Hungary day 1 – Budapest airport, city center walk, opera house, St Stephens Cathedral. So, as they say in Hungary, Yo napot! It means hello. If your name is Napot, don’t bother visiting. You’ll just end up stuck in one place doing a Mr Bean dance as people greet each other.
So yes, here I am in Hungary, spamming your inbox with photos and surprisingly useless travel tips. A bit of a delay sending this since new EU regulations require country members with presidents who plagarize doctoral thesises (thethitheeth?), to set their time zones back by 3 days.
I did not expect Hungary to be a moelijke land (difficult country), but it did turn out to be surprisingly difficult to get to. They have a 3-step tourist access prevention process in place.
- Book accommodation, confirmed by credit card beep beep on phone. Receive message to say accommodation cancelled. Retry somewhere else, beep beep, confirmed … cancelled. Retry somewhere else, no beeps this time, receive message from booking site to say they cannot verify who I am and would I please log in to my Facebook page to verify who I am. I do that but first check all the bogus schools, companies, birthdays I entered match with the bogus crap I entered on the other website. Still fail. Blah blah blah, curse, swear, phonecalls, eventually get something booked … on planet Zork as far as I can tell. But they have a shuttle service to Hungary.
- Book airline ticket. Austrian Airlines sent me a cheap offer, hence the choice to go to Budapest. Flight was cancelled due to “technical difficulties” a few hours before departure. Oh. Bugger. Well Lufthansa stepped in with a cancellation-free flight from Dubai >> Frankfurt >> Zork >> Budapest.
- Book rental car. Same company I used many times, same process, could do it blindfold. Perhaps I did. Got to Budapest airport, it wasn’t even cancelled – the booking didn’t exist in the first place according to the local agent. Phonecalls, blah, blah, blah, eventually I get a Zorkmobile to tear up the Budapest city streets with. Speaking of which, it appears to have an industrial strength subwoofer installed. I have seen satellite dishes fall off nearby apartment roofs while driving past with track number 12 of Muse’s latest album playing at max. Here, cook your own stereo …
They’re playing in Budapest in November by the way.
So having successfully navigated the diabolical EU or Hungarian or Zorkian tourist entry minefield, I found my accommodation unoccupied and available (I know this is normally what you’d expect, but my expectations were adjusted slightly in the lead up to this trip).
I used a website called Airbnb – people rent out their own apartments, and go and sleep in a broom closet or something while you stay there. I don’t know what happened to the gentleman who I rented this apartment from, he’s not in the broom closet. Apart from the booking hiccups, it seems like a clever idea.
Soooo … that was the first day. I have photos of cancelled tickets, bookings, melted car stereo for your amusement. And a couple of Budapest. Nice city, reasonably flat on the Pest side of the river Danube. Bit hilly on the Buda side. And yes, there is a Central Pest area.
- 804 – Budapest Opera House outside. It was raining, so this is the dark and gloomy version.
- 904 – Budapest Opera House inside. It was raining, but that was outside, so the inside is bright and ornate, just like on sunny days.
- 858 – Budapest Opera House entrance stairs. It was raining, so I have a lot of photos of the inside of the Budapest Opera House.
- 879 – Ybl Miklos, architect of the Budapest Opera House. Not particularly interesting, but it was raining, so I have a lot of photos of the Budape … did I say that already?
- 890 – Me inside the Budapest Opera House (so you know I’m not making all this up). It was rain … oh here we go again. No idea why iron ladies are in the Budapest Opera House. There was a tour guide but I wasn’t paying attention.
- 920 – Quaint cobblestoned street in Budapest (the wet weather version). Pretty much gave up on the Budapest photos after that. It was raining …
- 947 – The Dog’s Bollix. I haven’t been able to find it again so can’t comment on the Guinness. Not that I like to spend a lot of time looking for dog’s bollocks, they seem to be quite capable of doing that themselves.
- 953 – Hungarian Ministry of Cancellations.
- 958 – St Stephen’s Basilica.
- 997 – Cafe Pausa (I think). They make authentic Hungarian cuisine so I tried their Hungarian Quattro Stagioni pizza with extra Hungarian anchovies. It arrived without any cancellations, and it had stopped raining by then. So things were looking up. Well, until I tried to get a mobile phone connection … did anyone mutter “cancelled”?