Today after class, I was on the way to the post office near my school to send post cards. On the way, I had to walk pass the Great Market Hall, so my craving for a $1 giant croissant came. Long story short, I overheard this man speaking Chinese in a very Malaysian accent to a group of elderly. I kinda guessed that he must be a tour guide because he was recommending stuff from the stall I was looking at too. Casually, I spoke to him in Mandarin and asked if they were from Malaysia.
Surprise! They were on an Eastern Europe tour from Singapore and it was their last day. Like a last minute shopping in the Market Hall. After a short conversation, skipping the part about saying Hi to another Indian guide, I bought my “sadly not a croissant but another nice pastry” and left.
In then dawned upon me that I haven’t really reflect the difference between being a tourist and a “temporary local”. Putting myself in their shoes, I wondered what Budapest would be like in the eyes of a tourist, like a tourist on a packaged tour. I would probably be whisked around in a big coach, following instructions given by the guide and having to adhere to timings, completely ignorant about the beauty this city could have offered. I bet the guide, coming to Budapest 6 times since the beginning of this year, wouldn’t even know that three University buildings stood around the Great Market Hall.
In a tour package of say 2 weeks, the group would probably spend just 3 days in Budapest. Let me just be a tour guide and bring you around Budapest.
Okay so for the first day, let’s visit the Parliament in the morning at maybe 9am.
You have to pay 4000ft for a guided tour inside, 2000ft for students.
We were not allowed to take pictures beyond this area as sitting in the middle of the hall is a crown I think even Bill Gates couldn’t even afford.
This tour is only about an hour and we can go to the Shoes on the Danube right behind the Parliament building. This memorial honors Jews who were told to take off their shoes and were shot at the bank during WW2. Reminded me of the Changi Beach Massacre during Sook Ching.
It’s about 10.30am, let’s take a walk across the Chain Bridge and take a tram up to Buda Castle!
Here we arrived at the foot of the castle!
Views overlooking the city from the top of the castle.
Alright! Let’s get down and time for lunch!
In a restaurant called Menza at Oktogon, this is like a beef stew with potato dumplings which I don’t really enjoy. Trust me, Hungarian dumplings meant sticky and hard pieces of mashed up flour that I don’t even understand why they called it potato. Polish dumplings are good, because they are really dumplings, like Chinese dumplings dumplings. Also, I have yet to taste a nice dessert in Hungary. So far they were all very disappointing, and I don’t have high standards for desserts. I am happy with just a simple chocolate or cheese cake. But NO! You can’t even find a simple tasting cake because all that I have tried are inedible! Hungary has good main courses, but definitely not desserts.
After lunch, we can take a short break by doing some shopping along the fashion street at Deák Ferenc.
And get some Chimney Cake too!!
Just by looking at them… you can rape them with your eyes..
It is about 4pm now. We can still catch the sunset on top of Szent Gellért Hill and look at the night view of the city! Although a bus ride up would be less tiring, I suggest we walk up slowly to enjoy the nature the hill has to offer.
Tour guide of course must show face right.
This is called the Elizabeth bridge.
Statue of liberty at the top of the hill.
And this, the Liberty Bridge. That building next to the bridge is my school!
Okay! Let’s have a nice dinner and back to hotel! That’s it for the first day of CK’s 3-day Budapest express tour.
Nice right? It still gives the feel of the olden days that can’t be found in Singapore. Part 2 coming up soon!