Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Arrived in Budapest!

Well, we had a long travel day yesterday, but we did make it to Budapest. We were up at 6:45am and on the bus at 7:40am. Three trains later, we arrived in Budapest at about 3:30pm!

We had to take one train from Banska Bystrica to another village, then we had an 8 minute connection time. We were a few minutes late arriving, and we had to run to catch our next train, but we made it just in time. So far, so good. The next train was right at the border of Hungary and it was a long distance train that had left Prague and was headed for Budapest.

This is the local train that we made just in time. It was full and we had to stand for around half of the hour long trip.

But then we had to wait. Originally, we were supposed to have a one hour and ten minute wait between trains anyhow, but just after we got there the screen came up with a 25 minute delay. Oh well. Nothing to do but wait. Then, it changed to 35 minutes delay. Eventually, it did show up, and then it sat on the platform for another ten minutes. Oh well.

Ruth, being funny while we're waiting.

We arrived at Budapest's Keleti Train Station at around 3:30pm, almost an hour late. We had arranged to meet our contact from Budapest Tourism at 4:00pm so we had to rush out of the busy station and into a city that we had never been to and try and make our way to our hotel.

We were lucky that we went into a private "info" place in the train station and just when they weren't that busy. They gave us a small map of the central core and pointed us in the right direction. I was only in there for a couple of minutes and by the time we left the place was packed! 

So it's somewhere around 31C (88F) and we do the 2.8 km (1.7 mile) walk in about 25 minutes so we're all hot and sweaty when we get there.

Check in was great! Gergo, from Budapest Tourism was there waiting for us, and Tunde, the receptionist offered us a cold drink while she took our passport information. We went up to our room and freshened up a bit before heading back down to speak with Gergo.

Our room at The Casati Budapest Hotel is very cool and modern...but we'll tell you more about that in another post!

We sat with Gergo Sas from Budapest Tourism and figured out our options for the next four days. Thanks for meeting with us during your holidays Gergo!


By the time we finished up with Gergo, it was getting close to dinner. There were five different "cheap and delicious" options listed in some of the paperwork he gave us, and we found that one of them was very close by. Found a bank machine (ATM) and got some Hungarian money. They use their own currency here, the forint. There are approximately 223 forints to one dollar, so the denominations of the bills are quite large. In fact, the bank machine spit out a 20,000 forint note, which is worth about $90.

Went for dinner and it was fine. I really enjoyed mine, a chicken pasta dish, while Ruth said her grilled chicken and rice and peas was a bit plain but it was fine. Including a beer and a glass of wine and the tip, the total was 2,825 forints ($12.71). However, this is a big touristy city, and you can tell just from walking around that you could easily spend a lot of money if you wished. In fact, Gergo mentioned one area of restaurants he said to avoid simply because they are geared towards tourists and their money. English seems to be widely spoken here, in fact it's the most English we've heard since leaving Prague six weeks ago!

And then we went and wandered around the central area at night. We are lucky to be staying in the downtown area because we don't often go out at night and I can see us wandering around in the evenings with no problem at all.

Beautifully lit up at night.

Buda Castle is huge!

You have to check out this video! Turn up your volume, because this guy was really good!...


Lots of people out and about on a beautiful summer evening. The patios and outdoor restaurants were busy and the people were just out enjoying the evening. We enjoyed it too...it's fun just sitting and people watching for a while.

Can't wait to tell you more about Budapest...we've got a busy four days ahead of us and from first impressions, I think we're going to like this city!


27 comments:

  1. Keep the train pictures coming I would love to be with you guys. and i am saving them for my collection. We miss you guys. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another great travel day, thou kinda long. The hotel looks really nice, but not you normal style. Enjoy and have fun.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Don't worry we will give you pictures and details.

      Delete
  4. Nice looking hotel. We always stop to listen to the glass players. There's one on the Alexandria waterfront that plays an incredible variety of complex tunes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Welcome to Budapest Kevin and Ruth. Enjoy your time in the "Paris of Eastern Europe".
    Best,
    Matthias

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Matthias! So far we are loving it. There is lots to see and we know we won't get a chance to see everything but we try to see as much as we can. Feel free to make any suggestions!

      Delete
  6. Looking forward to seeing more of Budapest, as I have never been there:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so fun. The city is beautiful all lit up. Glad you still had enough energy after the long travel day to go take some great pictures for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a long travel day but all in all it was a relatively easy one so and we were sitting most of the time so we needed to get out and get those legs moving.

      Delete
  8. Hi Kevin and Ruth.......You will really love this city by both day and night...totally safe to stroll at late hours, I do it all the time...need to see the market hall........walk (but don't buy) down Vaci street, have coffee at the Axendria Book Store on Andrassy near on Liszt ferenc Ter...and eat at Vak Vaju on Paulay Ede near Deak Ter. And do nice evening strolls along the Danube...stopping often for coffee along the way. Enjoy....Glad you are here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by Lyn and giving us suggestions on what to see, do and eat. We were out exploring already and one of our first stops was the Great Market Hall, which we loved. We then headed up Gellért Hill to look at the Liberty Statue and the Citadel and get a bird's eye view of Budapest then we strolled along Vaci Street and admired the building (don't worry we didn't buy anything). We will definitely check out Alexandra Bookstore but I'm afraid that Vak Varju is a little above our price range for eating out even though it looks like a nice restaurant. And yes, we will be taking strolls along the Danube in the evenings. Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful city.

      Delete
    2. Do make sure to go to the bookstore, even if you do nothing but ride the escalator up and see the beautiful room! there is a great place to eat just around the corner..on Joki It is called Kiado.......it is on the west side of the street middle of block, about 1/4 of a block north of Andrassy! All homemade food.....cheap eats, but really really good!!!!! Enjoy......will be watching your bog! xoxo LYN

      Delete
    3. Ohhhhhh and sooooooooooooo glad you did not get sucked in on Vaci! ;)

      Delete
    4. I think we will go to Kiadó Kocsma for dinner tonight. Looks like a great spot and it is just around the corner from where we are staying.

      BTW we walked right by the Alexandra Bookstore our first evening and had made a comment to each other that it looked like a Chapter's Bookstore in Canada or the USA. Today we made the point of going inside and seeing the cafe on the second floor. It is beautiful, thank you for letting us know about it.

      Delete
  9. When we were in Budapest a year ago last May, we just happened to go into a shop run by an ex-Australian (I couldn't initially tell if she was from New Zealand or Australia, so had to ask.)
    This person told us there was a whole bunch of restaurants that were best avoided, as the health department had been issuing citations. Just fortunate for us that we found this out.
    Seems to me they were all in the Fifth District, and there's a pedestrian/touristy zone...
    I think it was something like Vaci Ulica? Trying to remember. Good stuff to know though...
    Never hurts to ask a 'local'.

    We ate elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry Bob, we won't be eating on Vaci Street or any of the other areas that have the big congregation of restaurants. They are normally much more touristy and expensive than the ones we like to go to, which are ones used more by the locals and tend to be cheaper.

      Delete
  10. What gorgeous night shots! Looks like you are again going to have a wonderful time. 4 days doesn't seem like much. You won't get to spend much time in that neat hotel room. Sure doesn't look like anything in the states that I've ever seen. Of course when WAS the last time I was in a hotel.........hmmmmmmmm....can't remember. Maybe they've all changed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is beautiful here at night. The buildings are lit up and look amazing. No, we aren't spending a lot of time in the hotel room but we have been making a point of coming back late afternoon to rest and relax before going back out in the evening. It is a beautiful little boutique hotel, so it isn't big and everyone who works here have been wonderful, friendly and helpful.

      Delete
  11. A few suggestions for sight-seeing:
    Heroes’ square with city park – via Europe’s first underground line and walk
    Gold museum’s oriental tea house on Andrassy ut – without seeing the museum, just walk in - located at the back of the building
    Basilica – you can walk up to the top or go halfway via lift
    Dohany Street – Synagogue, Europe’s largest, 5th in the world
    Opera house – Andrassy Street - guided tours in the afternoons
    Walk across Chain Bridge, then up the hill to the Castle area or use the funicular – a bit pricey.
    Pioneer railway in Buda hills (uttoro vasut) and chairlift (Libego) another must.
    Enjoy your trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your suggestions. We have already planned to do a few of these items, not sure we will have time to see them all. There is just too much to see and fit into only 4 days but we will do our best.

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately 4 days r not enough. I did a sort of guide tour with a uk relative in 3 days, consequently we walked our feet off but she enjoyed every min of it. Forgot to mention that u cn hire 2-3 seater bikes with canopies or electric cars on Margaret island

      Delete
    3. You're right 4 days isn't enough. It will just give us a excuse to come back again another time to see more of what Budapest has to offer.

      Delete
  12. Can't wait to see and hear more about Budapest - looks like fun!

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a beautiful city---- can't wait to see more!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your night pictures of Buda Castle are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...