"Jo napot, Budapest!" Budapest by mikey_e
Budapest Travel Guide: 7,608 reviews and 17,577 photos
What compelled me to go to Budapest, I will never know. I think it may have been that, having realized everything in Barcelona had gone horribly wrong, I started playing around on Expedia to see where I could go cheaply. The flight to Budapest came up at 81 euro, and I toyed with the idea of going to Budapest, Belgrade and Sarajevo. The crazy idea gradually took shape and became much more realistic and, finally, after seeing the 19th depressing 400 euro a month room in an apartment with 12 people, I decided that vagabonding would be better than living in Barcelona and bought a ticket to Hungary. Whatever my insanity, I was not at all disappointed when I returned to Budapest for the first time in 4 and a half years, and found the city to be just as much fun (although considerably more expensive) than when I had last visited. Hey, even the public transit ride from Ferihegy to Tekesvar was an adventure.
Given that I'm of Eastern European extraction, Eastern European food is always excessively attractive to me. After a month of trying to eat cheaply in Spain, and after seeing the cheaper food prices in Budapest, I sort of lost control and went hog wild consuming anything and everything that looked like something my mother would make at home. I didn't think that my heart would be able to withstand such a cholesterol shock, but evidently genetics has helped predisposition me to a life of fatty, salty foods. During my four days in Budapest, my itinerary was largely molded around the need to visit various restaurants, taverns, cafeterias and markets to stuff myself to the point of bursting. This is, actually, one of the most fun things about Budapest: Hungarians make great food, and love to eat, so it is quite an adventure to try Hungarian cuisine at all levels of the scale, from fancy restaurants to home style establishments to sleazy diners in Mószkvá Ter to the fast food joints in the central market. Remember your lipitor!
Seriously, though, Budapest is one of the three so-called "Imperial Cities" of Central Europe, together with Vienna and Prague, and it easily lives up to this name. One of the things that I love about Budapest is the fact that, despite the very down-to-earth and welcoming feel that is typical of many East European cities (usually due to the people), the Hungarian capital looks like a pompous, elite metropolis populated by the crème of the Imperial administration. Obviously, I'm not talking about the parts of the city built up by the Communists, but certainly the river-side parts of both Buda and Pest and grand and ceremonious, while the gleaming new buildings that are either office towers or shopping malls help to lend a modern sense to the Imperial City's skyline. Budapest is, in sum, a city where all the pleasures of life can be enjoyed, even if it requires buying thirteen different subway tickets for a 20 minute ride.
Francis II Rákóczi (sometimes you see the older spelling, Rákóczy) was one of a long line of proud and brave Hungarian... more travel advice
I have to confess that I didn't think of this earlier, but it does seem rather odd that, for all of the history embodied... more travel advice
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