Jared Ning




Budapest is 3 cities in one. There's Buda, the hilly, green side, and Pest is the metro and buildings part. There's also Obudy (old Buda), but I don't know exactly where it is. Buda and Pest are split by the Danube river and connected by several large bridges. The way I remember which is which is the hilly side is like a bunch if Buddha (Buda) bellies.






I stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast on the Buda side on a hill where there is a citadel at the top overlooking the river. At the bottom of the hill is one of the bridges to Pest. So I was sleeping in a very green area where the view from the windows have views of just trees, and a few minutes across the bridge, I'm right in city center on the Pest side.

View from my room:


Budapest had a tough history because of World War II, suffering a lot of what other countries suffered with genocide. But then after the Germans were defeated, they were kicked while down and immediately taken over by communist Russia who treated them badly too. This went on for a long time as well. Not until 1989 did Hungary gain independence, and the last prisoner was released from Russia as recent as 2000. If you see a Hungarian flag with a hole, it is a communist flag with the communist symbol ripped out.

During WWII, the socialist party in Hungary (basically Hungarian Nazis) took Jews to the edge of the Danube, told them to take off their shoes, and shot them. The idea was to have the bodies fall into the river and be taken away. Now there is a memorial there with shoe sculptures.

There's still a bad aftertaste as well. All the communist supporters basically just went about their lives just like the rest of the country without punishment. So for the past 20 years, people have been living next to known accomplices to persecution and torture. Talk about awkward.

On a lighter note, Budapest is famous for its natural thermal pools. There's hundreds of them around the city. There was one near my B&B, but I opted for the cheap massages instead of the thermal pools. I've been wanting a massage for a long time, but never got one. So after all the walking I've done, why not have a heavy-set Hungarian give me a 40 minute massage with a signature friendly slap to let me know it was over, and a 20 minute foot massage from a buff, tattooed, retired-from-injury Judo man who studied sports therapy?

I saw an instrument I've never seen or even heard of before. It's basically a piano, except with no hammers. Instead, the musician just strikes the strings like a xylophone.

My meals were fairly simple here. The breakfast from my host was a traditional Hungarian one with salami, cheese, peppers, special cheese spread, special bacon spread, yogurt, bread, and fruit from their own garden.


A Hungarian specialty is goulash, a simple spiced stew. I also had goose liver, which is very expensive. I learned that the geese are force fed so their livers grow really big. They claim it is more humane than it sounds.


Another Hungarian tradition is langos which is just fried flat bread. Mine had ham and cheese, almost like a pizza.