A Travellerspoint blog

How not to be a tourist in Budapest

Going, and getting taken, for a ride.

sunny 23 °C

I've done everything today, that a tourist shouldn't do. Firstly, I had breakfast at my hotel. That's where you pay top dollar for a buffet of cornies and cold cuts. Then I headed into town to buy a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus. I was really just throwing money away because I'd already purchased a 7 day transport pass which can get me anywhere in the city, but the bus was a bit of a novelty (with no windows) and the commentary was interesting.


I stayed on through the first 10 stops, getting to see lots of places including Heroe's Square, the Opera House, the huge Synagogue, various historic buildings (including the plague hospital) and Budapest's beautiful tree-lined boulevards. I finally got off when they had delivered me to the top of Gellert Hill, which overlooks the city. The hill is named after a missionary who tried to convert the pagan locals. After they'd heard enough, they put him in a spike filled barrel, nailed the lid shut, and rolled him down hill into the Danube. That aside, it's a beautiful spot today. You can see for miles right across Buda and Pest. Hungary even have their own statue of liberty towering over the city from high up on this hill.


I hopped back on the bus to cross the river and just made it to the dock in time to catch the boat to Margaret Island. I was really surprised how nice it is on the island and 2 hours passed quickly, wandering around the park, people watching, drinking half a litre of beer and eating a chicken burger. I know I can eat those at home, but remember I was doing all the things today that you're not supposed to do as a tourist.


By this stage, I'd developed a taste for beer so once the boat delivered me back to Pest, I found a bar on the terrace and ordered the other half a litre - my next mistake. Never order a beer without checking the price list first. For the exact same as what I'd had on the island, I paid two and a half times more here. Everyone seems to fleece their bit off the top, even if the tip is already included in the price, so you can forget about seeing any change most of the time.

I decided to console myself by checking out one of the many casinos. Surely they wouldn't rip me off? I started to get a bit nervous when, before they would let me in, they took a copy of my passport, took my photo, and made me sign something to say I'm not a Hungarian politician. Then they gave me a membership card, and off I went. It must have taken me all of 30 seconds to lose what I wanted to spend, so now I have a nice new casino membership card to take home as a souvenir of Budapest. And they have all my money.

Something else I learned today, Hungarians say hello for goodbye. As I was getting off the bus, the driver said "Hello!" to the back of my head. Then in the beer garden where I had lunch, the waiter called out "Hello!" to me when I was leaving. The guide told us this yesterday, but I thought she was joking. Apparently not. I don't know what to say, so I just look puzzled.

I finished my day with a walk around town. There's a festival on, and it's a public holiday tomorrow, so there are live bands playing, lots of people drinking, and craft and food stalls galore. I decided to try the Hungarian favourite snack of deep fried bread covered in sour cream, cheese, and other who-knows-what on top. It was sinfully good and equally tasty.


The atmosphere in the town squares is fabulous and it looked like everyone was settling in for a good night. I would have liked to join them, but the sun was starting to set, so I scurried back to my hotel before I turned into a pumpkin.

Posted by Gotmybindle 11:30 Archived in Hungary Tagged budapest

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Well you had to have at least one chicken burger! That last picture looks a liiiittle bit like it has feathers on it.

by Riv

Yeah i agree Riv... I couldnt see you going 6 weeks without a Chicken Burger !! Your definatly doing me proud with all the Beer your tasting my girl - Nice work :0) Cant wait to see your new Casino Membership Card.... oh and that Deep Fried bread covered in Sour Cream and Cheese sounds heavenly. Can you bring the recepie home with you? xxxx

by Shar

Actually, I was thinking while I ate the burger, that I should start a blog on chicken burgers around the world. Seeing as I am a connoisseur. It wasn't that flash. No avocado.

by Gotmybindle

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