Leaving Miskolc with Vignette paid for online, we made our way through the outskirts of this city to the M30, and after only one false start and U turn, got on our way towards Budapest. An easy 170km and just over 2 hours on the road we are into Budapest and shaking and rattling our way to The Arena Camping Site. GPS: 47.50424, 19.15839. All facilities included in fee = 23euro/night. A very pleasant campsite, good facilities with incredibly helpful staff in regards to getting into central city and what not to miss.
Bus an easy 5 min walk and that takes you direct to the Metro Stop of M2, 30mins in total to the central Metro Stop.
We spent the rest of the afternoon getting laundry done etc and a restock of the pantry, before a quiet night , quiet for us that was however the 1 downside to this campsite it us underneath approach to Budapest Airport, which is quite busy, and next to the main railway line for eastern Hungary, and there are some big trains.
Friday morning saw us head into Budapest proper to experience as much as we could from this “city Hub of Europe”.
The Hop On/Hop Off bus system gives heaps of options including 5 different lines through different parts of the city, a river tour and a night tour. This is really good value. We decided to get 24hr tickets for this as it is a good way to get initial bearings and easy to explore the offbeat areas from.
Spent Friday and Saturday pretty much exploring the city, actually the 2 cities, the Old city of Buda and the newer city of Pest, separated by the River Danuabe again. Budapest is pretty much the start of the Danube River Cruise trade and the Pier’s are full of the floating hotels. The old city of Buda pretty much centres around Castle Hill and I guess is the quieter side of the river with a lot of pedestrian only streets through the Castle Area and pretty much only souvenir and restaurant trade.
Pest however is totally opposite a bustling loud fast moving European City, pedestrians, tour buses, trams and the local population. The Pest side of Budapest also hosts sights such as Hero Square, the Opera House (under Scaffold) the theater district and shopping street after shopping street. This side is really easy just to immerse yourself in and wander around.
After a full day wandering around we relaxed on the river trip early evening, a great way to see the city from a different aspect, however somewhere this went wrong and the boat went in a different direction to the commentary, very funny, for us but would have been quite confusing if we hadn’t already seen the city by day and got our bearings.
This was where our “great planning had come to the fore” we worked out that we had enough time to do the river tour then quickly leg it back through the streets of Pest to meet the Night Tour Bus back by the Central Metro station, as well as meeting up with Sheila, our new Irish friend from the Campsite. IT WORKED.
The night tour was amazing, as the photos tell the story. Probably of all the bus tours we utilised this was by far the most scenic and informative. The commentary coverers city life, history, building design etc, well worth it.
This was a late night as by the time Metro and night bus back to camping ground was well after 11.00pm.
Decided to spend another day here and spent Saturday visiting Hero Square, some of the parks and gardens in Pest before just wandering back through the streets in the Opera House area.
The day rounded out with the most amazing thunderstorm directly overhead of us at about 3.00am, heavy rain, wind and massive lighting storm, sudden wake up and panic to get awning down, windows and vents shut trying not to get soaked to the skin. The amount of lightening made it very easy to see however.
The city roads are absolutely terrible, Susie videoed it as we passed through and poasted it but not sure where it has gone, will try again. May have been so rough it bounced it straight out of the phone.
Interesting that I have just read a Stuff.co.nz post about the state of NZ roads and our rising Road Toll. Take it from me categorically , there is nothing wrong with our roads. Having spent a few days now driving Slovakia and Hungary, ours are pristine, incredibly well built and well maintained. NZ also has a 100km/hr speed limit, its 130 here, I will say however that most of the roads are too rough to go anywhere that quick. ( perhaps the rougher the road, the lower the speed , the lower the risk), I will also say the average car here is actually what we class as a small car. These countries also have a ZERO Alcohol limit.