The night I got into Budapest, I almost immediately went to sleep. It was on the heels of a long daytrip to Helsinki and I was pretty worn out by the whole travel day. It felt as if I had listened to the full version of one of Vaughn’s stories. Getting to bed so early, however, allowed me the opportunity to get up early and go explore the enormous city that is Budapest.

For those of you that don’t know, Budapest is along the Danube River, which splits the town into two parts: Buda and Pest. The Pest side is where more of the fun is, where the good hostels are located, and where the nightlife is the best; the Buda side has the majority of the sites. I spent my first day knocking out the Buda side of Budapest.

Fisherman's Bastion in the background after the hike up to the top.

Fisherman’s Bastion in the background after the hike up to the top.

The views from the top walls of the Bastion were absolutely amazing. Perhaps the best I’ve seen in Europe, as it’s more than 180 degrees of pure awesomeness; you can see all of Pest, much of lower Buda, Sziget (Margaret’s Island), and more. Here’s a sample of what can be seen:

A 360 degree view from the Bastion walls.

A 360 degree view from the Bastion walls.

A look north into Sziget.

A look north into Sziget.

A look south towards the Elizabeth Bridge

A look south towards the Elizabeth Bridge

There was a whole lot going around near the Bastion, as it is basically the beginning of a route that starts here and ends at the Castle. I took that walk, starting past St. Michael’s Church and ending at a festival that just happened to be going on at the castle.

Walking up to the festival.

Walking up to the festival.

It was the Hungarian Folk Culture festival, where they had live Hungarian music and dancing, as well as delicious, grilled Hungarian food. I went all out:

Bomb.

Bomb.

The next day was St. Stephen’s Day (see previous post), but the following day I made my way to Heroes Square, which also has their famous fine arts museum. The square itself, though, is pretty impressive; it boasts several massive monuments and a large area for pedestrians to meander.

I don't see a Master Chief monument anywhere, so this is definitely misnamed.

I don’t see a Master Chief monument anywhere, so this is definitely misnamed.

I am a hero! Or perhaps a felon, I'm not sure. But I wanted to climb this anyway!

I am a hero! Or perhaps a felon, I’m not sure. But I wanted to climb this anyway!

The next day, I checked out the Szechenyi Baths, which is the largest spa/bath house in Europe. It was pretty damn awesome, and a great hangover cure! While taking pictures there is frowned upon, no one has ever died from a frown, so here you go:

Insert Ba'ath Party joke here.

Insert Ba’ath Party joke here.

I also took the time to go caving in Budapest, crawling through extremely tight crevices several hundred feet underneath Buda. It was an awesome experience and I learned that I am absolutely not claustrophobic.

Splunking

Splunking

On my final day there, I went to Margaret’s Island (Sziget) and walked around the various parks there. One of them had this enormous fountain whose jets were synchronized with music that played. Here’s a two minute sample:

Budapest was absolutely amazing. I spent a week there en route to Croatia, and could have spent significantly more time. “I’ll be back.”

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