On my second morning in Budapest, I’d slept for 11 hours and I was feeling refreshed… for a walking tour of Budapest in the rain. I purchased an umbrella from a street vendor for 1000 Forint and made my way to the meeting point for the free walking tour. Similar to the ones in Poland, these were all free but donations would be happily welcomed at the end of the tours.
The tour met at 10:30am at Vörösmarty Square and we made our way all around the major sites in the Inner City of Budapest before crossing the Chain Bridge where we stopped for coffee before walking up the mountain (it’s really a hill, but our tour guide, Ana, said Hungarians call everything that’s not flat a mountain) to Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church.
This was the base of the mountain, which was definitely just a hill.
But one of the first questions Ana asked us before the tour started was if we knew of any famous Hungarians or famous Hungarian inventions. We shook our heads that, no, we did not. Then she informed us of a few facts about Hungary:
- Hungarian is the hardest language in the world to learn (but the word for hello and goodbye are the same – Szia – pronounced see-uh). The longest word in Hungarian is 44 letters.
- Erno Rubik, who invented the Rubik’s Cube, is Hungarian and still lives on the Buda side to this day and he supposedly walks his twice a day in the Castle District (the fancy district).
- The ballpoint pen and the hydra bomb were invented by Hungarians.
- Both Parliament and St. Stephen’s Church are 96 meters high. This is on purpose to represent that the church and state are equal.
- Hungary has both a prime minister AND a president. The president is basically just a diplomat, while the prime minister actually handles law making.
- Hungary is known for it’s wine – it has 22 wine regions.
- In Hungary, pasta is called “dumplings.”
- Palinka is a famous Hungarian drink (more of a shot, really). It’s alcohol content is anywhere from 30%-70% so it’s very dangerous.
- Drum Cake: Traditional Hungarian caramel cake with seven layers.
- Hungary has a total of 12 Noble Prize winners.
So, those are a few facts about Hungary but when I got back to my room, I looked at some of the graphics on the wall and noticed that Erno Rubik’s picture was on the wall right outside my door.
I also went on the Ruin Pub Crawl and the Jewish District walk tours while I was in Budapest. There’s a “Communism” tour a “Street Art” tour, both of which I’m sure would be excellent, too. I’d recommend any and all of them if you happen to find yourself in Budapest soon.