Well what can I say about Budapest? As the title clearly shows it wasn’t the Budabest. Budabest comes from my friend Matt who snap chatted me with a crazy typical Matt face and text “Is it the Budabest?”, well unfortunately it was not the best. I think my experience was definitely soured by the hostel that I was staying at.
So far I’ve lucked out with my hostel selection. The one in Bulgaria turned out to be a discount hotel listed on Hostelworld, but I still got my own room so it wasn’t horrible. But the hostel in Budapest sucked. It was very modern and up update but the fellow hostel goers and staff just ruined it. Here is my Hostelworld rating for my stay:
If you like bothering your dorm mates while you talk loudly while they sleep, slamming doors when you’re drunk, not following the quite after 10PM rule, intermittent wifi, non pleasant staff and just an overall mediocre time this is the place for you! Worst hostel I have stayed in!
The Hungarian people are very knowledgable of their history and many will openly joke how they have always lost. Both World Wars and after WWII the fell on the other side of the Iron Curtain. But they are not just aware of modern history but also the year they were founded, 896, and I will probably remember that year forever now because it and 96 are in almost everything they do. For example both Parliament and and St. Stephens Basilica are 96 meters tall, in honour of this year. Although during the communist period Parliament was just a tad taller because they installed a large red star on top of it because in a communist nation there is no need for religion and there for the state should reign supreme.
In Budapest I took full advantage of all the free walking tours. Unlike in Bucharest where they offered one free tour and the rest you had to pay for, all of the ones in Budapest were free. I took a Jewish History walking tour, Budapest walking tour, Castle District walking tour and a Communism walking tour. They were all great and the guides clearly knew their stuff. The Communism tour was my favourite, it touched on how communism effected the people of Hungary in every aspect of their lives. It ended at a pub and the guide showed us very interesting pieces of history. Passports, communist badges, propaganda books for children, party membership books, workers logs and so much more. The best part at the pub you could drink while you checked all this stuff out!
The nightlife in Budapest is insane, I hit up a ruin pub in the Jewish Quarter on a Monday night and it was packed! There was so much going on it was crazy, each bar in the pub had its own drink designation beer, mixed drinks, frozen drinks etc etc It is safe to say I was truly drunk after I left at about 0300 with my drinking buddy. I was a good hostel goer and I was very quite when I returned, just wanted that to be noted!
The food was amazing! My first two nights I went back to the same place. Why? Well my first night I had duck and it was so good I had to go back again for it! Hungarian cuisine is very hearty and tour guides openly admit if you are on a diet Hungary is not the place for you. One of my guides said that Hungarians love meat so much they “have meat with more meat” and it’s true. I had a bowl of goulash one day for lunch and it was pure meaty goodness!
One thing I did find was that as I slowly make myself west into Europe the hospitality improves. Well except for my hostel, but in the restaurants the level of hospitality is much higher than in Romania, Bulgaria was just the worst. They come back to the table to ask how your meal is going and ask if you’d like more to drink. Which is good and bad at the same time, it caused me to have a few more drinks than I would have if I was in Romania.
Now I am not an expert in architecture but I will give you a run down of what I saw and heard. Now I’ve never been to Vienna but many of the people on the walking tours commented on how much a lot of the buildings reminded them of Vienna. Now that makes sense because at one time in history both Budapest and Vienna shared the status of capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire so it makes sense a lot would be similar. Now what stuck out to me were the doldrum buildings with communist architecture. The ones that essentially make you depressed by just looking at them. It was interesting how you could be looking at one building with a beautiful facade and sculptures built into it then right next door a dull grey flat building that did nothing to inspire anything in anyone, except for maybe communist party faithfuls.
I Ioved my time exploring the city itself but my time trying to sleep and regain energy for my next day of exploring was horrid and that is why Budapest was not Budabest. Maybe if I had chosen a smaller hostel things would have been different but that’s all in the past. I am now in Kraków and I have to say I am loving it here. When the conclusion of my adventure comes it will prove difficult to say what stop was my favourite. Each one has its own unique characteristics, except Bulgaria I can live with out Bulgaria. My next stop is Prague, it’s crazy to think of how many places I have been to and how few are left, but that’s life. So stay tuned for my post about Kraków!