The Budapest Adventure Part 2

It was a very hot day, and we were very inexperienced about the European continent. After buying my third bottle of water (we don’t drink from the tap, because nobody told us if we could), I promised myself to buy a huge bottle from Aldi and equipped myself with such tool of hydration. It is definitely annoying to buy water from touristy area, knowing that you are paying eight to ten times more than you should, but you had to do it anyway or else you would die of dehydration.

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When you see this, you are in Buda Castle Hill. Houdini Museum is just on the left…
Don’t let my stinginess ruin the holiday, that’s a part of being a penniless traveller.

Where were we? Oh yes, Buda Castle.

Our first visit is Hungarian National Gallery. If you have Budapest Card, you can get in for free. You would have to keep your rucksack in the cloakroom, which is free, so it would be handy if you have a smaller pouch like Grumpy’s tourist bumbag, or my little useless milk carton bag to keep valuables, and the essentials.

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small sling bag to keep your passport, phone and some credit cards with you

The gallery housed a lot of… well… art stuff. We were really not that kind of people really. We enjoyed walking around, but honestly none of us actually understand what we were looking at. We knew some stuff are good because they were quite pleasing to look at, but some other “artistic installation” is kind of bollocks.

However, a few minutes away from the sun was always welcomed.

Not so far from the gallery, you could find the Museum of Budapest History. It is also free with Budapest Card. And you have to keep your rucksack at the cloakroom too, I am pretty sure it is more to keep the sticky fingers away from the artefacts. The museum though, was more for us.

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From the museum’s window looking out to the one of the castle’s courts… Just to give you an idea how massive the building is…
We loved it

The first thing you see in this museum is how the castle itself has changed over time, depending on who was in charge of the area. Not surprised that many buildings in Budapest has more than one architectural characteristics, as it has been influenced by the Ottomans, the Germans, and the Russians.

I have to confess something though, that the best thing I saw in this museum was Grumpy’s reaction when he saw something that interests him. The old living room set, for example — complete with a working black and white TV set. I don’t blame him for being so fascinated by it, my dear Grumpy must be so happy to remember the days before he had grown grumpy like he is today.

To be continued…

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The Budapest Adventure Part 1

I apologise in advance that I have to break our holiday story in few parts because there are a lot of it and I know for some people it would be too tiresome to read a whole dissertation about how much fun we had in Budapest.

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, not to be confused with Bucharest which is in Romania. Close… but not quite. I had to correct few people for this, and had to endure the awkwardness of being the one who knows better. It is big and busy, it looks beautiful and tough at the same time. Not sure how to explain it, I might just give you some photos…

We bought a couple of Budapest Card, for each of us. Budapest card… is a card that would give you access to the whole public transport system in Budapest — metro, train, and bus (at least those all we know of), a free entrance to several museums there, and also give us discount price for entrance fee and dining — if you wish to do so. I have to make a disclaimer now, though — this Budapest Card works for us because we intended to visit museums and galleries, so it is helpful for us to get there and get an entrance. But if your intention is to go to the city and look around, you might just get a daily travel pass for your transport instead as they are much cheaper.

In Hungary we use Hungarian Forint. When we were there, the exchange rate to GBP is 330 ish HUF for a pound. In few places, they also accept Euro — but I found having Forint at hand is much easier as the pastry shop in the train station don’t accept Euro. I found it much easier to draw money from ATM than to bring cash and exchange it at a money changer.

Our first destination was Buda Castle. I made a mistake by taking bus instead of a metro. Well, there’s nothing wrong with the bus, but I just don’t know where to stop with bus as it stops everywhere in the city. They do announce when they stop, and where they stop, but it meant nothing to me as I don’t understand a word. With the metro, at least you know which was the station and we take it from there.

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So, Budapest is divided by the river Danube. One side is called Buda, and the other is called Pest. Guess in which side the Buda Castle is? Of course it is in the side of Buda, it is not a trick question.

Buda Castle is a massive, massive historical structure on the top of the Castle Hill. In Buda Castle housed at least one gallery (Hungarian National Gallery — we went there), and one museum (Budapest Museum of History — we went there as well). In the surrounding complex you could find Houdini Museum (I didn’t know that Houdini was a Hungarian), and a bunker (we went there… and we have a lot to say about this place).

Now, I told you that we made a mistake taking the bus instead of metro? Yessur… we spent the whole morning trying to find this Buda Castle. One of the most recognisable architectural structure in the city, and we got ourselves lost by missing the stop. That was the last time we took bus in Budapest.

To be continued….

We Went East!

After days and days of waiting, finally the holiday came. I couldn’t wait to get on that aeroplane and fly to Hungary, but I think Grumpy would love to just skip the flying bit to the arrival. But anyways, I was so excited, I couldn’t even go to sleep at night — I ended up googling places to go to, and how to go there, and by the morning I have got a list.

The flight itself was smooth, I think the good weather both in the UK and the European continent helped a lot. We didn’t have any delay, or any incidents — which is good, because we surely didn’t need any more stress at that time.

We left Norwich just after lunchtime, a few hours transfer in Amsterdam, and arrived in Budapest just before midnight. We went on a complete tourist mode, and got excited at the sight of anything remotely British — like Tesco.

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We arrived at this guesthouse. I didn’t expect the guesthouse to look like that, as it looked completely different from one one I saw online. I won’t recommend this place if you are expecting for a British standard B&B. This guesthouse is pretty basic, and slightly rundown — it amused Grumpy greatly to see how the toilet seat was installed in the shower room.

The lift was slightly dodgy, we only used it to get up to our floor in the end of the day because our legs would be incredibly tired by then, but we always pick stairs in the morning. Just because.

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The best thing about the guesthouse we went to is its location. It is very close to Keleti Railway Station, which means it would make it easier for our next trip to Tokaji (where the wedding would be held the next few days), and transport to the whole city. It is also very close to ALDI, which is very handy as we chose the guesthouse which don’t offer breakfast at all (ALDI there opens from 7 am to 11 pm). It is close to an ATM, a Kebab Shop, and a pub/coffee house too, which means…. we were sorted.

Come to think of it, it is our first time going abroad together just the two of us. Usually, we went abroad only to my home to see my family, or going around in the UK. It was an incredible experience, and we are definitely looking forward to going for another holiday together like that.

 

Oh Hello

Oh dear… I think we have been missing for the past few weeks, have we? I apologise for that. I think it is time for us to give some update about what we have been doing that stopped us from updating.

Two things, exactly. Holiday, and Game.

Holiday

We just came back from Hungary a couple of week ago. Yes you read it right, Hungary.

We had a wedding invitation in Hungary. My friend, who happened to be a Hungarian was getting married, and we were invited to participate in the celebration. I thought, as we were going there, might as well spend some days to get around and visit some interesting places.

Of course I am going to update with more details, and some photos later.

Game

Game is a dangerous thing. Like I said before, I am new to Steam, and now they have this Summer Sale. As the result, I bought several games that few weeks ago was not affordable for me. That was a really bad idea.

I was so engrossed in the game, and I haven’t been able to be productive since then. Yes, I need to reorganise soon.

There you go, our summer summarised in less than two hundred words 😀

Steamy Summer Weekend… Oh So Much Fun!

Ha! I think there’s no harm in learning how to lure people with title that reminds you of a free evening tabloid on a tube station. Yep… We did have a Steamy Weekend, but not the sleazy, not-children-friendly kind of Steamy Weekend. First clue, of course, there is no such thing as a Steamy Summer in Britain. It is always the windy, slightly cold, or heatwave kind of summer in here. And, second of all, I am talking about Steam the game apps.

I downloaded the apps years ago, when someone told me that he would buy me a game. I had never had someone bought me a game before that day, and I thought that was quite a unique way to woo a girl. I mean, I am not really into flowers and chocolate, so… I did download the game. But I stopped contacting the aforementioned person, although I kept the apps, and the account… and the game.

Anyway… few days ago, I decided to go back there after one of my friends mentioned that Steam has summer sale. I wonder if there’s something I’d like. And there was this free game.

I was playing it when my Grumpkin came back from work, and I told him what it was. He took a glance, and he decided he’s going to try it too. Now both of us are hooked, and we spent the whole weekend — that was supposed to be spend somewhere else. We are bad like that..

But, anyway… I just realised that even when playing computer games, Grumpy is still grumping like no one’s listening — although in this case no one did listen, because I was playing the game too, and accidentally ignored his grumpyness completely. Ooops…

Anyway… time to sleep soon, hopefully we won’t get too absorbed into this game, and pull all-nighter playing, and feel horrible tomorrow.

The Magical City Of Edinburgh

Nossur! I am not trying to be overly dramatic by saying that. But let me ask you one thing… Are you a Potterhead? Well then, do you know that Edinburgh is actually the birthplace of The Boy Who Lived? Well then… if you don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain it to you in muggle terminology: “Edinburgh is actually the city where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter”.

Legend has it that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter while sitting down at The Elephant House Cafe in Edinburgh. The cafe has the spot overlooking the Edinburgh Castle, and it’s been said that it was then the lady herself breathed the life into the boy wizard.

Well… I am not a massive fan myself, so I didn’t get in to the cafe. In my defence, the cafe was jam packed with Potterheads, and my phone was dying, so all I wanted at that time was to find a place to sit and plug. So apologies for not getting photos.

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But you know what? I am not surprised that Ms. Rowling got her inspiration in this city. Not only by looking at the magnificent looking castle, I believe. The city itself offers an unlimited number of inspiration — the kind of inspiration that actually urge you to write, if you are into writing.

No, I am not overselling it, I bought a notepad because somehow I had so many thing in my head to write down, random stuff. In the hand of a more capable author, I won’t be surprised that it could end up as ten magical years of Harry Potter.

I mean, look at it. The castle, the cathedral, all the museums… the people… As someone who’s got an unhealthy appetite to languages, my ears were constantly spoiled with foreign languages around me. If I closed my eyes (I didn’t, by the way — for safety reasons, obviously) I could hear them chattering in different dialects, and languages. All of them… are aliens there. For that magical moment, I felt the sense of belonging — that I wasn’t the only alien.

That’s my personal magic moment, of course.

But, what if you don’t do Harry Potter (or you don’t read at all), and you don’t like language like me (or you don’t care about things like that)? Could you find magic in Edinburgh? Sure you can…

You know who does magic? Yes… yes… white magic, black magic? WITCHES! Yes!

If you are into that sort of thing, there are billions of ghost tours and witch hunt tour and show scattered all over the oldtown. I didn’t do it though, I though I saved it until I go back there again with my grumpkins, preferably not during the summer though…

More Museums…

Edinburgh made me realised that there is a museum for everyone. I believe that there is a strong correlation between the kind of museums you enjoy, and your personal background. The British Museum and the Scottish National Museum for example, are great museums, and I know a lot of people who enjoy them. But if you ask me, I pick York’s Jorvik Museum or Leeds’s Thackray Museum every time. So, my opinion about the museums I am going to mention next is not necessarily reflect the quality of the museum, okay? It’s just how I enjoy one better than the others…

Right… Disclaimer’s done, now the museums…

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The third museum I went to was Edinburgh Museum. I saw this museum when I was on my way back from the Scottish Parliament building, it’s not far from there. Although it is small, you would spot it quite easily as the colour is bright — contrast to the other surrounding buildings.

Don’t let the size and the facade of the building fool you though. It is free, so come and have a look, you might be surprised. They have a lot… and by a lot, I mean a lot of artefacts related to the city of Edinburgh. Silverware, glassware, and ceramics… Some artefacts from war time as well. Even if you don’t like looking at stuff, you can enjoy the building too.

Ooh… I enjoyed walking around the house, among the creaking floor and wonky doors.

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The next museum was also like that. The People’s Story is only few metres away from Edinburgh Museum. It is a bit more obscure, as the facade of the building blends really well with other buildings surrounding it.

I think among the three museums, I like this one the most.

Instead of offering stuff to look at, The People’s Story offers me… well.. story. There are a lot of well made mannequin, dressed up to show how life was in the old time in Edinburgh. The best thing is, it is also from the real people who used to live in Edinburgh. I really wish this museum was bigger, so there would be more story to tell…

This museum is also free, but I think donation is very much well appreciated. They have a really funky donation box near the reception.

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The last museum before I went home was The Museum of Childhood. This museum was awarded with some tourism something, but at that time I thought it was slightly overrated. However, now I think my opinion about this museum is pretty skewed because of the situation.

Compared to the last two museums, this museum was in a much better condition. Located in a busy high street, it was crowded with at least three groups of school kids. I was expecting a museum where old people reminiscing their childhood, instead of museum full of small noisy children. So yeah, my opinion is very bias. I could have enjoyed it better when I can stop and actually look at the stuff without all the noise.

Oh by the way… I am not showing you any photo of the stuff inside. You have to come yourself if you want to see 🙂

Have fun!