Category: Hungary

Oct 19 2009

still Budapest

St. Stephen Cathedral (Szent István Bazilika)
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Was walking around outside the Cathederal and heard some people speaking in Singaporean and Malaysian accent. There are in the book publisher business and came for a book expo.
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Parliament Building
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A shopping mall at Vaci Ut. Vaci Ut is something like a shopping street.
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Market
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Budapest is a famous spa city. It has more thermal and medicinal water springs than any other capital city in the world.
Széchényi Spa
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Joined a communist tour in the afternoon at 3.30pm. It’s quite educational and Gabor the tour guide talked about the history about communism in Hungary. The guide mentioned that even though Hungary achieved independence almost 20 years ago but people still have the communist mindset. Most Hungarians from the older generation still feel a sense of nostalgia about that time because during communism, goods and travels were more affordable. But right now, prices of goods are maybe 80% of Western Europe but average monthly salary is around 450 Euros so times are harder now. Hungary is still a poor country and even though the country joined EU in 2004 but the country still have not fulfill the Maastricht criteria so the country still can’t adopt the Euro currency.
Communist Style building in the city of Budapest
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The only Soviet monument in Budapest. There is a fence surrounding the monument to prevent vandalism by Hungarian nationalist.
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Next day, hiked up Gellert Hill which has a pretty nice view of Buda.
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and Pest
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Took a bus, Orangeways which is a new low cost bus company to Cluj Napoca at 3pm. Originally I was planning to go direct to Bucharest but the train ticket is quite expensive, around 80-90 Euros. The bus to Cluj Napoca cost around 4000 Forint ~13 Euros and then I can take a train from Cluj to Bucharest that should be much cheaper. At the same time, I can visit the capital of Transylvania.
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Arrived in Cluj Napoca at 11pm after 6 hours bus ride, here it’s an hour faster than Hungary. Tried to find my way to the hostel by walking. The city was very quiet at night and it took around 30 minutes walk from the bus station to
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Hostel Transylvania (47 RON ~11 Euros).
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Met some hostel mates and went to a bar/club called My Way. Surprisingly the place was packed with young people. This made sense because Cluj is a college town with 3 big universities. One of the biggest and best university in Romania, Babe?-Bolyai University is located here as well.
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Oct 17 2009

Budapest, Hungary


Wy?wietl wi?ksz? map?
Arrived in Budapest at 8.30am. I didn’t really sleep in the train this time after my laptop and money were stolen the previous time I took an overnight train.
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Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is a touristic city. Last year the country had 20 millions tourists and the population of the entire country is just around 10 millions.
Hungarian is a distinct language by its own, along with Albanian, Finnish and Greek which don’t share any roots with slavic or latin. The Hungarian language sounds pretty unique, I heard that it’s closer to Finnish than it is to English. The guide told us that the Hungarian people came from the Aral Mountains 1500km away many many years ago. There are also stories that Hungarians decendended from Attila the Hun.
An excerpt from Wikitravel “The Romans were replaced around 900 by the Magyars, who went on to found the kingdom of Hungary. The Mongols dropped in uninvited in 1241, but the Magyars bounced back and built the Royal Castle that still today dominates Buda in 1427.
In 1541, Buda and Pest fell to the Ottomans and stayed in the hands of the Turks until 1686, when the Austrian Habsburgs conquered the town. Now at peace, both sides of the river boomed, and after an abortive Hungarian revolution in 1848–49, the great Compromise of 1867 made Budapest the united capital of the Hungarian half of the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary.”
On the west part of Danube river lies Buda and on the east side is Pest. Combining these 2 became Budapest.
The transporation here consisted of metro, tram and bus. A day pass cost 1550 FRT (1USD ~ 180 forint), around USD8-9 which is not that cheap. However, a monthly pass for students only cost around 3700FRT.
Crashed at Malwina’s place who I met in Belgrade 2 weeks ago. She is from Poland and studying in Budapest now. It’s very nice for her to host me.
Indoor Market
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Joined a Budapest free walking tour at 2pm.
View of the Castle across the river
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Castle on the castle hill
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Danube River
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With Malwina
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View from the Buda side (west of the river)
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Beef Stew Hungarian Style
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Malwina brought me to hear friends flat party and then we went to White Angel club which is quite a distance away from the city.
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Next day,
There are quite a number of Chinese restaurants in Budapest and I heard that there is a chinese market in Budapest so I decided to check it out. Took bus 173 to Blaha then switched to tram 28 and got off at the 6th stop. The 10th stop is another small chinatown.
There are Chinese people everywhere in the world and as a ethnic Chinese myself, I am always curious to see their way of life, their businesses in different countries and how do they assimilate in the local culture.
There are 2 sides of the Chinese market, at “Shi Hu”
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they cater more to the retail side and sell many cheap clothings and other low cost paraphernalias. The market is probably a kilometer long.
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I guess business is good since there are quite a few luxury cars around the market
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On the other side of the road, there are many huge warehouses and shops that only cater to wholesalers. Here is where the big businesses operate. I was surprise at the numbers and the sizes of the warehouses. It’s quite busy even on Sunday and things move fast here.

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Most business people here are from WenZhou, the city famous for its textiles factories and entrepreneurs. The market here looks bigger than the one in Belgrade and this doesn’t look like communism at all. There are many mercedes and BMWs so I guess business must be pretty good.
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Chinese workers on Sunday

I was asking directions about Chinatown and a lady invited me to a Chinese church for dinner. Was pretty lucky to get home cooked Chinese food after on the road for some time.

Chinatown is at the 10th stops of tram 28
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