We found Budapest a bit confusing. Fist of all, the airport terminal 1 seems to be no more, yet there are terminals 2a and 2b. The train no longer goes to, or from, terminal 1 because there is no terminal 1 anymore.
The ticket system for the local transport (bus, metro, train, tram) is actually fairly simple, but not if you misinterpret how it works right at the start, which I did. I thought it worked like it does in Prague, where you buy a ticket for any sort of transport which lasts for certain periods (an hour, a day, etc). This later explained why were were nearly arrested on the way to the airport for the flight home.
Next, as soon as we’d stepped off the train on the way into town, I got lost.
Then our hotel, the Ramada Plaza Budapest, seemed to have changed it’s name to something entirelly different. The sign on the photo on this website clearly calls it the Ramada Plaza, yet the sign on the hotel said Aqvicum Hotel. This made finding it very difficult, especially as I refuse to ask anyone for directions.
Then, the history of Budapest is so complex that, especially when trying to interpret explanations written in Hunglish, and going through the Museum of Military History the wrong way and starting at the end and finishing at the beginning (an easy mistake to make, which I obviously realised less than half the way through), things get a bit confused. The main thing about the history of the place is that just about everyone has invaded it and burnt it down at some stage or another.
The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt 31 times over the centuries, the most recent case being in 1945 during the defense by the Germans against the Russian advance.
The older bits became so mangled that the local historians are still arguing over how to repair them, and there are various proposals being considered, along the lines of “I think we should rebuild it the way it was in the 18th entury” and “No, I think we should rebuild it the way it was last rebuilt, in 1919″
They have left one ot two bits as they were in 1945 – you can see the bullet and shell holes in the above.
Even during more recent times the history is very complex, and no one is really in complete agreement as to who the goodies and badies were.
Finally, we realised that our guidebook was out of date when we arrived at the building above, which has obviously been boarded up for several years, which it described as ‘the place to have coffee’.
I think that we were not actually arrested on the airport bus because I just assumed it was some sort of false scam thing to extract money from us, and acted accordingly. “Is this any way to treat visitors to your country? In my country of Scotland, they give old confused people like me a bus pass, and we don’t have to pay anything! Can I see your ID, please? Ah – it says you are a ‘Controller’, but you are not fat! I want to talk to the Fat Controller.”