Budapest in 2003 was a relatively unknown destination for a city break. Now it is quite popular, but still not as crowded as Prague or Krakow. To be quite honest, we don’t remember how we got from Ferihegy (now known as Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport.) We think it was by local bus, but can’t be sure. Details follow of how to get to the centre of Budapest at Nyugati train station by bus or train.
No idea what hotel either, sorry. The only detail we recall is that the hotel was at the top of a steep hill and the bus to the city centre was at the bottom of it. For breakfast we had Hungarian honey on rolls every day, it was so good. The hotel staff were very proud of their local produce and every guest was encouraged to try it. Budapest is really three cities in one, either side of the River Danube. Pest, Buda and Obuda were amalgamated in 1873 to form the new capital of Hungary. Budapest’s history is explained below in chronological detail by Wikipedia.
After checking in to our mystery hotel, Mark said he would like to go for a stroll to stretch his legs. We caught the bus to Nyugati (West) rail station on the ‘Pest’ side of the river, to start our ‘stroll’. From there we made our way Westwards towards the Parliament.
Parliament rear of the River Danube. There is a metro station adjacent to Parliament, Kossuth Lajos Ter on line M2, destination Deli Palyaudvar, (heading West) if your hotel is more centrally located than ours was. As ever, click on any image to enlarge.
Opposite the Parliament was the Ethnographic Museum. We could not visit the seat of Hungarian government, as we had not booked ahead. And we gave the museum a miss, to continue on Mark’s stroll. From the museum we headed towards to the Danube riverfront and views across to the ‘Buda’ side of the river. This image is of Buda Castle and in the foreground is the Calvinist Church
As we continued southwards towards the chain bridge there was a nice view of Buda Castle. When we got to the Chain Bridge, we realised that we had booked the wrong hotel and should of stayed here. The Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace luxury hotel. Rooms ‘from’ 214 euros a night and a continental breakfast for 25 Euros, no thanks a bit out of our price range, we think. http://www.grandluxuryhotels.com/hotel/four-seasons-hotel-gresham-palace-budapest?cur=EUR#factsheet
We crossed from ‘Pest’ to ‘Buda’ using the Chain Bridge. Image by Frank Schulenburg, Wikipedian living in Mill Valley, California.
After crossing over the bridge, we turned right to head towards the bus station. From the ‘Buda’ side of the Danube can be viewed the mock-gothic splendour of the Parliament building, or it would be if the scaffolding was not obscuring the façade. Sorry for the blurry image.
How good the Parliament should look http://
And another blurry one from a different angle. The view above was taken from the Calvinist Church. We finished our stroll at the bus station and were quite tired by now from our long day of travelling, so decided to go back to the hotel and tackle what felt like the north face of the Eiger, after getting off the bus. (we did say we were tired!) We would suggest you do not follow our stroll as it was long trek in the end (I think Mark should replace the word stroll with route march) This website suggests itineraries for every kind of tourist in Budapest.
These have general advice and forums available to answer any more specific enquiries.
An interior view of the Parliament, purely to break up lines of text.
Double the tips double the fun, or not as the case may be.
Could be a subtle clue to the first tips content there, or it’s so subtle no one will get it and think we are slightly mad. (what’s new!) You wait at a the airport baggage carousel, mesmerised by one case going round and around, that always seems to be left from the preceding flight. When the bags finally arrive, have you ever had a situation where the bag you grab off the carousel was in fact someone else’s? And they are turning their nose up and giving a look of of ‘why did you try to nick my case, should I call the police?’ The bag is identical to your own, apart from the fact it may be a little bit cleaner and less beaten up, shame these differences are not discernable from a few feet away. These embarrassing situations can be avoided by putting a coloured cable tie or two on the handle and snip off the excess plastic to just leave a loop. Or just buy one of those personalised suitcase straps for a few quid more instead.
Tip two is take a few carrier bags and use them to separate dirty washing from any that is clean. If you have packed sensibly and have no clean clothes to put in the bags, then use as shoe bags or for any stuff from a sandy beach excursion. You know the sand grains will get everywhere!
And Another Thing….
Last weekend in the UK, the clocks have been put forward one hour for ‘Daylight Saving Time’. I would like to permanently stay on BST and scrap daylight saving changes altogether. Why? In December when the weather is really overcast and raining, darkness seems to appear around 3 o’clock and hangs around until sunset at nearly four. If the UK were to be on permanent BST, then there would be an hours more light at a time of day when more people are out and about. And it may be a bit warmer in the afternoon than a chilly morning. Another benefit could be that tourist attractions could stay open a bit longer to make use of the extra light. I don’t care if there are objections from the Scots, with a bit of luck the Independence vote will be a yes and they won’t be able to vote on English issues, like we can’t vote on theirs now. And Boris Johnson wrote about this very subject three years ago.
Thanks for reading,
Mark & Yvette