Vienna & Budapest – Day 6, 11 March 2013

I spent rather a comfortable first night in my hostel.  I also enjoyed another filling breakfast.  By the time I got ready for the day I had made up my mind on what I planned to do.  When checking in I noticed the free walking tour.  It is something I always take advantage of as a solo traveller it is a good way of meeting people.

It was a beautiful day, a chance not to wear a coat.  I made the slow walk towards the meeting point in Vörösmarty Square.  As usual I arrived way too early.  While waiting for the tour group to come together I was approached by a man who wanted to sell me a I-Phone.  Noticing that he was holding the box I politely decline.  I suspect there was nothing inside the box.

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As I registered myself with the group I met a couple of girls.  One Brazilian, the other Canadian who were happening be studying in Brighton.  We were getting along well.  The tour started with a brief history of Hungary.  With its recent poor record in choosing sides in 20th century wars I figure it has been unlucky.  We started off in Pest passing St. Stephen Basilica before crossing Szechenyi Chain Bridge into Buda climbing Castle Hill towards the Royal Palace.

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The tour ended at the Mathias Church Fisherman’s Bastion.  We were recommended a restaurant that we should try for some lunch.  By this time several more people had joined us.  Bree from San Francisco who was studying in Paris, Marion from Paris, Ceylan from Istanbul who is studying medicine in Poland and Martin from Poland.  I chose a pork and potato dish with red cabbage washed down with a bottle of local beer.  An enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

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After lunch we may our way to the National Gallery.  Myself, Ceylan and Marion decided to go inside.  Not before agreeing with everybody else that we should meet up later in the evening at the Szimpla Kert ruin bar.

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After leaving the National Gallery we made our way back towards Pest and our hostel.  It was the slow route going first via the Parliament building.  Marion commented that it looked like the Houses of Parliament in London.  I had to agree.  Carrying on further into the city I noticed a statue of Imre Nagy, the Prime Minister of Hungary during the 1956 Uprising.  He is looking towards the Parliament building.  It was a moving site to see.

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Going further we all agreed that we needed to drink coffee and ended up at the Hutte Cafe Bar.  It was unusual that it was housed inside an inflatable building.  Probably explains why the coffee was so expensive.

After arriving back at the hostel we agreed that we should go for something to eat before going to the Szimpla Bar.  We ended up in a restaurant called “Frici Papa”.  It served traditional Hungarian fare.  I chose the Beef Goulash.  When in Hungary as they say.

After the meal we met up with everybody else at the Szimpla Bar.  It is known as a ruin bar because it is housed in an old building that has seen better days.  It is a bar containing different floors that played music or you could go to rooms to escape and chat.  Martin met up with a friend he knew called Kasia a French girl and another person from Slovakia.  It was a great evening even if I was starting to feel tired.  It must be my old age.  Ceylan and Marion agreed that we should all meet up for breakfast in the morning.

Until the next post stay safe, stay healthy and keep smiling.

Steve

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