be prepared to be hit up for money by some people on the street and BEWARE of taxi driver sharks!!! They will rip you off big time and then give you Romanian bills worth next to nil as change. Talk to the locals about what is a fair price before you get a cab because some people in our group paid 3x the normal price to get back to our hotel one night. Other than that, Budapest was an amazing city. The sights and sounds were incredible. Just keep your wits about you and be an informed traveler. Read "Culture Shock! Hungary". That helps a lot too. Have fun!
is a really big town, and the buildings are not that well kept up (not run down, but dirty exteriors), but there's a lot to do. Definitely go to the Turkish baths (the city baths give partial refunds if you stay less than 3 hours) and also look for the fountain of wine in the labryinths under Buda castle. Wine tours at Eger are not far away either (though Hungarian wine is not the best).
The best thing about
is that you can do just about anything you want there. Big enough that you don't really feel the tourist crush except for up near the Castle and Fisherman's Bastion. There is no reason to miss coming to Budapest.
I spent four days stuck in
. It was quite an experience. I met several people that got stuck there for months. Dangerous place, drug dealers, alcoholics, easy women, hard to leave. I fell in love with a girl there named Ildiko Nagy. I ran out of cash and had to leave her. Just what all you romantic European backpackers are looking for, desperate love and starvation.
If you only go to one place in your life, let it be
is a lot different from capitals like Vienna and Prague. At first I felt a little let down as the architecture seemed uncared for and the feel of the place seemed cold and unwelcoming. Then I started to see the real Budapest. Budapest isn't about beautiful buildings and tourist attractions, it's about real living. The markets in Budapest were filled with the most fantastic smells and the locals were willing to show you how and why they make their products. The food was great and the entertainment at night was endless. Don't go to Budapest expecting Paris or Vienna, it's unique in itself and should be judged on what it is, not what it isn't.
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