Budapest: Land of Mustaches
Budapest Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
We took the train to Budapest the next day. Hungary is very (among other things) aesthetically different from Austria. Entering Hungary felt like entering "The Old Country" -- as soon as we crossed over the border, out came the dilapidated buildings and peasant-looking dudes, complete with push-broom mustaches, suspenders and flannel.
Getting off the train was even more awesome, as we found ourselves surrounded by short, stocky little old ladies with head scarves, big coats and limps. Yes, for some reason, a large number of people in Hungary totter. We were so mesmerized by a pair of old ladies exhibiting the peculiar gait, that Atousa and I nearly followed them onto a connecting train to the countryside.
Everything's hardcore in Hungary. There's no svelte statues of 18th century dandies in fine coats like in Vienna. Hungary's statues dress in armor, sport big swords and glower down from their steeds as if they're just about to kill some pagans or what not. Remember all those horse statues in Vienna? Well, there's lots of them in Budapest too, but they're bigger and angrier and they could totally kick those Viennese horses' asses. Even the currency is hardcore, decorated with burly heros, men among men, sporting beards and mustaches of course.
It took us a while to figure out public transportation to our hotel. Trying to buy a ticket was really confusing with the unfamiliar currency and Hungarian-only directions. On top of that, the ticket machines had those old-style money slots that only take super crisp bills, and of course most Hungarian bills are completely worn out and wrinkly.
We ended up just giving up and not buying tickets. There's no turnstyles in Budapest subways (or Vienna or Prague), so you can ride for free if no one catches you. More on this later.
We finally got settled into our hotel, the Hotel Charles, on the Buda side of town. The hotel cost us about $40 for a triple, and was really nice for the price. Budapest was cheaper in general than Prague and much much cheaper than Vienna.
That night, Atousa and I decided to find a bar. We stumbled into some local bar where some dude was passing out rubber chickens. Some other dude taught us swear words in Hungarian. To this day, the only thing I know in Hungarian is how to say "fat whore".