Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 16: I can also sleep on a bus during the day

I don’t expect any sympathy or concern from anyone, but this trip is starting to tire me out!  Short nights and long days with lots of walking seems to be more fatiguing than high mileage and long work hours. On the topic of my “first world” problems, today was remarkably uneventful.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed starting my day in Vienna and concluding it in Budapest, it’s just that not much really happened.

I left the hotel fairly early to walk back to the bus station.  Once again I opted to walk to soak in a little more of the city as I was departing.  I knew the walk would take me along the Ring road and past the State Opera House, and also through Stadtpark; a worthwhile trade-off for lugging around fifty pounds of luggage.

Call it fatigue, a confusion city layout, or perhaps just boring old overconfidence, but I learned the hard way that the way back to the bus depot was....a little less direct than I had hoped.  Or, at least it was via the route that I took!  In any case, all's well that ends well, and just as I was looking around for a taxi, I emerged from the park and knew (somewhat) where I was.  I was pretty certain I could get to the bus in the 8 minutes I had before the scheduled departure time. It took about 6 minutes.  Other people arrived to catch the bus AFTER I got on......

For some strange reason, the bus stopped for about forty minutes at the Hungarian border – isn’t the EU supposed to eliminate this kind of thing? Then on to Budapest!  Having snoozed through most of the trip, I was pretty lethargic when we arrived in the city.  A long walk (once again) from the bus to the hotel didn't help with the energy levels, but it did help me see the city!  It's a dirty city.  A noticeable change from Vienna, Prague, and the Benelux, Budapest still seems weary from its Soviet days. Even with that, there are silver linings.  Accommodations, food, tours...even the currency is all cheap! (227 Hungarian forints per Canadian dollar.  Of course, that makes it FEEL as though prices are expensive...)

Once I checked in at my hotel, I mustered up enough energy to go to dinner, but that was all.  According to the recommendations on TripAdvisor, Rosenstein’s has the best Hungarian food in the city!  It was very good, though a few items on the menu made me wonder:

Hungarian gulyas (more of a stew than the Czech meat with gravy) rounded out with some palinka (Hungarian fruit brandy) sated me, and then I wandered back to my hotel.  Before falling asleep I reviewed (again) some of the cool things I wanted to do while in Budapest - a walking tour (of course), Buda castle, and the Hungarian symphony orchestra.  Onward!

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