= 1 = Serbian ghost train (Сербский поезд-призрак)
= 2 = Turkish Riots (Турецкие демонстрации)
= 4 = Ten Towers of Serbia (10 башен Сербии)
= 5 = Afterwar charm: Belgrade & Sofia (Послевоенное очарование: Белград&София)
= 6 = Ancient Bulgaria (Болгарская античность)
= 7 = A blonde girl & Istanbul (Блондинка и Стамбул)
= 8 = A smaller Turkey (Ловись, Турция, большая и маленькая (с))
= 9 = Turkish camping (палаточное гостеприимство по-турецки)
= 10 = I'm here and I'm single (Я здесь и я свободен)
= 11 = Magnificent Istanbul (Невероятный Стамбул)
= 12 = From harem to the vampires (Из гарема к вампирам)
= 13 = Vampire Chronicles of Romania (Вампирские хроники Румынии)
= 14 = Transnistria & Odessa (Приднестровье и Одесса-мама)
|Train station || ЖД вокзал|
Another weird thing about both Hungary and Serbia is that the exchange will only give you local money – so if you don’t have anything smaller than 100 dollars, they’ll exchange it all. They don’t break dollars or euros. I was lucky enough to have some 5-10 dollar bills with me, cos the exchange rate at the train station is crazy – about 20% lower than any other in the city!
On the bright side, you can pay for your single metro (subway) ticket with your credit card (even thou it only costs 350 forints, about 1,30 euro in April 2013). Hungary really surprised me cos on one hand, McDonalds prices were lower than the Ukrainian ones (cheeseburger menu only costed 500 forints, which is less than 2 euros); cakes and pies in the streets costed no more than half a euro, and you could find half a liter of lemonade in a supermarket for about 20 eurocents… On the other hand, public transportation in the city costs 1,3 euro per ride, with no way of buying an hour ticket. You can only buy a day one, and it clearly makes sense. The subway is old, the wagons are sometimes older than the ones in Ukraine. People in newspaper kiosks, ticket stations and etc do speak English.
|Автобус - амфибия. Он и едет, и плывет по Дунаю:) || This bus can both drive and swim in the river!|
Adjusting to the overpriced transport, many local people don’t pay for it. In Russian we call ticketless passengers ‘bunny’, so one could call Budapest a ‘bunny city’. Once you’ve bought a ticket, you can have it in your pocket just in case a control comes in. Then you verify it. If the ticket is not verified, it’s valid for the next ride. The only exception is the subway: near the entrance the control guys stand, checking everyone’s tickets. If you miss your station, most of the times you’ll have to exit the metro, cross the street and enter again (supposedly buying another ticket). This only happened to me once, and the control stopped me of course, asking for my ticket (it was when I started explaining to him in Russian that I missed my stop and needed to go back just one station). Clearly, he recognized the language (Budapest has a lot of Russian tourists), but didn’t get a clue as to what I was saying. Yet, he let me go.
The city of Budapest is divided into 2 parts: Buda and Pest. The main tourist attraction is the Buda hill with an art museum in a castle, and a fisherman bastion (doesn’t it look a lot like Disneyland castle?). There’s also one of the city’s symbols: an old church (entry will cost you 1000 forints, cash only).
Slowly approaching the Buda hill, I walked past the river (and tram ways), found some local Pinocchio, enjoyed an amazing bridge with huge statues of lions (where I also met an elderly lady from Poland, who easily spoke English, German and some Russian!)
On the hill, the archeologists dig smth (no idea what it is). But if you cross the area, you’ll see the city on the other side of the hill: just the living buildings, empty hills….
Наверху ведутся раскопки (что копают – не знаю, табличек не нашла). Зато если пройти на другой край, можно увидеть обычные жилые кварталы и холмы, еще не застроенные домами.
Birds seem to be a real thing for Hungarian people. Near the President Palace there was this amazing armor carrier, and on the gates of the museum I spotted a ‘watcher’.
Церковь || The church.
After several hours on the Buda hill, it’s time to go down to the water. Navigating thru the narrow streets and stairs hidden under the huge trees, I soon reach the Danube river and enjoy the view of the Parliament on the other side. Thing is, this is a perfect spot to do so – if you cross the river, and come too close – you won’t see it: the building is too big! So I just sit on the shore, my feet close to the water, watching the small boats passing by, and listen to Louder than words by Les Friction.
The Pest part of the city isn’t that rich with the tourist attractions, but it still has its charm. Here comes the Liberty Square.
In the Pest part there’s also a Zoo, and the alley of the embassies (I counted about a dozen of them, traditionally took a pic of the Turkish one, and was pretty much done with it). As funny as it is, for the past couple years, Turkish flags (and embassies) kind of followed me wherever I went – up until I made it to Turkey. Ever since then I haven’t spotted a single red-with-a-moon flag! Now it is Iranian embassy that catches my eye every time I travel.
Several days in Budapest passed, and it was time to move to the next country. To do so, I used the Fudeks bus company, the only one that operates between Hungary and Serbia. The route begins in Vienna (Austria), picks up the passengers in Budapest at noon and reaches Belgrade by 6 p.m. Unfortunately, you cannot buy the ticket online, and you cannot buy it in advance. You just wait for a bus at the crossroad near the Orange Ways office (on whose website you can check the prices and timetable for Fudeks), and there are always free seats on the bus!
I didn’t expect much of a bus that doesn’t even bother to make a stop at a bus station, preferring to pick up the passengers from a crossroad. Closer to the noon I was looking out for some small old bus, but damn, there it was coming, a modern thing with a tv, and a toilet (back then I thought it was a must-have thing, but as the trip went on, I realized that it’s rather a luxury in that area). The driver of the Fudeks bus spoke English, Russian, Hungarian and Serbian (to my surprise).
Once everyone was onboard, the bus took off (about 4 minutes after arrival!) never stoping until the Serbian border. That’s where the best Hungarian joke awaited for us: the border officers stamped all the passports with the exit of the year 2014! So technically, we are all in Hungary up until April of the next year.