Wednesday, 5 August 2015


So I made the mistake of embarking on a 3 hour train journey with no seat reservation, on what was the most packed train I have ever seen. I would not recommend this! Though it is difficult to avoid if you don't know which trains tend to be overbooked (as I didn't), if you get a choice between 3 hours stood up in a crowded carriage with people forever pushing past you, or spending a fiver on a reservation.....well, I'll let you guess which is nicer!

So, that aside, I did survive long enough to meet one of my friends that I met in Belgium, who just happens to live just by Budapest. Again, knowing local people really pays off in terms of local 'common' knowledge, and also not getting ripped off just for being a tourist.

We managed to go for a nice walk around many historic buildings and structures, despite the monumental storm that was developping. I was a tad bit scared of the lightning, though, being that we were high up (giving us a lovely view, but also making us prime lightning material!).

If you stay out of the tourist areas, food is really not expensive because of the Forint/Euro conversion rate being very favourable. There are a lot of meat-based meals, as you can maybe imagine, but we went for a traditional thick vegetable and cheese soup, costing the equivalent of one Euro - and well worth it, too.

I did of course get a look in to the notoriously difficult Hungarian language during my stay. The scariest aspect is that it is agglutinative, which means that often words become rather long, with prefixes and suffixes expressing a variety of changes or additions to the original word. The words themselves aren't that difficult to pronounce, though, once you get your head around the orthography, with its accents, umlauts, and accented umlauts, because the spelling is pretty regular.

My favourite building that we visited was the cathedral, which is possibly the most impressively-decorated cathedral that I have yet visited. The gold decor is extensive and you get the feeling that you could just as easily be in a luxury hotel as a house of God - money that could have perhaps been put to better use feeding the poor or similar, but this is always the case. Either way, Budapest has a lot to offer and even though I only saw a small section of it during my 3 day stay, I was very pleased to have been able to experience what I dd, and to catch up with my friend from Belgium (we were all within 2 hours or so of each other and now are spread over the world - it's surprising how odd it feels to be so far away from everyone!).

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