haha.

We ended up going back to the first club and just had a nice time talking with our hostel friends and did some robotic dancing as well. All in all it was a great time!

Posted by stanncie 00:51 Archived in Hungary Comments (0)

Last day in Bucharest and moving on to Budapest

sunny 86 °F

Sam checking in! Sorry for the delay but we've just been to busy to update. We are now in Budapest Hungary but I'll tell you a little bit of what we did on our last day in Bucaresti.

As we explained we had to leave Romania earlier than expected due to the bank issue.

We slept in after the stress of the day before and had a pretty good breakfast at the hostel. Then, we went around the city a bit mainly this plaza where a lot of people died during the revolution in Romania that happened in 1989. We also went around the ruin of the old princely court where the romanian monarchs lived many centuries ago. Overall we had a nice time people watching and checking out the sights.

We were relieved that we had a plan to move on and resolve the whole money issue but sad that we couldn't see more of Romania

Overall impressions:

Bucaresti is a very modern city and there's lots of stylish people walking around, some parts even look like major European cities or new york

Men here like to wear very short shorts lol

Women here get manicures and pedicures often unlike other cities in Europe

There's lots to see here and the people are extremely helpful and nice even if they don't speak English at all.

At around 7 we headed to the train station to catch our train to Budapest which was a 15 hour ride. The sleeping car on this train was much nicer than the Bulgarian train. We had the cabin to ourselves and the beds were much bigger. Also the passport control for the border happened at around 6 a.m. which allowed us to have a good night sleep finally!

On to Budapest!!!

Posted by stanncie 14:40 Archived in Romania Comments (0)

Problems in Romania

Good-bye Romania ='(

sunny 90 °F
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After an annoying train ride, we finally arrived in Bucharest. Sadly for us, everything went wrong from there. First, we couldn't use our ATM cards to get money, so we had to exchange Euros (thankfully we had some of these!). Then, we couldn't find the bus we needed to take to get to the hostel. We ended up taking the subway. The subway was very nice, actually, and pretty modern.

When we finally got to the hostel our room wasn't ready yet because it was very early in the morning. We decided we might as well do some sightseeing, since we couldn't call the bank (because it was 1 AM in Miami). We saw Parliment Palace, which is the second largest government building in the world after the Pentagon. Ceau┼čescu started building it in the 1980s. The building is huge and the interiors are made almost entirely of marble. He was a Communist dictator who was a little crazy. He was overthrown during the revolution and assassinated before the building was completed. The tour was pretty good, but our tour guide was a little dry and we think she was a Communist!

After that, we had some lunch and tried to resolve the bank problem. We were like crazy people walking around Bucharest, trying to find calling cards that can be used on public phones. These were very difficult to find and we ended up walking almost the entire city looking for them. Even when we finally had some, they only lasted for a short time and we used them up while we were put on hold.

As you can imagine, we were very frustrated and decided to go back to the hostel to ask for help. The hostel host told us about an international card we could buy that lasted for about an hour. So, out we went again looking for the card. We were able to find it, but it didn't work on the public phones. We managed to get the hostel host to lend us the hostel phone, but by that time it was noon in Miami and the waiting time was very long. We felt bad using the hostel phone because there is only one line and people that were calling the hostel couldn't get through.

I finally had the idea to try an online chat with the bank. Ultimately, we were told that Romania is a blocked country, which means we cannot use the bank card here at all! We were pissed off because the bank hadn't told us this when we called to let them know we would be traveling to Eastern Europe.

What all this means, is that we've had to drastically change our itinerary and we're leaving Romania tonight. We're heading over to Budapest earlier than expected and plan to spend about 4 days there before we head over to some lake towns in Hungary. These towns are supposed to be great summer escapes.

We're sad to leave Romania so unexpectedly and without going to Transylvania, which was our main destination. But, we're excited to see more of Hungary, Poland, and the other countries we planned on visiting.

Oh yeah! Our hostel in Bucharest is right in front of the French embassy and they had a huge party there last night for Bastille Day. The embassy was completely covered in French flags and there was police and military security all over the street. It was fun to see all the diplomats coming through!

Posted by wetabixkid 01:09 Archived in Romania Comments (5)

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