My last museum visit in Budapest was the Museum of Fine Arts to the left of Heroes Square. The museum had quite a nice collection, featuring some Rafaels, Rodins and even a Da Vinci. They also had a nice collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including a few mummies, human and animal.
From there I walked through the City Park, and the long way around the city to the hostel.
The next day I went to the Nepliget bus station and picked up my bus ticket for Saturday morning. I was booked on an early morning bus to Krakow. I took the train back into the city and walked across the center to the bridge that goes to Margrit Island. The island is a giant park that features many field areas and walking/biking tracks. There are cafes and bars on the island itself, along with a sports complex.
There was even a fountain that was timed to classical music coming from a loudspeaker. The water from the fountain soared very high, upwards of 100 feet, it seemed.
I found a nice flower garden and sat for while, reading, writing and taking pictures.
On the way out of the Island I stopped at a cafe and had a beer. The Hungarian beer Dreher was actually decent and after so much walking it was refreshing.
I made the long walk back to the hostel and turned in my laundry for a wash. A few of the other backpackers were going out on the town, so I got changed and went out with them. We found a bar with outdoor seating soon enough and I was quite happy to stay, but the others wanted a change of venue. We walked a lot and settled for an overprice, under-styled bar that had a lot of outdoor standing area. Then we moved again and walked even more, all around the city, never deciding on anything. I got really frustrated and finally lost it when the one bar we finally stopped at was charging a 5 euro cover charge. I called it a night and broke away from the others.
Maybe like my brother I was just getting too old for this stuff. I can’t wander from bar to bar all night, I like to just find one place with good drinks, good music and comfortable seating.
The next day I just chilled out: I sat on the boardwalk along the river and read, then I went back and packed. My bus was at 6 in the morning, so I had to make sure I was in bed early and that I was ready to leave by the time I fell asleep.
Budapest is an incredible city, for anyone thinking of going there. The hostel was also first-rate, full of friendly and helpful staff, and good-natured travelers. One pair I ran into were Joe and Don, two middle-aged American backpackers. They both had regular jobs, but Joe had traveled a lot when he was younger and makes himself take 5 weeks off every 2 years. He had spent the last 5 weeks in Europe and Budapest was his final stop before heading back home. They both had thick southern accents, but I couldn’t think of better ambassadors of the US: incredibly friendly, sociable and eager to experience other cultures.
I went to bed looking forward to the next adventure. Even after just 5 1/2 days in the city, I had become way too comfortable.