Budapest Day 3

May 1, 2013
budapest hungary europe

Big day today.

It is the day.

The day of cycling!

This was quite a point of contention actually. Mostly because Steph and I are horrible at cycling. Both unfit in our own way I guess. But I really really enjoyed cycling around in Old Japan/Kyoto and thought we’d give it a go here. Apparently Budapest is one of the more cycling friendly cities in Europe. I can’t really confirm that but I do know I have seen lots of people riding kick scooters so maybe that’s related somehow.

A dog that was just chilling out on the floor in a shop. Big dog culture here. Dogs go in shops, public transport etc etc. Its quite nice.A dog that was just chilling out on the floor in a shop. Big dog culture here. Dogs go in shops, public transport etc etc. Its quite nice. Dogs enjoying themselves. Apparently these were two male dogs... So uhh, I guess they were practicing for the real thing?Dogs enjoying themselves. Apparently these were two male dogs… So uhh, I guess they were practicing for the real thing? Its the opera house! The Austrians like to flaunt off all of their great classical composers while the Hungarians show of Franz Liszt. He's a pretty big hitter in the ridiculous-good-piano-player world I hear.Its the opera house! The Austrians like to flaunt off all of their great classical composers while the Hungarians show of Franz Liszt. He’s a pretty big hitter in the ridiculous-good-piano-player world I hear. Look at those well maintained walls! This is known as the Hong Kong effect.Look at those well maintained walls! This is known as the Hong Kong effect. Ahh look at that architecture!Ahh look at that architecture!

DAY 3 Cyclepest.

So yes. Due to some scheduling issues with the cycling tour for babies (or someone equally fit as a newborn baby), we had to go for the normal tour. That is, a 4.5 hour tour. That’s nothing to sneeze at for sure.

Bike bells aren't used in Budapest. They installed this for the tourists I guess. It makes a squeak when you hit it. I had to use it a bunch of times and I gotta say its much more satisfying than a bell.Bike bells aren’t used in Budapest. They installed this for the tourists I guess. It makes a squeak when you hit it. I had to use it a bunch of times and I gotta say its much more satisfying than a bell.Not much to say about the tour to be honest. That’s the reason I don’t really bother with sightseeing much. Mostly looking at statues and monuments and stuff. Learning about the history of the country and its trials and tribulations. Some interesting sites were the palace, torture museum (mostly about the soviet secret police) and the heroes monument, which had a pretty impressive statue of Archangel Gabriel. In fact most of the statues around the city were very impressive. And rundown/not maintained as usual.

IMG-20130501-WA0033

Steph before plunging to her doom.Steph before plunging to her doom. IMG-20130501-WA0027This is St Stephen’s Basilica. Massive and imposes on the rest of the city, like a harsh religious icon on peasants. IMG-20130501-WA0031 IMG-20130501-WA0028 IMG-20130501-WA0026 IMG-20130501-WA0025

Szechenyi Bath House.Szechenyi Bath House. IMG-20130501-WA0021 IMG-20130501-WA0020

Bike pose! That's not our bike by the way. This was at the Heroes Monument.Bike pose! That’s not our bike by the way. This was at the Heroes Monument. IMG-20130501-WA0016

Cool sculpture.Cool sculpture. Its Vague-Man!Its Vague-Man! I don't actually remember where this is. Szechenyi bath house maybe? There is a big bath culture here. Nothing like Japan though so you won't see people walking around naked. This is mostly just a giant swimming pool complex.I don’t actually remember where this is. Szechenyi bath house maybe? There is a big bath culture here. Nothing like Japan though so you won’t see people walking around naked. This is mostly just a giant swimming pool complex. IMG_20130430_144808

Its the opera house! The Austrians like to flaunt off all of their great classical composers while the Hungarians show of Franz Liszt. He's a pretty big hitter in the ridiculous-good-piano-player world I hear.Its the opera house! The Austrians like to flaunt off all of their great classical composers while the Hungarians show of Franz Liszt. He’s a pretty big hitter in the ridiculous-good-piano-player world I hear.The system of the tour is pretty decent. Ride around (very slowly) only for about 10 or 15 minutes. Make a stop while the tour guide talks about the area and gives us some water if we’re desperate and dying of thirst. The city was small enough that we managed to pretty much see all of the touristy things within those 4.5 hours. Pretty decent.

We had some awesome ice cream during the tour. They scoop the icecream in a rose shape! Also grabbed some bean goulash from a local stall/restaurant thing. Surprisingly also really good. Only cost about 3AUD I think for each bowl of goulash.

FLOWER ICE CREAM! Pretty cheap too!FLOWER ICE CREAM! Pretty cheap too!The most notable part of the cycling tour was probably the castle/palace of the old monarch. It was pretty awesome. What wasn’t so awesome was the fact that it was a rough 45 degree incline or something uphill. It was a pretty long way too. I tried cycling most of it but gave up about 80% of the way through. Steph saw the futility of it and starting walking roughly from the start. Still what a trooper! I’m very impressed and pleased that she went on this tour, knowing full well the difficulty and duration that it involves. Who knows, maybe next time we can go on a 10 hour tour? That was actually my original plan for this trip. A SEVEN DAY bike tour going all the way from Austria to Budapest. That would’ve been pretty amazing but considering our performance this time around we probably would never have made it to our destination if we did that tour. Maybe one day in the far future.

Gaaaaaasp Gaaaaaasp Huff...puff...gaaaaspHuff…puff…gaaaasp Huff...puffHuff…puff IMG_20130430_144808ohgodwhy Nice view, horrible camera. I found out in Vienna this was because I had a bunch of dirt on my camera. Still need to get a new phone and upgrade the camera though. MADE IT!
Nice view, horrible camera. I found out in Vienna this was because I had a bunch of dirt on my camera. Still need to get a new phone and upgrade the camera though.Nearing the end of the tour we were falling asleep from the fatigue of cycling around too much. I think Steph decided to lay down somewhere and rest on my lap. At this point the tour guide had a suspicion we were getting tired (HAH) and sped up through the rest of the tour.

So yes. We were kind of tumbling around rather than walkin since our legs were completely busted by the end of the day. So we slowly tumbled over to a decently looking pub restaurant thing. Due to the horrific experience the night before with Hungarian food I don’t know what we were thinking with going to another Hungarian restaurant. Luckily everything turned out fine. Great service, great food. Its almost as if you can’t judge a country by only a few of its citizens!

There is also the fact that yesterday at Rosenstein it was in a really dodgy area. Like, Ballajura pub dodgy or Koondoola dodgy. So maybe the waitress last night was so sick of fighting off druggies or something every night she has turned into a cynical and bitter lady.

So anyway we decided to order some good food to make up for our calorie munching journey (for you fitness geeks, yes I
know the calories burnt from cycling was insignificant and almost trivial, thankyou). Steph made a point that she always seems to eat more manly food than I do. I can vouch for this. I remember eating some sort of elegant gourmet plum duck pie once while she chomped away at a giant steak. I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

Steph's energetic face after the tour.Steph’s energetic face after the tour. My energetic face after the tour.My energetic face after the tour.What I CAN confirm is that yes, this time around she did indeed have a much more manly meal than me. A gigantic pork
knuckle was placed in front of her. Me? I had some duck with plum sauce again. Some things never change…

Steph's way-too-manly meal.Steph’s way-too-manly meal. I think she managed to finish most of it, impressively enough.I think she managed to finish most of it, impressively enough.Anyway that night I went out Lindy Hopping. Steph decided to stay at the apartment and nurse her thighs that were on metaphorical fire. Lindy hopping was pretty great, I met a few people and expanded my mighty global network of fellow Swing Dancers. Did a (very very difficult) beginners lesson and then moved on to some social dancing. This is the only sample of nightlife I had while in Budapest (which is well known for its partying atmosphere) and I enjoyed it. This was on a much smaller scale than the typical partying that goes on in this city though, but then again my soul doesn’t cry out for expensive drunken nights. Except the beer I bought here cost around 1.5AUD (just a midi though), so maybe not the ‘expensive’ part.

Lindy Hopping! Live music with fiddlin', guitar, and double bass.Lindy Hopping! Live music with fiddlin’, guitar, and double bass.