Part One: A Look at Budapest

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“Who here is in love, raise your hands.” Anna the tour guide asks and glances around. I giggle at the sight of women glancing sideways at who I guess are their partners (can I put my hand up? Is he?) and am reminded of a t-shirt I once read: Don’t worry guys. We have that premature “I love you” that happens. It’s just as embarrassing.

Oh hey now, flashback in a flashback! Sixteen. Said “I love you.” He said “thank you.” Damn.

Am I old enough yet to say ohhhh, high school… I think so. Pretty sure I’ve grown more into a Golden Girl than a Gossip Girl. Or Gilmore Girl.

But back to romantic, grown-up girl Europe.

“This is the love fence. If you are in love, and you come here, you write or etch the initials of you and your love on a lock, put it on this fence and throw the key in the Danube River. Then you and your love will be together forever.

Maybe you think you love him but you’re not sure, maybe just a romance? So maybe you buy combination lock instead.”

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Arrived in Budapest yesterday morning. Slept great on the train, probably because being alone in the dark, cold Brasov train station scared the junk out of me. But arrived in Budapest, caught the city bus to the Ferenciek Tere square… Only knew I was there when a teenage boy tapped me on the shoulder and said Ferenciek Tere is the next stop. I laughed and said how did you know?

Smile. “You’re holding a paper with directions, I peeked over your shoulder. The green gate to the hostel is across the street, just take the metro tunnel under.”

I never would have seen that green gate.

It would be four more hours before I put it together the time had changed between Romania and Hungary, so I wasn’t just trying to check in early, I was annoyingly trying to check in early. But I did, and I handed over everything I owned in a massive bag of laundry to the receptionist and the equivalent of $8 with a “this is so exciting.”

And then I walked. Buda and Pest (pronounced Pescht) used to be separate cities, but were combined approximately 150 years ago to be the capital of Hungary. I’m staying on the Pest side – flat, where all the business districts, parks, most visitable places are. You go to the Buda side to live if you’re rich, to climb hills to the palace and cathedral, and to eat too expensive food. Also to visit the courtyard where Katy Perry shot the video for Firework last year. Pictures below are of the “Chain Bridge” linking Buda and Pest, and the Parliament building.

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Walked a long time yesterday, had the cheapest Chinese food for lunch, walked more, walked more, got a headache, headed home. Went back out last night, sans camera. The city is absolutely gorgeous. Don’t have night photos, but lunch was great.

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Today, I was up and out for the 10:30a.m. free walking tour. These really are amazing. Tip-based, the guides are locals, not affiliated with the government, they’ll tell you everything, good and bad. History, politics, ways to avoid tourist traps, cute local stories, problems. They are so much fun, and three hours later you’ve tipped the equivalent of $5-10 for an incredible amount of “infotainment.” They’re perfect for me – my eyes tend to glaze over in museums, I don’t read history books, I’m just a poor student in that regard. But after today’s tour, I can point out which architecture stye is communist era (everything ugly, gray, square, undecorated), and what came before or has been redone after. Pretty cool.

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99 thoughts on “Part One: A Look at Budapest”

      1. You’re going to LOVE it. Make sure to walk Margaret Island, between the two sides. It is absolutely gorgeous. You can see it in the Ellipses and (ink) post.

        Thank you!

    1. I’ve loved it here too! Spent a few days, have a few posts with pictures from here. I was blown away by the beauty of the bridges last night. Thank you!

  1. Your photos are just gorgeous! I wouldn’t necessarily think that the photo of the Chinese food is gorgeous, but it certainly look delicious! ;)

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!!

    1. Thank you!! Freshly Pressed… What a fun surprise. Budapest is gorgeous. I’d skip to my next three posts for a glance at pictures. The scenery is amazing.

      And the Chinese food is great – though now I have to defend the fact that I’m backpacking for four months… Every once in awhile you go with something cheap you know!

    1. I am having a fantastic time – one third of my way through a four month backpacking tour. Stories and photos everyday, please follow along!

      Thank you for your nice words. FP- how crazy is that? I’m thrilled.

  2. I have longed to go to Budapest ever since I heard that it used to be two cities and went searching on the internet for proof. After encountering a few photos, I was hooked. I fear that it will always be just a dream, though, so it’s nice to come across posts like yours, where I can visit vicariously. I enjoyed your pictures greatly.

    1. If you love the two cities concept, I urge you to check out my latest post (Sweet Dreams)… Budapest has the most gorgeous bridges. Thank you for your comment, I hope you follow along this little journey of mine!

    1. I’m having such a great time, and am only one third through my four months of backpacking. Thank you so much for your nice note, please continue to follow along if you’re interested!

  3. Great pictures, I saw a bridge with locks like that on it in Cologne last year. Budapest is a lovely city have been there a few times.

    1. I love the love locks!!! Such a romantic, simple idea. Traveling for six weeks (about ten to go) has opened my eyes to such neat things. Thank you for your comment!

    1. Hah! Thanks Katherine. Your comment cracked me up. It would be a bummer to look like a Golden Girl at 22. :) Take a peek at the other posts and I do hope you come along for this journey of mine – another two and a half months to go!

  4. Hey, I really like your writing style and the quotations from people you’ve met really bring it to life. Your love fence post made me laugh too. Budapest is a beautiful city. Enjoy!

    1. That is such a really nice, appreciated comment. Thank you so much. I hope you continue to follow along – I’m looking for stories like these everyday for the next three months, and when I get back home as well. Thank you for your kind words.

    1. Thanks Amanda!!! I hate to PR my own posts… But please, if you love Budapest, check out the photos in the next few posts. Budapest is absolutely gorgeous. Night is amazing.

  5. Great post and love your photos. Am putting on our course blog (we run a travel and tourism programme in Dunedin, New Zealand) for students to read – hopefully will motivate them even more to travel

    1. Wow! Thank you for the share! I update almost everyday and am independently traveling for the next three months, I hope your students follow if they are interested!

  6. If you have enough time, come to Debrecen too. It is the second biggest city of Hungary, and long ago it was a capital of Hungary (two times). But I almost forget… I have to mention that Debrecen has the most beautiful face in August. Especially 20th August – Flower festival. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debrecen

  7. Stumbled on your blog as I was about to look at my blog’s stats :) My grandmother emigrated from Hungary and I have always wanted to go. I recently discovered her birth certificate and that she was from Olscva (northeastern area) Have you been to that area? Great photos on your blog-it looks beautiful!

    1. Go!!! It is amazing! And so wonderful to walk at night… Very romantic. I loved taking shots of the bridges last night. Take a peek at “Sweet Dreams in Budapest…” and then start planning your trip!

  8. Budapest is one of the cities I love the most in the entire world! I lived there only for a few weeks but kept coming back each chance I got. I also lived for two years in Romania so I’ll check the previous entries :)
    Enjoy Budapest, enjoy Hungary.. Oh so many tips I’d love to give you! Just keep avoiding tourist traps and use local -college age- people to ask for infotainment, they wont charge one florint and know just the best places to eat (chinese? really? come on! indulge yourself!), drink, learn and have fun.

    Have a ton of fun!!!

    1. Hahaha. I know, I know. But I’ll defend myself by saying I’m backpacking for four months, every once in awhile you go with something cheap you know! :)

    1. It’s beautiful. Beautiful! Can’t wait to check out your photography… Will when I’m not on a train using somebody’s Internet! :) thank you!

  9. The love fence is a beautiful idea. Maybe the city of Sydney could do something like that too. Maybe near the Opera House? As for the rest of the pictures, I’m so jealous. I saw on a travel show that the city is actually two old cities Buda and Pest but I don’t know how true that is. Thanks for the great shots

  10. Wow, what gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing them and your experiences with us! (FYI, I had a similar experience in Verona, Italy. All along the walls surrounding the statue of Juliette, lovers write their initials to bring good luck and lasting romance. Then there were the couples eying each other anxiously and trying to decide what to write. Priceless.)

    Thanks again for sharing – this is truly awesome. :)
    Kate

    http://ukate.wordpress.com/

  11. Great post! I just spent the summer in Budapest, and I think it is such an amazing city! I also arrived via train from Brasov, and I can only imagine how sketchy that train station would be at night. Check out my blog to see my post on Budapest. :)

  12. I feel like a bad friend for not posting on this sooner, since so many people you don’t even know have posted. But congrats on this post doing so well – you’re amazing and I miss you terribly.

    There is also a lock bridge in Paris. Perhaps you and Nancy can lock your love?

    And also, are your tours the neweurope free tours? They are phenomenal.

  13. The web has truly changed the way we communicate and made it far easier to stay informed about
    the lives of our loved ones. Then consider yourself one of the
    few, true internet marketers. It’s probably some mix of the two,
    so I have to give him props for not going too far in either direction.

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