7 November 2009

Krakow to Budapest [Day Four]

We arrived in one piece! And it was a fairly painless trip. We both had a decent sleep - I remember waking up a few times as the train jolted around, but overall it was smooth sailing. No one joined our carriage mid-trip, which was probably the main reason it went so well. But I cannot recommend it enough. We both woke at 8am in a new city feeling refreshed and ready to go, having saved a night on accommodation. Perfect!

We had organised an apartment in central Budapest, and thankfully they let us check in early. We found the place without any problems, and DAMN it is nice. Flat screen TV, full kitchen with dishwasher, leather sofa, flat screen... I have also organised to check out late tomorrow, which they had no problem. I seriously recommend these guys if you are ever in Budapest - check out Pals Apartments.

After we had settled in, had a shower and got ourselves sorted, we headed out to explore the city. First stop was Market Hall - a HUGE indoor market with so much awesome stuff. Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as all kinds of souvenirs. We picked a few things up including a Hungarian Secret Box - almost impossible to get into if you don't know the trick.

From the market we walked across the Liberty Bridge - over the Danube River - to Gellert Hill. We were told by a few people this is one thing we cannot miss, as the views are spectacular. The weather didn't turn out for us, but it lived up to its reputation. It was about 100,000 steps to the top (felt like it at least) and once there we found the Liberty Statue, which is visible from almost everywhere in the city.

Following the river north, we then visited Buda Castle and the Buda Royal Palace. One thing we learnt quickly is that the Buda side of the river has quite a 'varied in gradient', meaning your forever walking up and down hills. The positive being that you are often provided great views of the city. From the Royal Palace we looked down over the famous Chain Bridge.

Continuing north, we came across the Mathias Church. Unfortunately it is in the middle of being restored, but what you could see looked amazing!

We made our way down toward the river, and looked across at the Parliment Buildings. I commented on how similar I thought it was to Westminster. Turns out thats what it was modeled on. Not a bad eye for detail eh.

Both buggered and having very sore feet, we headed back to the apartment for a bit of a rest and re-fuel. We took the opportunity to take a photo to show you how rich we are! (10,000Huf note).

We then headed out to take a couple of pictures of the city lit up at night. The first photo is the street our apartment is on (very nice!). We also went by St.-Stephen's Basilica - this thing is ENOURMOUS. Truely huge. You can kind of make out some black dots in the bottom of the picture - yeah, those are people! We also got photos of the Parliment Building and Chain Bridge.

Everyone I have spoken to about Budapest has said the thermal baths are a must. Although we were quite keen on a river cruise, we could not say no to some spa action. And they did not disapoint. I must say the set up is a bit wierd, and the customer service leaves a lot to be desired, but the baths themselves are well worth it. If you are in Budapest - go!

So that bought our day to a close. Tomorrow we are going to concentrate on the Pest side of the river, then in the afternoon we are heading to Bratislava - I dont think its going to be quite like Eurotrip, but it'll be fun anyway :)

Next Post - 'Budapest to Bratislava'

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