First up was the buying a train ticket of a grand total of 4,500 forent, for the boys coming in two weeks time, if you make this trip which I strongly recommend you do...please make sure its the inter city train!! bit more expensive but you have enough leg room for a giraffe and the train only takes less than 3 hours!
From the second we stepped of the train, there was a huge difference from the city life we had been living to the city life of Budapest, cars, people, trams, buses, thousands of burger kings and most importantly an older lady (I'm talking well into her 60 or 70's) whizzing passed us on her scooter. From that moment we fell in love with Budapest.
Katie had brilliantly come prepared with a list of places to visit, directions to the hotel, and metro link information, we thought we pretty much had this...in which did..except for the part where we couldn't find streets signs, we didn't have a map and thanks to 02's network being down, my maps on my phone were no use to us either...we thought "Ahhh information help desk, they'll have a map and could point us in the right direction"....Nope after suffering some of the rudest ladies I think I've encountered in a long while (I'm sorry the sign on the door said open, are we interrupting your chat?!) we manged to get to at least get them to give us a map and point us in the right direction...sadly after walking for nearly an hour it turned out it wasn't the right direction, so we gave up and jumped into a taxi. We arrived at our hotel, then dealt with another amazingly irritated women while she confirmed our booking. (We were defiantly not in Debrecen any more).
After grabbing a bite to eat, and getting our bearings, we scooted off to bed with childish excitment for the next day of exploring.
Budapest is split up into two sections with the help of the Danube river...one half called Buda, the other half called Pest (Why make it more difficult than it has to be right?!) Buda was first..the Royal Place, Mattias Church and Fisherman's Bastion. So to understand why Budapest is the capital is very easy, quite simply it has a massive hill and rule no.1 of settlement in the ancient times was find a big hill and rule no.2 was be near a river. Sadly to get to the top its a 20 minute steep walk so for the future generations who are beyond lazy, there is a solution...a Victorian cable cart! Thank the lord for mechanical advancements.
Depending on personal preferences we either had perfect timing or just bad luck that once we had reached the top, we got to witness the Hungarian version of what we assume was the changing of the guards of a parliament building. I know us British do this twice a day but I can't help but feel that if we put as much fanfare into it (brass bands, marches/a slight dance routine) the guards would have no time left to be harassed by tourists trying to make them smile. The day up to then was going what I thought perfectly, the palace was gorgeous, weather was sunny, views were stunning...and then everything changed.
I think everything in life had been building up to that moment when Katie spotted the Archery tutorials, my actually dream come true. Now everything was perfect. For a mere 500 forent I got to live out one of my wildest fantasists of pretending I was Robin Hood/Legolas.
Katie being awesome.
Though Katie was much better than me, I really think I embodied the whole archer persona (For anyone reading this I also want to learn to do martial arts, shoot a gun, drive a Mclaren F1, learn to play the piano and be Dr Who's companion, if you could make any of these happen, I would be eternally grateful).
So with the hill all explored, we then moved on to rule no.2 of the ancient settlements, the river..we jumped onto a sightseeing boat cruise, which took one hour to take us down the river, round and back up again. We got to see some of the main sights of Budapest with the wind blowing in our hair. Perfect for taking pictures (Katie was a happy bunny).
Day 2 - and on to the Pest half...with the Parliament building, the Great Synagogue and Jewish Museum and St. Stephen's Basilica. I think we'd all agree a very varied cultural day.
Parliament Building (Remind anyone of the House of Commons???)
St Stephen's Basilica.
So that was Budapest more or less done in a quick whizz tour which in some ways represented how the city life was, with such a large mixture of restaurants, pubs, and thousands of shops, I can honestly say I would come back here anytime. I think without trying you could find something for everyone, even grannies on scooters.