Day 29 & 30 – The Best of Budapest and onto Prague!

IMGP0967 The lady at the hostel was very helpful in marking out all of the sights that are worth seeing in Budapest. I started with the castle of course.

Budapest is divided by a river (a really frikkin wide one) with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. Kinda like Harden-Murrumburrah or Albury-Wodonga but worth seeing. 🙂

Budapest was the first place that I’ve really encountered hasslers of the sort that you’d find in places like China or Egypt. Although only around the train station. As soon as I got off the train I was being offered all sorts of things and they’re pretty persistent. Luckily they didn’t stray to far from the train station as the rest of Budapest was really remarkable.

I was staying on the Pest side of the river so I walked across the bridge heading towards the Buda castle. Its on top of a hill like every other one. I suppose it would have been a bad idea to make them easily accessible. There is actually quite a lot up on top of the hill. IMGP0999 The Palace, a town, church, and I think there was even a hilton hotel. It was a really warm and sunny day so by the time I got up there I needed a bit of a break. There is a mix of new and old up here. Pretty much the same old story of someone built it, someone knocked it down, someone else rebuilt it and so forth. You can see pretty much all of Budapest from up here. Its a very beautiful city.

I headed back down the hill and crossed the bridge again to go and have a look at their building of Parliament. I could see it from up at the castle. Its a gothic style building and makes you think that we’re not trying hard enough with our parliament buildings. Its very imposing.

I walked down their main street which has all the exclusive shops like Louie Vuton, Versace, McDonalds and all that to get to the other end where there’s a large park that includes another little castle, a few monuments and also the baths.

I went and had a look inside the baths. Which is just a fancy public swimming pool complex with a few statues. Its also pretty expensive.

IMGP0989 There seemed to be a lot going on in Budapest. A few little festivals and things going on in the street. I also noticed that have a big music scene too and is an attraction for some big artists. Up and comers like Mark Knophfler, Natalie Cole, and Jerry Lee Lewis all had upcoming gigs. I kid……

That was pretty much it for Budapest. I really liked the place but there wasn’t a lot to see plus I didn’t know a whole lot about what I was seeing either. I think I knocked off all of the main attractions. I heard about some caves that you could crawl through as I was leaving but not really my thing.

The following day I boarded the train for Prague. Its a 7 hour journey so I packed some lunch and held on for the ride. Everything was going smoothly until we hit Slovakia, which was a surprise to me, I’d forgot to check to make sure the train stuck within the limits of my Eurail pass. Slovakia isn’t covered by the pass so the conductor wanted 22 euro for the ticket through Slovakia. Which seems a little inflated for the location but the conductor said if I didn’t need a receipt he’d give me a discount and only charge 10 euro. I doubt the rail company ever saw that money but it helped me out. 🙂

I arrived in Prague around 4:30pm. The train arrived over 20 min early and I nearly didn’t get off as I wasn’t convinced I’d reached my destination yet.

IMGP1051 I headed over to my hostel and checked in. Took the opportunity to sit down and surf the internet for a little while and then headed out for a walk around. I only planned to go out for a quick walk but ended up walking around for about 4 hours. Prague is a beautiful place.

I crossed the river and walked along it until I reached the Charles IV bridge then decided to walk up and have a look around the castle (up another hill). Prague is absolutely magnificent. I’ve never seen anything like it. Its beautiful during the daylight but nothing prepares you for when the sun goes down and they turn on the lights. Everything gets lit up. The most impressive of all is the castle. This 500m long beast sitting on top of the hill with a gothic church poking out of the top is just amazing. Its has to be one of my favourite sights in all of Europe. I took lots of photos.

I crossed the Charles IV bridge which is a stone bridge built in the 1300s. Everything is so old here. Its pretty much the only city that didn’t get bombed to kingdom come during WWII.

IMGP1182 By then it was getting really late so I headed back to the hostel for the night. There are some free walking tours so I might try one out.

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