Up and Down a Hungarian Mountain - Twice

Budapest Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 22 › view all entries
After dragging myself up at about 9 (I'm loving this not having to get up early for work every day!), I had a bit of breakfast and hit the not-so-mean streets of Budapest. I picked up a leaflet for a free walking tour from the hostel and thought I'd go on it, but I had a good few hours to kill before it started, so walked towards the river and crossed the Elizabeth Bridge facing Gellart Hill and the St. Gellart statue. St Gellart was an Italian bishop invited to Budapest to convert Hungary to Christianity in the early 1000s. Apparently, the local pagans didn't take to kindly to him (and I don't blame them) and pushed him down the hill (some say in a spiked barrel) into the Danube.

From there, I headed towards and up Castle Hill. I approached from the back of the castle and wondered why there wasn't much there, but then found my way to the actual main part of it... I wanted to go on a free walking tour, which started quite soon, so I didn't have much time to look around, but I did get some good views of the city. I walked down the other side of the Castle Hill and crossed the river to the Pest side.

The tour was taken by a local Hungarian man, who knew his stuff about Budapest. He took us along the Pest side of the river to the Chain Bridge, then over it and up Castle Hill (again). On the way, he told us that as Hungary doesn't have any real mountains, any big hill is classed as a mountain to them... As we were walking up the hill, the rain started again, accompanied by the odd crack of thunder and flash of lightening. We escaped the rain for a while in the Castle visitor centre, but it only got heavier and heavier, so we eventually went back out into it to carry on the tour. He walked (and talked) us through the castle district and Szentháromság tér, finishing at Fisherman's Bastion, overlooking the wet city.

After the tour, I grabbed some local strudel and a coffee and headed along the river to Margit Island, where I crossed onto the Pest side. I walked by the massive and oddly Westminster-looking Parliament, Szabadsag Ter, St Stevens Basilica and the Opera, before heading back to the hostel.

A cute girl was sitting in her PJs watching TV when I arrived. I got chatting to her and to the guy working at the hostel (Marsail). Her name was Victoria and she was from Romania, but in Budapest for an interview with a Middle East owned airline. The interview was due to start on Saturday, so she got there a few days early to relax before it. She had also applied to go to start a uni course in Finland, but was still waiting to hear back about it, so thought she'd go for this flight attendant job too. She talked us into watching a documentary thing called Zeitgeist, which seemed to me like a paranoid, anti-capitalist propaganda movie, which seemed to be trying to brain wash people! We ordered a pizza to go with it, which was much more interesting than the movie... After that, me and Victoria headed to the dorm room we were sharing and ended up chatting and stuff until about 5 in the morning!
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photo by: Chokk