Setting records in Budapest

In Budapest we met up with one of my roommates from college, Rebecca. She’s currently teaching English and Spanish in Hungary for the summer before returning to Spain to teach English in the fall. Tough life, eh? 😉

We got in after the seven-hour train ride from Munich. I don’t want to sit on a trail for that long for a while. Austria was beautiful though, and I’m glad we got to see it instead of fly over it.

The trouble with getting in to a city on a Sunday at dusk is that it is generally deserted, nothing’s open, and it tends to look creepier than it is. Sorry, Budapest, but you fall into that category.

On top of those factors, Budapest is also a gateway to eastern Europe which has a much different feel from western Europe. Many of these countries have been in serious trouble within the last two decades, and have been conquered or occupied for the majority of their histories. They’ve had bigger issues than making their city pretty for tourists.

The next morning the city looked much better. Rebecca met us at our hostel and we set out for the main square later than intended and needed to get a metro (subway/tram/bus) pass for the day. We went to the station and the line is of course 8-10 people deep. We are trying our luck with the timing. We get to the front, get a ticket, get down the escalators and the train is in the station! Run, run!

Becca and Britton make it on to a car and I’m bringing up the rear and realize the door behind them is closer, so I jump on, assuming the cars are all connected like on a train. Not so, and I can’t get their attention. As the train pulls away, I see that Britton has gotten off the train and was left at the station!

Becca and I both poke our heads out at the next station to find each other and jump off hoping Britton got on the following train. Which he did! Hooray for establishing emergency plans ahead of time!

We somehow make it to the main square where our waking tour starts just as the guide is starting her history of Hungary spiel. And then we notice that it’s hot! Definitely sticking to the shade as much as possible.

This tour covered the history of Hungary – of which there is a lot – and on the main touristy things: differences between Buda and Pest, the Chain bridge, parliament buildings, Margaret island, and others.

But throughout the tour, it just kept getting so hot! Turns out, as Becca informed us later, the temperature in Budapest that day set a record high for the city. The previous record was set in the 1930s. What a day to remember!

We got some dinner and sent Becca on her way “home” and then, we went and hung out on or hostel’s couch. It was the first night when we just let ourselves be tired. Nothing was calling us back out to the streets of Budapest, nothing was on our agenda, and we had an early morning the next day. And I guess in the scheme of the 21 days we will have traveled, we can allow ourselves just one night in.

(photo of me in front of the Chain Bridge in Budapest)

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