Hello from Hungary! At the moment I am sitting on the roof of my soviet-era hostel typing because it is the only place with wifi. Budapest is fantastic. Everything I've seen so far has been great. Well, almost everything. When I first came up the stairs with Chuck from the Metro (which in true soviet style, was like traveling in a giant tin can but less comfortable) we found two prostitutes standing over the lifeless body of a man who was either passed out or dead. Assuming he was dead, we went back down the stairs and used the other exit.
Besides that first impression, Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. Technically, Budapest is two cities (Buda and Pest) built on opposite sides of the Danube river. The buildings here are amazing. The intricate and ornate edifices of the centuries old buildings that have withstood war and invasion for decades are breathtaking. Last night, after drinking red wine on the bridge over the Danube (which is apparently the local hangout for young people) we went out to szimpla which is a bar built in the ruins of a large old building but with a ruined, post-apocalyptic theme. I've been to a lot of bars but never have I seen anything that comes close to rivaling szimpla in terms of full-on decoration. I'm really not going to bother describing it because I won't do it justice, but if you're ever in Budapest then it is definitely worth a visit. I also learned my first word of Hungarian on the trip home; gyros which means kebab.
Today we went to on of the many Turkish baths that are found all over Budapest. The water is all heated from natural springs and relaxing in hot water pools (including a wave pool) was a fantastic way to spend the day. For dinner we wandered into what was surprisingly fancy fine-dining restaurant complete with string quartet. The three course meal cost $25 Australian and Chuck was still complaining about how expensive it was. Everything in Hungary is cheap.
I think the plan is to go back to szimpla again tonight and I think everyone is leaving soon...
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