domingo, 7 de abril de 2013


The first destination on our list was Budapest.   To get to Hungary, we first needed to travel through the Charleroi airport in Brussels.  We found ourselves there with a nine hour layover and decided to take the bus into the city.  Often with Ryanair, the airport is on the outskirts of the city and a bus is necessary to get anywhere worth seeing.  

Brussels is the hub of the European Union, where many of the institutions meet and discuss European politics.  While there I made sure to try the chocolate, waffles and also the fries, which are very popular in both Belgium and Amsterdam.  Brussels was a short trip, worth seeing but I was satisfied with the amount of time I spent there.

Budapest was unlike any other country that I've been to.  It was the first time I went to an Eastern European country, and the differences were evident.  Budapest is a relatively recent addition to the EU and some of the Soviet culture can still be seen.  It is not an unfriendly place, but you are hard pressed to find people walking around smiling.  They often keep to themselves, but its not to say they aren't kind- they just are less likely to show it.  

We landed in Budapest around 10pm and quickly realized we were out of our element.  We went to the ATM to get some monopoly-looking forints and hoped we would make it to our hostel. 

These belong with a board game

We were stopped by the metro police on our way because we never found the ticket vending machine.  There was a significant difference between the Hungarian metro security and the Spanish.  Namely, the Hungarians were more monster than human, being 6 foot 6 and built like a linebacker, if that linebacker happened to eat another linebacker.  Luckily, the metro system in Budapest runs less on electricity than it does on corruption and we were able to pay off the security for the equivalent of $5 each.

We eventually made it to the hostel, a homey-feeling place with a squad of hippies as staff members.  They were all very accommodating and helped us any chance they could.

Notice the staff bed in the top right, so even while asleep, someone's behind the desk

The first day in Budapest was rainy but tolerable.  We decided to go to a huge market that had floors of produce, restaurants and souvenirs.  We had fresh squeezed orange juice (although none can compare with Spain's) and goulash.  Goulash is a hearty beef soup and the key to the Hungarian's size, I assume.  We also picked up fresh ingredients so that the better cooks of the group could treat us to a hostel-cooked meal.

Photo by Ariana Rosenthal

We took a bus around the city and were able to see the most significant sights, such as Heroes' Square, a huge plaza in Budapest that honors the seven leaders that founded Hungary:

Photo by Ariana Rosenthal

The Basilica:

Fisherman's Bastion, a Disney-looking Castle:

Photo from

The view from the Bastion

And the parliament building, which we tried unsuccessfully to get inside:

Photo from destination360

Budapest was probably the most unique destination on our list, but it was only the start to a great spring break.

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