Wednesday, April 22, 2015

herring sissy vaca: Budapest!

Onto the third country of the Herring sissy vaca! If you'd like to start from the beginning, you can click these links: 

Budapest, Hungary was one of my FAVORITES! I highly recommend it. The nice thing about these eastern countries is that most aren't on the Euro yet, so everything is pretty cheap. Very nice for these two backpackers! 

We arrived about dinner time. I really liked their train station. 


Bink was keeping it classy with the champs and Canadian tuxedo (jorts instead of jeans, naturally).


We checked into another Wombats hostel. This one was the nicest by far. There are pics further down from when we checked out. 

One of the things Budapest is known for is the ruins bars. They're basically run down buildings or unused outdoor spaces that have been transformed into bars. 


They were quite neat. 


The next day, we headed out to explore the city. We got a little lost, so we walked more than expected! 


The building below is by far my favorite of the whole trip!


It's the Hungarian Parliament Building. Isn't it beautiful?!  


All over the cities we traveled to were these city bikes you could rent and park at any of the stations. From what I remember, Bink wanted to rent some again, but I still had PTSD from the bike ride in Austria. 



The Buda Castle


Did you know Budapest is actually split up into Buda and Pest? 

This is the Chain Bridge, the first bridge that connected the two. 


I may have gone a little nuts with the picture taking, per usual. 




To get up to Castle Hill, you could walk or take the funicular up. 


We chose the funicular, of course. 


There was a ceremony going on at the top. Maybe the changing of the guards? 


At one point, they all shot their guns at once. I was definitely not expecting it, and I almost hit the dirt. 


Some scenery pics from the hill, shall we? 

The pretty domed building is St. Stephens Basilica. 


Again with Parliament.






Sissy pic! 





They were excavating this area behind the calendar. 





I was digging the Castle architecture (surprise to no one), so I again took tons o' pics. 








See the bride below? How awesome of a setting would this be for wedding pics?! 








We took the funicular back down, and I captured the action since we got to sit in the front. 






We walked back across the Chain Bridge. 




A little piece of Americana: 


Binky's favorite thing about Europe was the pigeons! Jk, she actually tried to kick them if they got too close while yelling "GIT! GO ON! GIT OUTTA HERE!" like a true Southerner. Flying rats is how she referred to them. 


On the way back to the hostel, we stumbled upon a Palinka festival. 


Palinka is a traditional fruit brandy, but honestly, it tasted like flavored rubbing alcohol. Burned all our nose hairs right off. It reminded me of moonshine. 

It was a few bucks to get into the festival, and you got these tasting glasses along with 2 drink tickets. I wish I had Binky's reaction of her first taste on video. Hilarious! 


There was a band playing


and tons of people around. 


We ended up talking with a couple from DC. It was always nice running into Americans willing to chat! 

There were a lot of tents set up with different brands and flavors of Palinka to choose from. If I remember correctly, I tried apple and pear. 


Selfie! 



After we had our tastings of palinka, we bought some mixed drinks that had it in there. These were really good. 


After the festival, we walked back to the hostel to shower and go get some grub. 


We ate at a place across the street, then headed out to the ruins bars again. Budapest has quite the nightlife. 



We went back to Szimpla Koncert, one of the more famous ruin bars. We met a couple, the girl was from North Carolina, and the guy was from London. They began dating when she was studying abroad. We talked with them for awhile, and of course got them to get a pic of us. 





The next day we set out to a museum and the thermal baths! Naturally we had to stop for some caffeine along the way. This tiny shot glass was the large espresso. Bink was not thrilled. 


Another big fancy KFC on our way to the museum. 


We arrived at the Museum of Terror and decided to do an audio tour. 


There was a room full of old advertisements from after the war. I didn't take many pics in the museum, but I did get several of this room.




There was a memorial for all the lives lost. 



After the museum, we headed to the thermal baths.


There were tons of people around the area, because there was another festival going on. 




We couldn't tell what it was for, but there were lots of treats. 




Also, some Native Americans. Hello, my people! 




We finally made our way over to the baths! 




I stepped out to get a couple of shots with my nice camera before putting it into a locker. 



We were given a little watch/magnet thing that unlocked our lockers. Outside, there were three big pools of different temperatures. 

Of course I brought my iPhone to capture the rest of our time there. 


Another sissy selfie! 


We hung out in the one for a bit, then moved to the other. 



I told Bink we should take an ironic, typical "feet in the sand" pic like everyone does at the beach. She decided to stick her hands in there instead. 


Below, you can see an area that's tiled sticking out of the water. Binky dubbed this the toilet bowl of doom. It was like a mini lazy river inside the pool, and every 15 minutes or so, the water would get really fast, and everyone in there would float around in a circle, like a toilet bowl. Of doom. I have a video on Instagram (ilikewhatimherring) of us almost drowning because we were laughing so hard riding around with all the other tourists. 


We ended up chatting it up with some guys from Holland. They took a guys trip every year, and one of them would plan it, and the others wouldn't know where they were going until they arrived. Pretty cool concept. 


They were amazed at the Lifeproof case on my phone. I guess they don't have those over there (or they aren't very popular), but it's waterproof, so I held it in the pool. Nice conversation starter!


Sadly, we didn't even get their names, but so it goes sometimes meeting people while traveling. 

We went to some of the inside baths. They were more like hot tubs. There were exercise rooms, steam rooms, ladies only, men only, etc. I failed to take pictures inside, but they weren't near as pretty as the outside ones. 

After the baths, we walked over to Hero's Square. 


We passed these beautiful ponds and gardens on the way there. 


Bridge leading into the square. 





The next few pics were taken from the middle of the square. 




I'm assuming there had been some sort of concert or something because there was trash all over the ground. 





We decided to go check out the festival to get some snacks, naturally. 


This building was very Harry Potter-esque to me. 






AMERIKAI! 


We were running low on cash, and couldn't find an ATM, so we bought what we could to snack on before heading back. Meat and beer. Yummmmy. 


This happened a lot..


Being behind the camera, I couldn't see her sneaking into the shot. So so funnies. 


When we arrived back at the hostel, we discovered how terrible one of the new roommates was. Our room had three bunk beds, and only a couple were taken when we got there, so this girl was the fifth. She had stolen Binky's towel the night before. She also camped out in the bathroom while she showered for about 2 hours. When we arrived back this particular afternoon, she was asleep, and had the nerve to huff and puff at us when we came in quietly.  It was still light outside, so we didn't feel too bad. 


She ended up leaving shortly thereafter, and we got to FaceTime with ma. 


Here's another roommate, Asaf, who was from New York City. He had the pleasure of staying in the bunk below the crazy girl. She hung up her undies and swimsuit over his bed. 


Bink and I set out to see Castle Hill at night, and we ate at a little restaurant along the river. 







The next day we checked out of our hostel, Wombats. I got some pictures. It was beautiful! This was the breakfast area. To the left was the bar.  


And we walked up this glorious staircase to get to the rooms. 


The breakfast here was amazing. Lots of bread, meats, cheeses, coffee. So. good. 



I made Bink take a pic of me with all my items. 


And I got one of her as well. Since she was there longer than me, she had a bigger backpack. 


We went to St. Stephen's Basilica. We left our packs at the hostel while we went out sightseeing. We went to the train station to buy tickets. It was very confusing this time around, but we got it all worked out. 


Probably because this is how the language looks.. Completely foreign. 


We dropped off some postcards at the post office for people back home! 


We finally made it to the basilica. 




I'm just gonna let these awesome pictures speak for themselves. 















So this basilica has a relic, and theirs is the HAND of St. Stephen. It's in this fancy reliquary.







Bink and I got into a little scuffle at this point. She wanted to spend all our coins, and I wanted to save a few, since they weren't on the Euro. We walked back to the hostel in silence. 

I remember while we were walking, the Google Street View car passed us. AND LOOK! I found us on there! 


Isn't that nuts?!?


Once we got to the train station, we had to figure out which platform to go to.. Here is some confusing Hungarian scheduling for your viewing pleasure. We basically had to find the matching time, then confirm the destination spelling. We only messed this up once, but that's later in the trip. 


It was Memorial Day back home, so we celebrated by drinking some red, white, and blue beer while we waited on our train. It came out to about $3 for 4 of them, so we stocked up for the train ride to Croatia. 


I'll let you guess how many. 

Cheers! 


I took some pictures of the train because I had not done that yet I take pictures of anything. 


Cute little dining car!


And some out-the-window pics! 






Budapest was probably my favorite of the entire trip! I highly recommend it! 

Next up: Croatia! 

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