So I hoped on a short train from Vienna to Budapest early in the afternoon. I arrived around 1:00, and headed straight to the hostel. I walked up the million steps ( and when I say million I mean six floors without and elevator). I was greeted at the door by Juice (a crazy aussie) who showed me all the good sights to see, cheap places to eat, Tesco's in the area, where not to go, tourist traps, and insider places to go. Then he introduced me to everyone that was staying in the hostel that was currently in the building. After I dropped my stuff in the room I headed into the common area to chat with people and found out that a few were going caving. This sounded like an excellent idea to me, so I put on my running shoes, some extra layers for the chill and we headed out to meet with the group that was going.
Our tour guide took us on three different buses just to get to the sight where we suited up and walked to the cave. I, of course, got picked to be the first one behind the guide as we went into the cave to begin our spelunking. We ducked, dodged, dived, crawled, slithered, scooted, climbed, inched, hopped, skipped, jumped, and struggled through one of the largest cave systems in Hungary. Yet, the worst part was climbing down almost two stories on a creepy ladder. Needless to say, I came out bruised from head to toe, loving every second of it. When we finally trudged back to the hostel it was almost midnight. We leaft our hostel around 330, had an hour bus ride, and got dressed-- so we'll say we started caving around 500 pm. Then we undressed and took the hour bus back, so we will say we finished caving around 1030. Thats 5 and a half hours of crazy spelunking!
The next morning we all woke up bruised and battered, but we truged on through the day anyways. I can't really say I did much this day. We walked lazily about, sat on terraces and sipped beer-- pretty much just relaxed. I headed back to the hostel around 500 so that I could eat dinner there (you could buy a home made dinner for 4 Euro) with most of the other people staying at the hostel. Then we all got dressed and headed out for a night on the town.
If there is one thing that stood out about Budapest is their bars. I have never seen a bar like the ones there. The are half indoor half outdoor. The outdoor is usually a massive open space with a fire pit or rows and rows of tables. The insides usually have 15 to 20 different rooms with different themes and high ceilings.
The staff at Carpe Noctem were all travelers that just never left the budapest. So, they want you to have as good a time as they did. Every night there is some kind of activity that they will take the hostelers to. This night happened to be the pub crawl night. The first bar we went to was Szimpla. The inside had empty bathtubs that were cut into weird shapes. The outside was just picnic tables with hookah and heaters. Our hostel took up two of the tables- one with mixed fruit hookah and one with pineapple coconut. They were delicious! After this we hit different bars taking a shot at some, having a beer at others, and just having a good time. We finally ended up at Instant-- one of the creepiest, coolest bars I have ever seen. The main room had half owl half woman statues on one wall and about 3 dozen white rabbit statues climbing up another wall. There were 26 different rooms in all-- and each one had something weird and mystical in it.
The majority of the good ended up walking back to the hostel around 5 in the morning to get up the next day to go watch the kiwi-aussie rugby match in a pub around 10. At 940 every one started rushing to get dressed and get to the pub before the game started. When it was finally over (go Kiwis!) I decided it was time for me to actually see some of budapest besides a cave and bars. So I grabbed my handy dandy map and hit the streets.
Tank at the Terror Museum about the second world war and the effects it had on Hungary after.
After visiting the Terror Museum, which was interesting but not enough to keep my attention for 4 hours, I walked to the chain bridge and up the river past the parliament back to the hostel, ate lunch, then keep going up to the city park. I passed tons of famous landmarks and buildings, but honestly there were some many I can'tremember all the names to label them. But, here's a gander:
This is view looking over from Pest (where I was 90% of the time) to Buda where the castle lies
This is the parliament building
This is "Anonymous" It is said that if you rub the pen he is holding then you will have good writing in the future.
After my extensive sight seeing during the day I met up with the hostel for the evening again. This time we headed out for dinner. It was 1000 florints for a traditional hugarian goulash soup and a pint of beer. The soup was cooked over a huge fire pit in a massive bowl and fed about 50 people. The dinner was at a club called Grandio and also had a night club underneath called "The Cave." The lady who owns the hostel I stayed at also owned three other hostel in budapest. That night, all four of us joined together for one big party. Apparently a tradition of this party is a Jaeger Train. We had 350 jaeger bombs in our Jaeger train.
After the Train took off I went and joined a few guys from my hostel for pool. We finally headed down to "The Cave" for open mic night. We gotto watch people from all over the world play all kinds of music with each other for a good five hours. I also went up there with some people from the Hostel (they played guitar, etc.) and sang Jolene. It was amazing! We finally stumbled out around 430 in the morning and walked back home, only to realize we went the wrong direction. So we stumbled back the other way and finally made it home around 515. We made some breakfast, listened to music, and chatted a bit, before finally calling it a night... or morning?
I finally got up around 11 and started packing my things to head back to Den Haag for a few days. I almost stayed in Budapest longer but I couldn't bring myself to waste the money I would have lost on missing the flight. I think I will have to make my way back there before I head home in December. It was that amazing!
Next Stop: Rome, Italy