Budapest Day 2 - July 2
After our epic night on the town, we dragged ourself out of bed at the crack of noon just in time to grab a quick bite at the BK Lounge (note to self: stop eating fast food. Note to the world: stop making it so much cheaper than anything else...this is why you're fat, America) before heading to the walking tour of Buda.
Jamie and John introduced me to this concept...basically all the hostels advertise free walking tours. You show up at the meeting point at the designated time, and don't pay a cent to be shown the city sights. All they ask is that if you like the tour, you tip the guide at the end. I think this is a great bargain for travelers on a budget, and allows you to get a real feel for the city from someone who cares if you get something out of the tour. You might even learn a few things guidebooks won't tell you.
Our guide, Tomi, spoke the most fluent English I've heard in Hungary so far. We chatted a bit and found out he's a student at the university in Budapest and also studied political science, like me.
He took us down by the river, across the Chain Bridge, up to the castle, parliament, and the Fisherman's Bastion. We learned that Katy Perry shot her music video for "Firework" at this castle, and that Buda is mainly residential. We also discovered that the city has a lively history, being destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, whether it was flood, plague, or war that wiped the city out. One of the Hapsburg descendants even occupied the castle for a while--was neat to understand that after having just visited Schonnbrunn a few days earlier.
The fisherman's bastion is GORGEOUS- I have seen it quite a few times on travel photography sites, and it does not disappoint. It was really full of people, but I saw a wedding party doing their pictures there, and I can imagine that it is just magical when devoid of crowds.
After the tour, Tomi took a few of us from the tour to this little hole in the wall place (literally--it was a shop built into the walls of one of the gates in the city) that had fresh baked strudel, a Hungarian treat. I watched my cherry strudel being taken out of the oven...it doesn't get better than that. So yummy!
We walked down the street to a local grocery store and picked up some supplies. I made dinner (penne with homemade bolognaise sauce--I added zucchini, onion, peppers, tomatoes, and lots of garlic to a store-bought sauce; salad to complement) and we had a hearty meal at the hostel.
We're pretty pooched from last night so we didn't do much tonight--sometimes it's nice to just relax for a bit.
I booked my next destination (it's a surprise...I know you're dying to hear where in the world I'm going next!), but other than that it's early to bed, and up for a walking tour of Pest. That's all for now! Gonna go try to catch some Zzz's, but between it being Saturday night, 2 pubs outside our window, and Jamie's tendency to sleep on his back, it's looking like an earplug night is in order.