prague and budapest

Sunday, October 21, 2012

We took an overnight train from Krakow to Prague. Each compartment has 6 beds and since there is 5 of us, there was an extra bed for a stranger.  So, I ended up next to a little old Polish man who knew a little bit of English. He was pretty chatty.  I talked to him for a little while and he was pretty excited about it. Every time that I tell someone that I'm from Washington state, they instantly say "oh yes, I know, the capitol."  It's a lot easier to just let them believe that then to try to explain that there is actually another washington.  And the only thing that most people know about the states is NYC,  so I proceeded to tell him all about NYC as if I lived there. He loved that.  I was really tired though and as soon as there was a lull in the conversation I pulled out a book and hoped we would get the point.  Then Stevie started saying something to him and he said "what?" She repeated and then he said, "your English is not very good."  I guess living in Utah for 21 years just didn't quite cut it for her English learning.  But at least that gave me enough time to roll over and act like I was sleeping before he wanted to talk to me, the English pro, again.

One of the girls had some family connections to a guy that was staying in Prague while we were there so he took care of us.  We had planned to stay in a really cheap hostel but he decided it was in a pretty bad part of town and insisted we stay in an apartment on the main shopping street where he had connections.  Since we couldn't afford something like that he agreed to have us just pay what we were planning to pay at the other place. So, we got to stay on this street (from the above photo) in a beautiful, huge apartment for the price of the cheapest hostel in Prague. Lucky us! He also introduced us to a guy that just got off his mission and had time to show us around the city.  He was our tour guide for the two days we were there and introduced us to a couple new friends.  They made us dinner and hung out with us.  It was so fun to meet new people.

Prague was really beautiful with so much amazing architecture.  This was on the famous Charles bridge. After I got home I had to watch Mission Impossible because that's the bridge where everyone dies in the beginning scene.  Movies are so much cooler when you've been there huh. 

Old Town Square.
Just lovin Prague.
A market and souvenir spot.
View of Charles bridge.

These were oh SO good. Its like bread covered in sugar and cinnamon.  I might have had a few.

We took a bus to Budapest, Hungary after spending a couple days in Prague.  The drive was about 7 hours and it was incredibly gorgeous! Budapest was beautiful too and turned out to be my favorite city out of our trip that week.  Even though it wasn't that far away, it had a very different feel and different architecture.  I wish we had more time to explore there.  Right after we got there we were having the yummiest dinner (Italian.....yeah) and I just had one of those feelings of being so incredibly happy to be where I was.  I heart Budapest.

I went a little crazy with H&M.  There was at least 2 or 3 stores in each of the cities we went to.  I can't just walk by and not get sucked in.  

There are several bridges that connect the Buda and the Pest sides of the city. We wanted to see both sides in one day so we were walking up and down and all around jamming everything into one day.  We got most of it and definitely got to know those bridges well.  It was cool cause they were all really distinct looking. This was the green bridge.
I'd call this the lion bridge. 
Just a view of both sides of the city.

All of the buildings have such intricate detailing carved into the walls.  I've seen that in all the cities in Europe so far and I just love it. 

The currency exchange was the biggest in Budapest.  It was nothing to spend 3,000 on a meal. Makes me feel pretty rich when the smallest thing I put out of my wallet is a 100. So far on our trip we've used litas, euros, zloty, forint and crowns and we still have a couple more countries to go to.  It's craziness!  Imagine every state you go to having a different currency and they are all different exchange rates.  Yeesh.  It makes my brain hurt. 

Budapest is famous for their thermal baths so we made sure to make an appearance.  The photo above is the one that we went to.  It was pretty packed though.  Inside those yellow buildings are tons of rooms that have saunas, steam rooms and other pools.  Then next to each hot room was a cold pool.  They use the therapy of hot to cold temp changes.  I tried it and it actually did feel really good, once you get past the intense pain of jumping in a cold pool....yeah its nice.  There were pools that had different elements to them like sulfer, calcium, different light treatments, of all different temperatures.  Its all meant to be healing.  And it felt so good.  After a week of walking around, it was just what I needed.  We were in there for a few hours and loved it.  That night we all slept so hard that we missed our bus out of there the following morning.  But that just meant one extra day in Budapest so it wasn't the end of the world. 

Since we missed our bus that morning, we had to go for the next best thing and catch a train to get back to Krakow.  Trains are just more expensive but it was our only option.  So turns out that Budapest has THE sketchiest train station ever. So dirty. So druggy. We had to find a bathroom and we saw this WC sign (which means water closet which means bathroom) so we started heading that way.  Me and Stevie turned the corner to follow the WC sign just as some guy whipped out his business and started peeing on the wall.  I quickly scanned the area to see some dark hallway with people doing who knows we got our butts outta there pretty quick.  All we could do was run and laugh.  When we looked at each other to confirm that we both saw the same thing, we both just knew.  Sketch sketch sketch.  And we still had to pee.  

Apples are mondo big there. 
This was the best hungarian food restaurant that we found.  It was paprika chicken with some creamy sauce over noodles.  For CHEAP. 

I love the metros in Budapest.  Actually anywhere.  They're so much better than the bus.

If anyone wants a Budapest tour guide I will go back with you k?  And we will avoid the train station at all costs.

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