Brooke and I woke up early this morning, got some free breakfast in the hostel and then decided that it was very necessary to go buy a pair of super cheap shoes because our shoes were getting destroyed by the snow and rain. So we asked the front desk where to go and they told us to take the metro a couple stops and go to this area where these is a really cheap mall. In the meantime, I realized that I lost my umbrella at some point yesterday which I am so bummed about. It was a great umbrella! Anyway, we got on the metro, got off at the stop and can’t find the mall. We saw something that seemed like a mall, but I think it was closed. We went in this depressing department store and decided that the little stand in the actual subway station had a better selection of shoes for a cheaper price. We each ended up spending the equivalent of $12 on a pair of black high top, leather looking converse. Great purchase and I didn’t even plan on ever wearing these shoes again, but I’m really feeling these shoes. So we got the shoes, took the metro back to our hostel, dropped off our good shoes, changed into our new pair and then walked about 6 minutes to meet up with a group for a free walking your around Budapest.
Our tour guide was awesome. It was a completely free tour for 3 hours. We saw a cool little sculpture with colored blocks that exists because the creator of the Rubik’s cube is from Hungary. Then we walked over to the opera house again, which we did yesterday, then went to the big basilica and took some pics. The tour continued on to Vaci Utica, the famous shopping street and then to the Dabue river where we crossed the famous Chain Bridge. So Budapest is named Budapest because one side of the river is called Buda and the other side is Pest. We are staying on the Pest side and the Buda side is supposed to be super expensive. The main city is on the Pest side. We crossed the bridge, then walked up to Castle Hill where there is a big bird sculpture and the citadel. It was a bike hike up and still, freezing cold. We then walked over to the Mathias (spelling?) church. You could tell that the roof of the church was really cool and patterned, but unfortunately it was covered by the snow. The tour ended here and Brooke and I hopped on a bus to get back to the city center.
We quickly went back to the hostel to change our socks. I was convinced that I had frost bite and that one of my toes fell off. I was wrong thank god. We left the hostel, and went to get lunch at this place called the Hummus Bar in the Jewish Quarters. Really yummy cheap middle eastern/Mediterranean food. Then we left and walked down the block to the Synagogue which is the largest Synagogue in Europe. So huge bummer…the Synagogue is closed this week because it’s Passover. Woof. So we could only take pictures outside of it. Nonetheless, it was huge! There was a police officer that was there that said Passover services were at 5:00PM, and it was 4:00, so we though to walk around for a little and then come back and try to get in.
We then walked around Vaci Utica, the shopping street, then walked back to the Synagogue where services were definitely not taking place…language barrier just have gotten in the way. So then we came back to the hostel and just chilled and tonight we made plans to hang out with the girls from Belgium that only speak French hahaa. We were hungry, so we ran down the street to the grocery store and picked up dinner. I kid you not, we paid the equivalent of $2 American each for dinner. This place is so cheap I can’t even believe it.
We ended up running into my friend Michael Kagan, from IU, so we hang out with him and his roommate for a while. We also met these kids from Toronto. One of the boys was wearing a “Vienna” sweatshirt so we asked if studied there and told him we were just there. After he said one sentence, I asked if he was Canadian because I could hear his accent (thanks to Tamakwa for tuning my ear to Canadian accents) so that was funny. I was spot on and it ends up that he went to Forest Hill High School and knows my friends from Tamakwa.
After hanging in the hostel for a little, Brooke and I went to this absolutely bizarre bar called Szimpla Kert. It was nuts. It looked like someone went through a thrift shop/dump/wasteland and just found tons of random things and put them all in this warehouse. It was really cool. Absolutely crazy looking inside. We decided that if this bar was in America, it would be an über hipster bar where if we walked in, we would get weird looks. Here, this place was completely normal.
Tomorrow we are going to the market and baths which should be great!