I had bought tickets to Budapest yesterday after debating whether or not I should go to Prague or Budapest for almost a week. I finally decided on Budapest because of the long history between Budapest and Austria. My visit to the royal furniture museum where they were showing film clips of Empress Sisi (originally from Hungary and who negotiated the Austria-Hungary compromise) kind of sealed my decision.
My visit has taught me various things. The least of which is that I really really should do some homework before visiting a strange city. I didn’t know that they still use the Hungarian Forint (ok, I sort of guessed) so I neglected to change any currency. Thankfully I had brought along my ATM card. I guess paying the random fees imposed by the bank is better than me wandering around Budapest penniless.
Second of all, I need to seriously acquire a sense of direction. Or at the very least the ability to listen to directions. I took a bus 7 as directed by the information office (they kind of suck by the way) and ended up in some strange industrial wasteland. Turns out I had taken the bus in the wrong direction. I had to take the bus back. I nearly got off at the train station again to take the metro instead since I know for sure that it goes downtown until some kind stranger saw that I was staring very intently at the tourist guidebook and told me that I was finally headed in the right direction.
Then I kind of walked around but realised I had no clue as to what I was doing. Much fun as it was to walk around randomly in Bratislava, I was under the distinct impression that Budapest is a lot bigger than Bratislava and well, the damm train journey took 3 hours and I’m going to see everything dammit, even if its only a cursory glance. So I forked over the 4000 forints for a tour bus. Ended up eating at restaurant that seems to have the devil as its mascot. Kind of funny really especially since the restaurant was located in the infamous Castle district with a beautiful castle (you know those disney princess movies? I swear that the cartoonists got their inspirations from these castles) as its main draw along with the cathedrals that are a part of its landscape. But then again, I guess Hungary does have a rather rich history of gypsies and ‘pagenism’.
After a couple of hours wandering around town, I decided to catch an early train back to Vienna. I was exhausted and hot and the idea of getting back to my dorm super late at night on a weekend wasn’t entirely appealing. A good thing too since just about everyone on the tram back tonight was drunk. I was actually hit on by an aspiring oral surgeon on the train back from Budapest. He looked old enough to be my father! sigh.