Interrail #6 The Old Myths of Budapest

Welcome to the Hungarian capital! 🙂

After walking the narrow paths of Venice and the broad streets of Vienna, Budapest has a totally different atmosphere – rather Eastern European. However, the city and the whole country have a long history of being torn between East and West. This back and forth has shaped the outer appearance of the country as well as the the Hungarian identity.

From Vienna, it only takes about 2 hours by train – more or less along the Danube river – to get to Budapest. The city is divided by the river into the one part called ‘buda’ and the other called ‘pest’. Buda is the hilly side of the city, where the Citadella, Fisherman’s Bastion and the Buda castle are located. The city centre and my hostel are on the flat side ‘pest’. One of the bridges over the river is the famous 19th-century Chain Bridge.

Before I join a free walking tour in the afternoon, there’s just enough time to walk up and down one of the biggest streets Andrássy út to see the Heroes’ Square, Vajdahunyad Castle and one of the most famous bath houses, the Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to pay the Bath House a visit – but I will, when I come back. And I can only recommend it to everyone – they are really famous for it and it’s always good to just relax for a few hours. Anyways, the weather is great and I enjoy every sunbeam on my skin after two rainy days in Vienna.

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Heroes’ Square
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Vajdahunyad Castle

While we walk through the city with the tour, the guide mentions some really interesting stories about Hungarian history as well as their language and the linguistic relations to other languages. As one of the few European languages, Hungarian belongs to the Uralic language family and is thus related to Finnish and Estonian. Due to their long history of nomadic life and the Turkish and Austrian occupation, Hungarians also spoke German and Turkish influenced their language. If you’d like some more details about that topic, have a look here. 🙂

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St Stephens Basilica
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Hungarian Parliament and the Danube river
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view on the castle hill
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Castle District and Matthias Church
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view from the castle hill on the Danube river and the ‘pest’-side

After walking along some more sight and climbing the castle hill, the whole tour people have a good first impression of the city and ask our guide for more tips where to go for dinner of some typical drinks. As for me, I met Miliee from India and Madeleine from Singapore during the walking tour, both working or studying in Europe at the time and travelling as much as possible during weekends. It’s a Sunday evening so Miliee is already leaving  a few hours later but we still make our way to the Jewish quarter and nice little restaurant. The area is known for their food and drinks and I would recommend going there – also decent prices.

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Madeleine, me and Miliee

Since Miliee has been working in Cologne, we will actually meet again after my return but that’s another story 😉

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Buda Castle at night

Madeleine and I finish the night with a walk along the Danube river, while Miliee already left to catch her plane. Sadly, it starts to rain a bit and after such a long day, I’m quite happy to finally rest my head.

The next morning, I get up very early to catch my train to Sofia with a sleepover stop in Craiova. On the way to the station, I can barely find an open bakery or Starbucks to get some breakfast. In the end, I’m almost half an hour early. This should be a lucky coincidence though. By the time I arrive, and finally try to figure out the correct train and platform, there’s only one train leaving about 15mins earlier in the direction of Bukarest, via Craiova. Until I find a staff member to ask again whether this could be the train I need to take, I’m lucky enough to step in the door only a minute before it leaves the station – much earlier than announced in my schedule. Seriously – there haven’t many stressful situation during the whole tour, but who needs that as early as 7am in the morning without a proper breakfast?! 😛
Anyways, let’s start the 12hour train journey to Craiova… and further along to Sofia.

See you there,

Anna

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