There once was a Buda next to a Pest. They were separated by the Danube river but still the Buda was continually annoyed by the Pest, and the Pest liked to continually annoy the Buda. At first they fought and fought; the quick and annoying Pest constantly harassing the large and rather slow, but powerful Buda. But then, one day, when the Buda’s patience was teetering on the edge and the Pest was pushing harder and harder, they decided to end the hostility. What exactly flipped the switch, we may never know. Some say the Buda wanted to join the Pest just to end the constant aggravation and some say the Pest wanted to join the Buda so it could take a break from the around the clock work of bugging the Buda. However, it might have just been time. Time to make peace with the fact that for all ages the two would share the same river, just on different sides. And so, on the fateful day when they mutually agreed to come together, the city of Budapest was formed. At first, it was going to be Pestbuda, but it didn’t quite have the same ring to it and anyway, B came before P in the alphabet. The friendship flourished over time and eventually Budapest reigned high as the capital of Hungry.
Well, that’s where I come in. At least I would have if I hadn’t completely made that story up. But wait, wait! There is a small part that’s true. Buda and Pest are actually two different areas in Budapest. Buda is on the west, hilly side of the Danube River and Pest is on the flat east side. So, ah, yea, there’s that.
Anyway, I stayed at a wonderful cheap and enchanting hostel in Budapest. It was just a large apartment in an apartment building turned into a Zen themed hostel. It probably only had around 15 beds max and the workers/managers were always there ready to give advice.
Basically I just walked in Budapest. I walked everywhere and as much as I could. I wasn’t sure what to expect in my only true eastern European country, but honestly, it was pretty nice. I saw a lot of unexpected spectacular sights. The Parliament building in Budapest (the Pest side of the river) used to be the biggest in Europe, and it was really beautiful. There was also a grand castle overlooking the whole city on the Buda side of the river. The Buda side had a couple large hills, one holding the aforementioned Castle, and the other supporting a large monument. I visited the large monument twice. Once sort of during sunset (when, by the way I had to go to the bathroom at the top of this hill. I tried multiple places, but they were all colluding against me and trying to make me buy product before I would be allowed to pee. And then, when I finally found a public restroom, I didn’t have the proper coinage to enter it. So, what did I do to pee on this hill in Buda? Yea, that’s right, I found a steep slope covered in trees away from the path up and chased a coyote right then and there. Stickin’ it to them all) and once during a dark night. This later excursion, mentioned in my long sentence post, was probably not such a good idea. But I did have a good plan (or at least I thought so,) just in case. I had the flash on my camera all charged up and ready, with auto focus off so that at the click of a button I could instantly temporarily stun my attacker and quickly sprint (hopefully not uphill) in the other direction. Luckily plan Flash ‘n Go (yes, it had a name and I was going to scream “Flash ‘n Go’s a GO!!) didn’t have to go into effect.
I could go through everything I did, but it would take a while, so let me just recount one other story. My first meal in Budapest was at a local restaurant recommended by the hostel manager and was basically a chicken breast stuffed with veggies and ham, wrapped in bacon and topped with melted cheese with rice and veggies on the side. Oh, Hungarian food, how I’ll miss you!