Budapest is absolutely stunning. I was not looking forward to the trip, as the previous group I’d been hanging with at Plitvice said that the trip was abysmal, with bad trains, something about buses involved, and a long journey.
My luck, however, was the complete opposite, where I had a comfortable train, and had my reserved seat facing in the direction of movement, and enjoyed a direct journey to Budapest. During the trip, I talked to the UK guy next to me, which then his 2 other friends joined, and chatting with them about their travels and such made the trip go by fast.
Once I arrived, I had organized an Airbnb apartment, and was picked up at the train station by the host. Amazingly, within minutes of arriving, I had found the host and got driven to my new apartment. While being set up with everything in this gorgeous, spacious apartment, I asked about check out on the 1st. Well, I had booked incorrectly, and apparently only booked until the 31st, so needed to find another place for just one night.
I got settled in, and got out for some dinner at a restaurant nearby. I had a great meal, with great service, and then went for a walk around the town near the apartment. I then headed back to relax and figure out what I would do for the next day.
Over the next few days, I went through Budapest as a true tourist, hopping on one of those hop on hop off buses, free walking tours, river cruise down the Danube, walking all over the city exploring and wandering amongst some of the most impressively beautiful buildings all clumped together in one place. It was really incredible.
Taking the tour of the Parliament was really fun as well, and after my few days in Budapest, felt like I had a good grasp of how the city was laid out, the main buildings/palaces/bridges, and really enjoyed it.
My last day, I tried to go to the baths, but apparently some systematic error happened for the wristbands and in true Balkan fashion, they forced everyone to wait until the machines were fixed. When I arrived and tried to get my ticket, they were very willing to sell me a ticket, but when I saw everyone standing in line, I asked what was going on. This entry machine allows people to buzz in or out. These poor people paid, and they were willing to wait–some have been waiting for over an hour and a half–to get into these stupid baths. I just couldn’t comprehend the pathetic nature of the bath to not just ‘manually’ allow these patrons in, but alas, this is the cultural difference. The fact that people were just standing there was appalling to me, and I simply left.
The next morning, I got to my train for Vienna and headed on a very comfortable ride (and a short one at that), and met a couple of people, an Italian and a Hungarian girl, and we chatted for most of the trip. To the seat to my left, was a little buddy of about 5 years old who was quietly playing with his video game device. He was so well behaved while his mom and little sister were in front of us. Reminded me of my niece and nephew.