Day 24: Vita

Today I went from Vienna to Budapest at around 10am. The trip was supposed to take a bit over 3 hours, but thanks to some delays in Austria it took 30 minutes longer. The ride was fairly uneventful. Like moving between Germany and Czech Republic, they did passport control during the trip, so I have a couple more stamps. The plan was originally to just arrive and tour the city before leaving on a hotel train, but when I was looking at the departure time, I realized it was leaving at 5:20 pm, and there was no way I could see the city in 4 hours, and with the gloom today and clear skies predicted for tomorrow, I decided to spend the night in Budapest and then tour mostly tomorrow when there was nice sunshine.

My experience with Hungarian people so far has been nothing but positive. On the ride over I was seated in a cabin with 2 Hungarian women who spoke English well and were happy to give suggestions on where to go, where to find a hotel, how to get around, and any other question one might have like tipping practices. That’s one of the good things about traveling alone, though you might not be able to enjoy the company of a friend, you meet all sorts of people you most likely wouldn’t.

After arriving I went to go buy my ticket for tomorrow, to my surprise there were a whole ton of Brits buying tickets to a town holding a big event called the Exit Festival thats being held at some big castle in Hungary I believe, its supposed to be really amazing. I don’t have the time, or really too much interest in going, so I’m going to stick to my plans. Its starting Thursday but people are already booking out trains to get out there early. The people in front of me could only book standing room…

I finally got to the front of the line, and realized my pass doesn’t cover two countries I have to pass through to Venice, so I had to pay more than the usual… $50 for this one. The trip is 14 hours long too provided that there are no delays. Its going to be a long trip, but I don’t really want to stay in like the Exit Festival to break it up.

I then went to go drop my stuff off at the hotel, well not hotel… but college dormitory where I’m staying, though I have a private room, its not too far from the city center, and its in a quiet suburban area. Along the way a nice Hungarian girl my age noticed I was holding a voucher for the place I was going, and apparently she was going there for a job interview. She offered to walk with me to make sure I found the way. It was really nice to talk to her, though I don’t know her name. I hope she got the job. I then went off to have a look around the city, first stop was called Citadella and was an outlook on the hill overlooking the Danube River. I really didn’t know from my map how high it was, but getting up there I had a wonderful view of the city below.

Budapest in reality is 2 cities, Buda and Pest, but they’ve grown together and eventually became one, but they still keep their own identity. I’m staying on the left side of the river in Buda, but much of the historical center I’ll be visiting tomorrow is in Pest. I should also point out that the name is pronounced like Boo-Dah-PeshT.

After a look at the city I decided to just wander my way over to the National Gallery perched up on the Buda Castle grounds high above the river. It was a pleasant walk, and looking back from the Castle grounds I realized how far I actually had walked, with much of it being very hilly. The gallery however was closing, so I didn’t have a chance to get more than a brief look at the work from the Middle Ages. The gallery is not very large, but the permanent exhibits are free to view. I then decided it was time to make my way back to my room and relax a little.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow and having a proper tour of the city with the sun out, and the clouds clear. Originally I had planned to just relax for the rest of the evening, maybe go out and try to have a look at some of the sights at night, though I don’t like walking around a foreign city at night, its hard to know what crime is like. So I decided to sit down in the lobby and write this entry when a pretty girl named Vicky walked in and sat down at the computer, I asked if she worked at the place I was staying because she knew the password for the computer, she spoke excellent English and was happy to talk to me. As it turns out she was a college student here working on some stuff over summer break. We talked about random stuff for a an hour or so, and she asked what I had planned for the evening. I mentioned that I had hoped to go get some dinner, but I figured it was too late now. She suggested that we could go to McDonald’s, and I jumped at the chance for some nice company and a guide around town. After dinner she suggested we should go up to the Citadella, it has a very good view of the city all lit up at night. It was a bit romantic, its a shame I cant stay in Budapest longer or I could have gotten to know Vicky a bit better and possibly had some company walking around this wonderful town.

After a nice evening I went to bed happy.

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