On day 3, we headed East to...
We boarded a nice Austrian train, but when we landed in Budapest we realized very quickly that we were no longer in western Europe. As you can see by the sign and the train behind Mike, everything was a little out-dated compared to its western neighbors. It could have just been our impression after a day on the train, but everything seemed dreary and worn out.
We were also hungry so we headed straight for the hotel to drop off our stuff. We walked in and were surprised of how fancy it looked around the courtyard, but received an even better surprise when we found out that the hotel was simply a few rented out apartments from this courtyard complex run by some students. As with all of the other places so far, it was just great for one night's sleep, but it was quite the interesting set-up.
After a good night's sleep and a bright new day, we knew Budapest had some treasures when we saw this fellow and his dog. We watched him come out of an ice cream parlor by himself, but holding two ice cream cones. At first, we thought he probably just loves ice cream, but then he crouched down and gave his dog a lick. Again we thought he was probably just giving his dog a lick like some of us dog-lovers do from time to time, but not this guy. He crouched their and fed his dog the entire chocolate ice cream cone before eating his own.
After snapping a few candid shots of this ice cream duo, we headed across the river to see the Hungarian parliament building. Why is it that the parliament buildings are the only ones kept up in poorer countries?
Once we crossed the bridge, it was our time to have some ice cream, but we weren't quite as lucky as the dog. We saw an ice cream street vendor and asked her for a small scoop. And SMALL is exactly what we got. It took quite a while to lick through the Styrofoam cone to get to the ice cream, but we soon found out why the lady was selling such small scoops, it was disgusting! Maybe it's because we are used to nice, creamy gelato, but this was really the worst ice cream we've ever had.
After chocking down our ice cream, we headed up a hill to the castle. It was quite the walk.When we made it up there, the outside of the cathedral and the old castle wall were really pretty, but we weren't about to pay to go inside anything. So, we wandered around the old courtyard for about as long as it took us to hike up to it and then headed back down toward the city.
We ended up getting lost, asking lots of people unsuccessfully how to get back into town and were extremely grateful to board our train, even though it was the dingiest one yet, and be done with Budapest.
After looking through our pictures again, we realized that there were some highlights, but Budapest was by far our least favorite place. It was definitely an experience, but not necessarily a great one. It was a really big, dirty city with lots of not so tourist-friendly people and, in comparison to what we've seen of Europe so far, it had very little to do or see.