My holiday after that second night involved lots of walking. I never caught a tram and only once used the tube with those fearsome ticket attendants in operation ( validate those tickets people! ). It is easy to get to many of the sights by foot and the experience , I prefer. Rather than zipping around ticking things off a list I could walk around getting a feel for the place and its sights, sounds and smells. Sadly though, Budapest does smell a lot like liquid vape 'very berry' mix.
The next night I went to a cool little bar with some women who were also staying at the hostel to try ghoulash. Is it a soup or a stew?, the debate rages on. Either way the meal I had was looovely, sweet, meaty, hearty, washed down with a nice wholesome stout and all for around £2.50. The waitress was the only negative, rolling her eyes as members of our party took ages to decide what they wanted then she went and forgot two of our parties orders, re-ordering the missed dishes 10 minutes after everyone else had got theirs with not even a minor apology, a tip she did not get.
Tipping is a big thing in Budapest.
On one of the cities highly recommended walking tours our guide did mention that Hungary is a tipping country. You tip for everything, if its a good service of course! Sadly this can apply to white collar professions such as nurses and doctors , if you are unfortunate enough to have to use their services. I don't intend to sound negative about them taking tips, apparently the service they offer is excellent, it's simply that they get paid pittance.
So one tip when it comes to tipping in Budapest, when you pay for your food or drink don't say thankyou (ker-sir-num) as you hand over your money unless you want the waiter/waitress to keep the change, just smile then sort out the tip after you get the remainder of your money.
Something I simply must recommend is Langos. It's a pasta flour disc deep fried then slathered in sour cream and grated cheese (sausage and more if you wish), I had it for breakfast and it was more than ample. It is real street food and I can definitely recommend the langos stall near St Stephens Basilica, pick one up then head to the danube to feed your eyes as well as your belly.
I did brave the notorious Vati utca, where beautiful women lure men into bars where said suckers get stuck with a several hundred euro bill and eager heavies wanting that bill settled, to find it was a really well to do touristy street. Not what I had mentally pictured. It was the daytime and no organised crime beauties were operating to my knowledge (I didn't go for that reason!) , I did find the wonderful 1000teas cafe which is just paradise for an English tea drinker, tucked away from the street with a nice vibe and an extensive tea menu.
As mentioned the people can be rude, but also really friendly, one almost cancels out the other but not quite. I don't think it's an easy place to live with low wages and lack of jobs and there is an underlying mistrust amongst older generations that I felt stemmed from the brutal Soviet regime the country endured. But people did seem proud and more connected to their history and culture than many of us English.
If you want to learn more about the brutal history the city endured I would recommend the 'hospital in the rock' museum tour in Buda. We weren't allowed to take pictures otherwise I would show you the fascinating place but we figured this was to help protect the tour. The tour itself can be a harrowing experience but as a little treat at the end you get to have a go with some air raid sirens, the faster you wind them the louder they get, me and my Canadian hostel buddy felt like kids at christmas furiously warning the room of a non-existent air strike.
The baths were also well worth visiting, absolutely! I enjoyed it all the more with the couple canadians from the hostel who made the heated pool experience that more relaxing with their cool flowing accents.
'This life ey?' one of them said as we gently drifted through the open air heated pool every little joint ache and muscular niggle soothed.
I loved the chain bridge, the ethnography museumn, the grand market , the liberty statue and the ruin bars to name just a few things. I also loved the hostel and spending countless hours chatting to the people there over many cups of tea or the odd beer and cigarettes.
Budapest felt like a milder version of Istanbul, rocked by an unpleasant history that will take generations to leave the people. My experience was of a place with a slightly negative feel, not of doom, but of uncertainty. Of course this is just my perception, I could be wrong. But for any negative I hope to return and soon and I will certainly recommend the city to others.
Köszönöm az olvasást
OK so if you got this far then as a special treat I have to show you some pictures of Budapest from the highly talented esejapan , someone who really can do the beautiful city justice through their camera lens.
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