First Impressions of Budapest, Hungary

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Compared to Greece, the land around Budapest is refreshingly lush and green.

The international airport is small, and if you arrive on Ryan Air you have to take a bus to the terminal, then walk along a mile of outdoor walkways to get to the arrival hall.

Official airport shuttles are a cheap, clean, and easy way to get into town.

District VII has the densest concentration of bars and coffee shops I’ve ever seen. The coffee is artisan and the drinks are cheap.

Groceries are cheap.

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There are Hungarian Mutant Ninja Turtles under there somewhere. Maybe I can lure them out with a fresh Kürtőskalác.
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Tracks blocking the water.
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Makeshift cinnamon-flavored baked coffee coozy.
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The citadel hill.
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Spiked fence.
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Spirals of pee smell.
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Elisabeth Bridge from the hill.
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Humping ladies on a leaf.
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Verdant path.
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Buda and Pest separated by the Danube.
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The inanity wars are fought for.
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War damaged wall.
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Cobbled streets down the citadel hill into the bourgeoisie estates.
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Old gate, can’t mate.
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It’s green cars all the way down.
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Another gate.
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Chimneys time!
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Red gate.
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Old awning.
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English ivy advances on the Hungarian front.

Our economical AirBnB (€30/night) is above the din of the bars. While ear plugs are ineffective, rain quiets the crowds.

The Budapest transit system is top-notch, the above ground trams are particularly fun to ride. Plus, they only ever checked for tickets on the the subway exits.

The river, while scenic, is flanked by boat docks and wide roads. If you want to dip toes in the fast-moving, brown water, you have to play human Frogger.

English is widely spoken between the locals and the other tourists. We had no issues visiting Budapest knowing only a little Thai.

His name was Nok, meaning “bird” and he spoke perfect the language of sing-song. He was also imaginary.

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Deco balcony.
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Cryptic signage, likely for fire hydrants.
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Car snare in wait.
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NO!
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J and the big marble university babes.
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Fountain cover.
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The ornate hall of the Gellért Thermal Bath.
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Bath fountain inside.
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Bath dome.
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Liberty Bridge crest.
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A man and his sausages.
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Inside the massive central market hall.
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Butts go here.
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The touch, the feel of metal.
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Brick walls.
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The loner.
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The peeping figures of an abandoned arcade.
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Inside the ornate arcade. Beautiful and moody.
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The modern version.
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Skylights.

The closest suburbs feel modern, but are still beautiful in the spring. Lots of trees, gardens, and ivy.

Tufts of what appears to be cottonwood drifted around the city parks like snow. My nose and eyes didn’t appreciate it.

City Park’s massive iceskating lake was drained for cleaning and only a small part of the lake was full of dirty water and ducks.

I felt more hungry in Hungary.

Grand, ornate architecture abounds and some buildings still showcase their bullet wounds.

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Into the darkness.
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Topless and proud.
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Hairy and proud.
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St. Stephen’s Basilica.
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Basilica dome.
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Prayer braille.
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Colorful box on wall near the makeshift morning farmer’s market by the apartment.
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Making enough soup to feed a crowd.
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Herbs.
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Knit decoration.
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Rubs the lotion on her skin…
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Classy neon.
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A few panes short of a window.
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The tear in reality.
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Billowing ham curtain.
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The empty walkway of communist-era shopping.
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Devil lights on an ornate restaurant attached to Boscolo Budapest Hotel.
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Out of business.
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Excellent use of vertical space.
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Stair chair.

The central market hall is worth seeing for the massive building, not necessarily for the crowds, trinkets, and food.

Fragola has some top-notch ice-cream. Zimmer Bistro has excellent dinners. There are supermarkets and bakeries everywhere.

Kürtőskalács: If I could eat one of these hot cinnamon wonders every day, I would.

If you see a flea market with film trucks around it, it’s probably not a real market.

There are numerous weirdos hanging around the parks and alleys drinking beer and looking like they want to murder you.

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Keleti train station.
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Clock detail.
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Inside the station.
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Crumbling balcony.
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Exhaust pipes.
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The skinny man waits for fatty.
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Wounded buzzer.
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Entrance.
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Metal power pole. Seems safe.
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Just a small parking ticket.
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Florist flourish.
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Tree tongue.
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Workers.
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Rust gradation.
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Soccer seats.
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Natural history in the making.
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Sign holder.
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Mixmaster of creepiness.
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Inside Budapest-Nyugati Railway Terminal.
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Escalators.

Don’t exit a quiet subway underpass into an empty area under the highway. There will be a hobo there and he will follow and harass you in Hungarian until your adrenaline kicks in and you decide to cross a bunch of train tracks to get your distance.

If you wear sandals, your feet will get filthy. There is evidence of barf and piss everywhere.

Anti-fungal foot cream with terbinafine can be purchased in cute little tubes.

The AC in the 2nd class train car from Budapest to Zagreb might not work, and you will die if you stay in it. Luckily, the first class cabins are vacant and the conductor doesn’t mind if you move.

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Kürtőskalács about to cook on the coals.
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C&C Music Factory.
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Shirtless man absolutely pounding a hole.
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Dancing fountain.
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Oh crap.
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Bike path.
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More path.
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Flats.
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Old school delivery truck.
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Wall and bars.
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J DAWG.
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Fire station.
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The big dumper.
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The last thing you see.

Biking is really easy and fun due to lots of pedestrian streets and being able to bike the wrong way up the one way car streets.

Many of the rental bikes are beat-up pieces of crap. Be sure to check their soundness before biking away.

Lots of the bottled teas are sweetened with disgusting stevia.

Budapest builds vast interior spaces very well.

University campuses are photo-shy.

The thermal baths around town looked really fun (though busy). I wish we had tried them.

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Suburban Citroën.
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Alien growth.
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Poop your poop here. Now.
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Wall and trees.
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The archer.
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Bottle cap storage.
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Sad walkway.
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The Budapest Eye.
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Blue’s views.
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Water tower at the end of the line.
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The train crossing.
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Duck and asparagus.
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Colored edges of a bland theater.
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He doesn’t know how to use the shells.
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Christo strikes again!

Budapest is too big to see in a few days, and I…

What’s that smell?

Cinnamon?

It must be.

But I must resist…I must. I…

Kürtőskalács!