15.06.2011 - 15.06.2011 28 °C
We woke up and messed around for a little bit, spending time on our computers. The breakfast at the hostel has this awesome turkish bread that we LOVE and on it you put a load of orange marmalade, so good! Bread, apples and instant coffee (and sometimes some muesli, but we bought a kind that isn’t great so we don’t care to eat it.) We made it out the door with time to spare. After Prague’s transit fiasco I wasn’t taking any chances. We waited for quite some time before we got on our train. It was a super nice train and three hours after departure we were in Budapest.
It was slightly overwhelming when we got there, the train station is in one of the two areas of the city we’re advised to stay out of. It was dirty and confusing. The metro was not marked and we needed to exchange currency just to ride to the train. We hit up the one place in the station to change money and only exchanged 5 euros because the rate was so bad. The metro cars were very old and rusted out, but we got there anyway. We started up the street towards our apartment room. We changed the remainder of our Czech money into fortins (losing 10 euro in the process of a 70 euro transaction!)
great central market
When we finally got there we dropped our packs and left right away. Budapest, we found out is actually a beautiful city. It’s really old and quite new at the same time. The paint is peeling off the buildings and the bike lanes are called sidewalks but the streets are new and the shops expensive. The people here are very nice. We stopped at a place in the wall where we got Shane’s hair cut. 2200 fortin (9 euro) for the best hair cut he’s ever received. The lady really knew what she was doing! We thanked her profusely and went on our way. Finally we came to the Grand Central Market. The building itself is spectacular, just look at the roof! The place is huge inside and it’s definitely the best market I’ve been to in terms of quality.
Most “markets” have fruit and vegetable stands equipped like supermarkets. I don’t know what you think, but bananas growing in Europe? I’ve never seen them. This market was full of stands but 8 out of 10 were selling products that were genuinely seasonal and local! Cherries were HUGE here, there were stands with more than 10 baskets each, and line ups at each one of them! We bought 300g of sour cherries (can’t get them fresh in our part of Canada) for 34 cents! They tasted amazing, best cherries I’ve eaten. There were a good share of touristy stands but also many great authentic ones. Fresh, huge fish still swimming in the tanks. Any cut of meat you could imagine. Food stalls, people pressing orange juice by hand, and dried fruits and legumes everywhere! Down stairs with the fish and the venison were stalls selling only pickled vegetables. And bakeries! All over! I tried a Dobos torte, a far superior cake to the one I tried to make at home a few months ago.
We ate goulash with little hungarian pasta similar to couscous but smaller. It was good, but not great unfortunately. We ate through the market while a rain storm was going on outside. After it stopped we continued our walk over the bridge to the Buda side of the river. We watched a drum band practicing under the bridge and walked half way up Gellart hill to a lookout point over the Danube river. We chatted as we walked back down the hill and over the Chain bridge. We stopped on our way home at a supermarket and bought 1 litre of milk, 4 500mL bottles of beer, 2 soft drinks, 1 yogurt and 2 bananas for 7 euro. What a deal! We took our loot home and showered before leaving for dinner. We found a place we wanted to go and walked the whole way there, it was closed (of course) and we headed back. We found a place to eat that looked alright. We had two homemade lemonades, 2 main courses and a plate of pickled coleslaw for 9 euros. We went home to get a little sleep.
At 2 am we woke up and dressed. We said hi to the manager of the building (awake at 2?) and crossed the street into the 24-hour sports bar. We got them to put on the Vancouver/Boston game and then proceeded to have the happiness drained right out of us as we lost the Stanley cup. Bandwagon fans? Yes. Dedicated? Definitely.