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Budapest?

Posted by Heliocentrism on June 25, 2018

November 25th – 29th, 2017

We went to Budapest. There was a cheap flight from Amsterdam and that’s really the only reason we ended up in Hungary. We knew almost nothing about Hungary and Budapest before going. So, here is what I learned.

1. Budapest is crazy beautiful.

Almost the whole time we were there it was rainy and overcast, but we could still see breathtaking views. Anything near and around the Danube is stunning. Bridges in this area are really done up like they are going to some sort of party. I read somewhere that people travel to Budapest just to walk around and take photos. I only wish I had the photo-taking skills to do Budapest some Justice.

2. The patron saint of Hungary is St. Stephen.

And, you can go see his hand at St. Stephen’s Basilica downtown. Or you can just wait until St. Stephen’s day, the day after Christmas. During the parade they take the hand out and let it join in the festivities. It’s not participating in the ring toss game or anything; it’s just held up, in its case, and marched down the street during the procession.

3. Budapest has a lot of hard-core flipper fans.

Remember pinball games? No? Me neither. I’ve only ever played pinball on my computer and it was never much fun. But in Budapest, they have pinball championships.

Mark and I visited the Budapest Flipper Museum and I played on a real pinball machine for the very first time. I LOVED it! All I want to do now is find an arcade with pinball machines and waste a few Sunday afternoons.

4. Hot wine is amazing!

I don’t know if all hot wine is good or just the stuff I found in Budapest. It’s wine heated up with some fruit and sugar added. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, but the wine I bought on the street here had no alcohol flavor. I’m not sure on the alcohol content of the hot wine, so I would advise drivers to stay away from this drink. But, I’m a bit of a lightweight and I did down a couple cups on one of the coldest days of our stay and didn’t get the least bit tipsy.

6. Hungary used to be a lot bigger.

Transylvania used to be a part of Hungary and so did many of the lands Hungary now borders. There are a lot of people who identify as Hungarian ethnically, who are not citizens of Hungary. Wars, invasions, and conflicts over the years were the cause of their ever fluid territory.

7. Hungary used to be communist.

They were held under the communist thumb like other parts of Central and Eastern Europe. When the iron curtain fell causing the Berlin Wall to come down, communist Hungary was also no more. Luckily, you can still see all of Budapest’s communist statues in a park on the outskirts of town. You can even get a great little hand book, at the park, with a few cheeky quips about communist life.

8. This is where goulash comes from.

It’s delicious and the perfect thing to eat on a cold winter day.


Hungary

How to get there:

  • Hungary is part of the EU.
    • But, Hungary does not use the Euro.
  • visa information

Phone:

  • 112 – emergency
    • the call can be answered in English, German and in some cases in Romanian
  • 104 – ambulance & emergency medical services
  • 105 – fire-brigade, rescue services, civil protection
  • 107 – police

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • Hungary is an E.U. country, but they do not use the euro. They use Forint.

Gellért Hill Cave

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 600 HUF
  • Audio Guide – Free

Hours:

  • 9:30 – 19:30

Video

Notes:

  • The audio guide is very preachy and a bit boring sometimes, but it does explain the symbolism of a lot of the items in the church.

St. Stephen’s Basilica

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 200 HUF to enter the church
  • It costs extra to go up to the tower.

Hours:

  • For tourism M-F 10:00 – 15:00

Video

Books:

Notes:

  • Don’t Miss:
    • St. Stephen’s hand
      • If you came just to see the hand, do not go up to the tower.
      • When you walk into the church it’s on the left.
      • There is a sign saying that you can light up the box for 200 HUF
      • You don’t have to go to the treasury to see it.
      • You know that Christmas song, Good King Wenceslas? Well, that day the king looks out in the cold was the Feast of Stephen. This is that Stephen’s hand.

Budapest Pinball Museum

Basic Information

Website

e-mail:

Cost:

  • 3,000 HUF
  • After paying the entrance fee, you can play any and all of the pinball machines as many times as you like until closing time.
  • You can also come and go as you please.

Hours:

  • Wednesday to Friday 16.00 – 24.00
  • Saturday 14.00 – 24.00
  • Sunday 10.00 – 22.00

Videos:

Books:

Notes:

  • Until I visited this place, I had never play a non-virtual game of pinball. Turns out, I’m very good at it.

Labyrinth Of Buda Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 2,500 HUF

Hours:

  • 10:00 – 19:00

Video

Books:

Notes:

  • This is not the original labyrinth, but it’s still pretty good.
    • Only some of the things from the original labyrinth have been placed in this current one.

Memento Park

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 1,500 HUF
  • 600 HUF for the booklet
    • In the Shadow of Stalin’s Boots

Hours:

  • Some sources say 10:00 – 16:00
  • Other says 10:00 – sunset (Which is around 16:00 in the winter)

Video

Books:

Notes:

  • I recommend getting there one of two ways.
    • Use google maps.
      • This is the cheapest option.
      • Make sure you buy 2 transfer tickets, one going and one returning. You will need to have a ticket before you get on the bus and I don’t know where you can buy a bus ticket once you’re at the park.
      • Transfer tickets are actually 2 tickets that are used together. (Why? Ask Budapest.) So you will have 4 tickets all together.
    • Use the shuttle bus from Deak Square.
      • This is the easiest option, if you time it right.
      • The bus leaves down town at 11:00 and then returns from Memento Park at 13:00.
      • You can also take public transportation there and, if you’re like Mark and I who forgot to buy return bus tickets, just take the shuttle back.
  • I highly recommend buying the information booklet. It improves the experience very much.

Don’t Miss:

Drinks:

If you care for it:

  • Hungarian Electrotechnical Museum
    • Basic Information
    • Hours:
      • Thursday 10AM–5PM
        Tue-Fri 10-17, Sat 10-16
    • Cost: 600 HUF
    • Nothing is in English, so if you don’t speak Hungarian and know nothing about old time experiments with electricity or magnets and it’s effects on electricity, you will gain nothing from this museum.
    • If you can get an English speaking guide it will make your tour a whole lot better.
    • It will look like it’s closed even when it’s not.
    • Don’t Miss
      • The reproduction of Tesla’s egg of Columbus.

Map:

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