Around Europe – Budapest
Should you decide to fly into one’s of Europe major city, let’s say Budapest, and than take a tour by coach, you will first set foot in Nepliget Coach Station. The building, made of glass and stainlees steel, has a futuristic design. The platforms are wide, the waiting room, spacious and garnished with everything you need after a long journey – convenient sitting area, atm, a couple of souvenir and food small stores. Should you decide a day is enough to visit Budapest (well, it isn’t), you can leave your luggage in a guarded storage room for only one Euro, jump into the metro (the entrance is…right under the coach station) and reach Deak Ferencter, the city heart, in only 10 minutes.
Hungarian people love to travel by coach. Even Edit Hartmann, who is an International Operations Manager for Volanbusz – Eurolines Hungary.
“It’s a tradition for us, Hungarians, to travel by coach,” she says. “If I have a business meeting with a very tight schedule, I take a plane, but otherwise, I prefer coach. It is convenient and you can see beautiful landscapes which is impossible during a high altitude flight.” Add some perks as travel insurance included in the ticket price and WI-FI throughout domestic journeys, offered by Edit’s employing company.
I don’t know if it’s for her blue eyes, smooth, whit skin and blonde hair, but I find it hard to believe that Edit has been with the same company for twenty years. She is still excited about her job, especially when “we create new services and have to plan everything for it.”
She believes people enjoy travelling by coach because it’s easy and safe. “You don’t have to anything or, on the contrary, you can do anything you like: sleep, read, talk to other passengers.”
Edit’s tips for traveling by coach – buy tickets in advance to make sure you get your ticket (and a discount), bring some sandwiches and drinks, a sweater or a jacket (for the night) and lots of books 🙂
It’s my third time in Budapest. The first time, it was just a couple of hours stop, on my way to a AC/DC concert in Prague. The coach stopped by the Danube. It was midnight and the bridges were beautifully lit. It was also windy and I sneezed like crazy. People who saw pictures of me afterwards thought I was drunk. From the very first time, I realized that Budapest was beautiful. Much more beautiful than Bucharest. A great mixture between old and modern. A happy cohabitation of water and land. Budapest is the place to visit for modern art galleries, concerts, shopping, marathons, goulash and its wonderful SPA’s, for the a breathaking panoramic view as seen from the Citadel hill. It’s the kind of city you will best explore by foot or by bike.
Agitated. Noisy. Full of contrast. This is how it appeared to me this time, from the sidewalks stretching along Danbe, where locals jogg and walk. Where I heard as many languages I could recognize – from English to Spanish and Japonese. Endless and enveloping, from the hill top, where the Citadel lies. A lazy walk up the hill, in the shade of thick trees, is literraly and figuratively a breath of fresh air at the end of a morning of sightseeing.
Go over the Szabdasag Bridge and sit on its railings – to have a chat, check your e-mail, read or just sit in the sun, to feel and act like a native. Although Chain Bridge – Lanchid Bridge exceeds its fame, this one has more charm. At noon, men and women climb on its green railings to let the Danube caress their gaze, write poems or share the news with a friend.
Hungry? Right next to Szabdasag Bridge lies the Central Market. Built in 1986, it is said to be the most beautiful in Europe. Whereas locals stop by to buy vegetables and delicious cakes, tourists look for souvenirs and the famous Hungarian salami with paprika.
My tips: Want to make the most of your time in Budapest? Well, do your homework. Look up the Internet the places you want to visit and make a plan. And don’t worry once you get there, if you feel lost or confused. It’s probable that, if you stop in the middle of the road, a map in your hand, a local handsome guy will stop and offer his assistance in a very correct English if you need help. Try not to be too loud in the public transportation vehicles. There is nothing unusual for a resident of Budapest to reprimand you, should your Latino temperament manifest noisily in public places. I witnessed such a scene in the tram number 2, on the way to Chain Bridge. A group of Mexican people were talking passionately about some events suited to a soap opera. Not before long neatly dressed middle aged gentleman asked them to lower their voice. His voice was polite, his gaze, upset. Still, use the public transportation system if you want to feel the city and its vibe. Plus, it works perfectly and it’s cheap – a one day pass costs 6 Euros.