Now this looks like the seat of a powerful monarch!

And this could be his church; St Stephens Basilica

And here is a statue of one of his subjects!<grin>

~I rode into Budapest today, on a bus. I have several days to wait for my crown for my broken tooth to be prepared and I used this day to do a subway tour of Budapest. Buses leave Gyro for Budapest every hour from 8 AM to 8 PM and every half hour between 6 and 8 AM. The ride takes an hour and fifty minutes, most of which is spent on M1, an Autoroute. The bus leaves Gyro on 1, the highway. This caused me some confusion because it is labeled as 10 by my Microsoft mapping software! I was interested in 10, which is really 1, because I will be riding it out of town heading in the other in a few days. It had good shoulders and I even saw a bicycle riding on it today. I asked the folks at a local bike store and they said my proposed route was OK for bicycles. That probably means it has lots of no bicycle signs!

When I got to Budapest, the bus station was right at a Metro stop, so it was easy to continue on in to the center of town on the Metro. It was interesting that the bus station area was newer and fancier than the subway area. A lot of people ride buses both within and between cities here. The fare, for a 90 mile bus trip, was about $5 and the bus was essentially full.

Language was the biggest problem I had in getting around today, more so than in Vienna. Hungarian is from a different language group than the main European languages and English. My ears and my brain have a hard time processing it, so that, even with looking at the name of the Subway stops, it was very hard for me to recognize them as they were called out. I was getting better at it after riding the subway a lot today, but it still took great concentration to match spoken language with written words. Listening to people talk is even stranger since sometimes what they are saying seems to make sense when I know the "sense" my brain makes of it, without a lot of context, is undoubtedly totally unrelated to what is being said.

I asked the bus folks about getting a map. They said see the Metro folks. The metro lady didn't speak English, but with gestures and a little German - German and English seem about equally useful around here, although many more signs are in English - I got a day pass for the Metro (about $3.50) and a map ($1). She was nice enough - it helps to look really helpless - to come out of her office and mark, on the map, where we were and where I should transfer subway lines and where I should get off the subway. I had no idea why I should go to this particular stop, but since she told me to, I complied.

It was right across the Danube from the center of town. More importantly, since it was noon, there was a good place to eat right across the street from the stop. I judged it to be a good place because of the number of people that were eating there. The downside to that was that I had to wait in line to order. That was hard because the things that were being prepared looked and smelled so good. I looked at the menu, which of course was almost totally incomprehensible, and decided on Menuk A (the u should have an umlaut). I didn't know what is was, but it was probably a complete meal and it was listed first, so it must be popular. Of course I couldn't pronounce Menuk A in such a way as to be understood, but I could point on it on the menu. Then the question was 'Coke, Sprite, or Fantana' or something close to that. There are a lot of English words, mostly for products, that have become part of the language here. Since the most common music here is English language pop music, I assume there are English language ads for many of these products. The product names are recognizeable even when spoken by someone who speaks 'no' English. My meal was delicious.

St Annes Church

Near that Metro exit were both Catholic and Orthodox churches. St Annes, the Catholic church was having an Organ concert tonight. It is just ending as I write this and that meant I would have had to stay in Budapest tonight. Tickets were about $15. I wandered around the area near the stop, but unfortuately didn't go far enough. Instead, I decided to Metro hop for a while.

MacDonalds are very popular in Hungary
the one in the center of Gyro has a bookstore in it!

Here is the view looking away from that McDs

And here are street vendors right outside the Metro 100 feet from that McDs

First I went farther out on that side of the river. There were neat things, but nothing as interesting as the buildings I had seen across the river. Perhaps the strongest impression was that Budapest, much more than Vienna, was a real melting pot of cultures. Historically, Hungary had a mix of half a dozen different peoples with the Mayagars (horse riding warriors from the east that had settled here) being the largest group at just under 50%. Budapest seems even more diverse now.

Another view of part of the parliament building

The Museum of Ethnography - Nyereg is Saddle

I spent several hours in the area of government building, much of it in the interesting Museum of Ethnography where I learned more than I ever wanted to about the history and construction of saddles at a special exhibit about Saddles. Remember these were horse riding warrior tribes! They are proud of that heritage. The permanent exhibit at the museum is an excellent history of the culture of what is now Hungary. It mentioned 1848 - the year of revolutions in Europe as the year serfdom ended in Hungary. There is a big memorial to that period across the street from the Museum, but I was more impressed by the memorial to the Hungarian uprising against the Soviets in 1956

A very powerful memorial to 1956
with an eternal flame
erected in the 90's

I continued my Metro Station sampling back towards the bus station stop. I was looking for interesting buildings and an internet cafe, and I found both. The internet cafe was near my penultimate Metro stop. I had been looking for one all day, but had essentially given up. At the the stop where I found one, I simply saw a neat church and when I headed for the church, I found the internet...

Baroque Buildings, Statues, Trees, cars, buses, and people - Budapest

The church that led me to the internet in Budapest