Budapest definitely took us by surprise. Ayelet and I had planned on checking this place out when we first arrived in Europe. The sense of urgency to make that happen finally took over with our next move only a few months away.
So we brushed the dust (there's always dust) off our borrowed Budapest book and took the train going east. We didn't really know what to expect. The language was very different than any we have tried to use. From the moment we arrived on the edge of town, we decided to use the basic dictionary in the back of our travel book. It was scary and exciting. We have gotten so used to most Germans speaking English that we had not prepared at all. Quickly we learned how to ask for two tickets in Hungarian so we could at least get to our hotel - most of you know how much we like to use the local transportation. Buses and trams are usually pretty easy to figure out even if you do not know the language. That, and I'm too stubborn to take a cab unless we are truly in a hurry.
All I had really known about Budapest before arriving was that the city was cut in half by the Danube. So I was very surprised to see how hilly the area was. The views from the hills and the streets were colorful and show the influence of many different cultures in this area. More of a reflection will follow regarding the wonders of this great destination. For now I'll leave you with a short video.