Saturday, July 24, 2010

Budapest by rail… among other things…

I arrived in Budapest yesterday and have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city. Though Ash recently posted on her blog that public transit may inspire fear (even as it also inspires excitement), but I actually find that public transit is one of the most fun and stress-free parts of my travels. Subway maps everywhere are the same: you find the dot with your station on it, you look at your map to find a station near your destination, and you get on, either counting the stops or watching the posted stations as you go. You always get where you expect to be, even if it takes a few tries and turns. As I sat down on the Budapest underground (one of the first ever, apparently), I felt a sense of calm that was an incredible relief after the craziness of Keleti Station.

Given this, you can imagine how excited I was when I read in my guidebook that the Buda Hills (northwest of Budapest, but still quite close) are best accessed by the most bizarre modes of transit possible? After visiting Castle Hill today, along with a Canadian hostel-mate and new friend, I explored the hills and also went to the Bartok museum, which was small but lovely. In the course of these things, I rode the following forms of transit:

  • Tram: these electric-powered (I think) silent bus/trains are awesome, though they are terrifying as a pedestrian
  • Cog-railway: not a silent mode of transit at all, and a bit bumpy, but through some really pretty neighborhoods out toward the hills
  • Children’s Railway: a small-gauge 11km railway built by Pioneers (apparently Soviet scouts), it’s still run almost entirely by children aged 10-14
  • Chairlift: back down part of the hill was a lovely ride with a view of Buda, the river, and Pest
  • Bus: perhaps a more mundane mode of transit, but Budapest employs some rather old models that are entertaining (pictures to come)
  • Metro: also classic cars on view here

Am looking forward to another fun day in Budapest, but also to a happy return home in a few days…

1 comment:

  1. So glad you are enjoying Budapest. I'll be curious to know what it's like now. Enjoy the rest of your stay and we'll talk when you get home.