Munich -> Budapest
This was a
trip from Munich to Budapest and Vienna, which we did by car on an
weekend, at the end of May 2003. We lost a lot of time driving
from Munich to Budapest, probably due to the extended weekend. Budapest
is a beaufitul city, with a special atmosphere and many sights.
Rooms were relatively
both in Budapest and Vienna. "Relatively" if compared to accomodation
Portugal, where we paid around 30 Euro/night in pensaos in 2002, while
the cheapest double rooms with bath we found both in Budapest and
were around 60 Euro. In Budapest possibly room
are lower in low season (during this extended weekend the town was
with tourists, mostly from Germany).
Food in Budapest was
in Germany and Austria. It is possible for instance to have a lunch for
two in a Chinese restaurant for 5 Euro (including drink). Prices for
in Vienna instead are more or less in line with prices in Germany (not
Fuel for the car
was 103 Euro cents in German towns, 90 Euro cents on Austrian
83.6 Euro cents in Vienna and the equivalent of 90 Euro cents in
For an overview of other
please read the travelogue.
(early June 2003)
1 Euro = 1.17 US $
1 Euro = 250 Forint
For current exchange rates
the Universal Currency Converter.
Hungary: full country
GSM operators. For coverage maps and more information click here.
Austria: full counry
GSM operators and one 3G operator; more information available here.
You'll need a GSM
Before travelling to these countries check if your provider has a
roaming agreement with the GSM operators in Austria and Hungary.
In Budapest and Vienna we
found Internet cafes. Rates in Budapest were 700 Forint/hour; in Vienna
10 Euro cents/minute.
Sunny and hot; some
None required or
VISA / Entry
For Hungary a valid
passport is necessary.
EU nationals and nationals from several other countries need no VISA.
more information contact the Hungarian embassy of your country. Austria
is a member of the
Union and the Schengen zone. There are no border controls between
and Austria. General EU entry requirements.
No problem at all.
Munich -> Budapest
guesthouse, Garibaldi Street 5, Tel. 01-3023456 (Fax/phone), 01-3023457
(phone only), email@example.com; 60 Euro/night; big room with
big bath+shower, quiet.
clouds; no rain; warm, with a fresh air
We leave Munich at 1:15
runs smooth until there is the first traffic jam about 10km from the
border. We spend around half an hour to one hour in the traffic jam.
we enter Austria and refuel the car (90 cents/liter for 'Normal
91 ROZ) and buy the Austrian vignette for 8 euro. We drive past
and then continue, but not too fast (average around 100 km/h or less),
because the motorway only has two lanes, is full of curves and there is
lots of traffic. Around Vienna we get stuck in a huge traffic jam, in
we lose around one hour. We finally leave Vienna around 7:30-8pm and
a short drive get stuck in the next traffic jam (we lose around 30-60
By the way, we make two short snack breaks of about 20 minutes each in
The motorway from Vienna to
is full of Austrian, Hungarian and other Central European cars. After
traffic jam the drive continues for maybe 20 minutes until we end into
the mother of all traffic jams. We lose two and a half hours at the
because there are so many cars waiting to enter Hungary and the
border police thoroughly checks every single car. We finally enter
Then I change some money (50 Euro) into Forint (at the bad rate of 232
Forint/Euro) and get the Hungarian vignette for 1900 Forint. Then we
start making phone
and look for rooms to stay. We finally find a place to spend the night
for 50 Euro/night for a room with bath.
There is now a fast motorway
the Hungarian border to Budapest. 20 km from Budapest there are many
centres with shops. We manage to reach Budapest
1:30am and find the place shortly before two. The owner is still awake
waiting for us; even his wife shows up. We sleep at 3am.
warm; in the afternoon and evening overcast sky
My car has a ticket
in Garibaldi street costs money). The owner of the guesthouse explains
that in the whole central area of Budapest parking is not free. Great,
so where am I supposed to park the car ?
In the morning we have a
the lady who runs the Garibaldi guesthouse (Mrs. Ena Bottka). She tells
us that the room rate is 60 Euro (15000 Forint), although yesterday
we booked the room the guy quoted us a price of 50 Euro. The Let's Go
guide quotes a prince range of 6000-10000 Forint. The room is nice, but
is overpriced at 60 Euro (last year we payed 30 Euro/night for similar
rooms in Portugal). I call other places in the Let's Go guide, but they
are all full, so we are basically forced to stay in this place.
After a short and late
(11am) Shirley and I start looking for an ATM. My idea is to go to the
Citibank ATM, as cash deductions from these ATMs are free of fees. It
us over an hour to find the Citibank ATM, as driving by car through
is very complicated if you are new in town. Finding a parking is a big
After lunch in a Chinese
(very cheap at 1240 Forint, i.e. 5 Euro, for two) we start exploring
town. Getting by car across the chain
bridge to the base of the Royal Palace hill in Buda
is complicated and tiring, as there is so much traffic. We take the
up to the Royal Palace. From there you enjoy a nice view of Budapest.
4pm something we go back to the car. The ídea is to drive to the
guesthouse, fetch the swimstuff and then got to the Széchenyi
bath (which closes at 7pm). Now, on the way back from the Royal
to Garibaldi street we make a mistake and drive about 500 meters too
to the south along the Danube. It takes us an hour to drive back these
500 meters, as there is a huge traffic jam in downtown Budapest. At one
point we are forced to make an (illegal) U-turn, otherwise we would end
up driving out of Budapest (in this town turning to the left is often
allowed). Overall it's very messy to drive by car across Budapest.
we arrive to the hotel after 5:30pm (too late for the bath) we simply
up on the bath and relax in the hotel.
At 7:30pm we go out again. Girls and young women in
are HOT. They like to wear sexy things (miniskirts, short dresses,
pants, tight tops etc.) whích best put their curves into
I haven't seen so many women dressing sexy things in a long time. It's
as if the women here were competing for attention, for who has the best
body shape. Or perhaps I live in a country where women dress very bad.
In the evening we have a
and then go to an internet cafe (700 Forint/hour; Andrassy Street 46;
underground station; quite fast access) to check the emails. On the way
back we take
When changing lines, from M1 to M2, we are asked to produce tickets
in the underground station - before even being able to go on board of
M2 underground. We are told that we have the wrong tickets (ours
are single line ones for 120 Forint and we should have bought "transit"
ones for 190 Forint). The lady tells us that we have to pay 1500 Forint
fine each. Weird, because we haven't taken yet the second line. After
some discussion (with two ladies later joined by a guy) we simply walk
the whole day
In the morning we manage
to get out
of the guesthouse at 10am and start the sightseeing after a brief
in the cafe next to the guesthouse. We briefly stop at the Parliament,
then get into the nearby M2 underground station. The ticket costs 80
and allows you to travel up to the third underground station. We get
one station later, at Batthyany Ter. After a quick look at the St.
Anna church we take again the underground to the next station, Moszkva
Ter. At the exit of the underground a controller checks our tickets
- the station of entry and the duration of our trip. Apparently this
everything is ok. It's a quarter to eleven and we start walking up the
hill to the Fishermen's
which we reach 15 minutes later. The entry fees to the monuments are
300-500 Forint per person.
We spend almost two hours
then walk slowly to the Royal
which we reach at 1:30pm. Then the idea would be to have lunch
in Pest. We walk down the Royal Palace hill to the base and look for a
public transportation to get us across the Danube. The problem is that
tickets are sold nowhere, i.e. there is no Metro station or newspaper
nearby where we could buy bus tickets. So we simply walk across the
bridge and get the Nr. 2 tram for two stations, getting out at the
The discovery of the day
is the Momotaro
Metélt chinese restaurant (Széchenyi U. 16), which from
outside looks like nothing special (the entrance is run down and
but inside it's quite nice and the food is very good. Much better than
the Chinese restaurants in Germany.
After lunch at almost 3pm
for a while in the guesthouse. At 4:40pm we drive by car to the Széchenyi
bath (ticket costs 1100 Forint). Very nice place, with a wide range
of activities - thermal baths at 34 and 38°C in sulphureous water,
saunas and cold baths. kind of a hig speed circular whirlpool where
are moved by a strong current and indoor and outdoor basins and
At 7pm we visit then the
park, then drive to the base of the Citadel (we climb up the hill,
we can't find the road which leads up the hill.
Dinner is again in the
31.05.03, Budapest -> Vienna
Bamberg, Mariahilfstrasse 167, Vienna; small double room with shower
water basin, no toilet, 64 Euro
day with a few clouds in the sky
We wake up still tired
sightseeing (my eyes are still red, either from the sun or from
sauna). We check out at 10am and have a brief breakfast. Again the car
has a ticket for wrong parking.
There is little traffic
at 10:45am and we manage to get out of town relatively smoothly. The
is quite empty. It takes one hour and a half to reach the border and
it today takes little time.
Once in Austria we start
the hotels and hostels listed in the Let's Go Europe 2003 guide. It
out that this guide is pretty useless, because there is only a handful
of places listed and these places are all full. Probably these places
full because too many people are using the Let's Go guide and only call
these places. It would probably make sense to use a less widely used
Let's Go also doesn't
list the telephone
number of the tourist office, so I have to get it from the directory
of the Austrian mobile phone operator. I call the tourist office, but
nobody replies we drive to Albertinaplatz (where the tourist office is)
and make a reservation there (the tourist office will make reservations
for you for a fee of 2.60 Euro).
It's 3pm by now and since
today are blocked until 5 or 6pm due to an activity (marathon maybe),
decide to visit the downtown area until 6pm then drive to the hotel.
a late lunch in the Markt restaurant near the tourist office
24 Euro for two, food is ok), we walk along the pedestrian area
Strasse) to the Stephan's church. Lots of people on the streets.
there is lots of activity with several street
artists performing. From there we take the underground U3 for two
(very overpriced at 1.50 Euro for two stations - they should lower
prices). From Volkstheater we stroll slowly to the Parliament
then from there to the Hofburg,
passing by the Volksgarten. Then we walk towards the Opera
and from there back to the car. It's now 6:20pm and we drive to the
It turns out that the
hotel is one
star only and the room is a disappointment (very small, separate beds
opposite corners of the room, a TV on top of the cupboard). We change
a bigger double room without bath. It's regrettable that in a town like
Vienna you only get such a room for 64 Euro. In the evening we walk
out for dinner.
After dinner I briefly check my emails in an Internet cafe
10 Euro cents/ minute).
01.06.03 Vienna -> Munich
sunny with clouds; brief shower at noon
We leave the hotel at
drive into town along the Mariahilfstrasse, briefly stopping in two
to take pictures. Around 11:30 we park the car in a back road near the
university. After visiting the Rathaus
we meet my brother Markus who happens to be in Vienna for the weekend.
Together we have a late breakfast in the cafe
Zentral (around 18 Euro for the three of us; a cake and a drink
This Cafe has a very nice interior and excellent cakes (they even play
After we walk out; brief
at the Votiv
church, then we fetch the D tram line to the Belvedere
castle (quite nice, though much smaller than Schönbrunn
Around 2pm we walk to the Südtirolerplatz and fetch the U1 to
Basically it's a huge fun fair with a giant panoramic
wheel (7.50 Euro per person). Nice view
from the Panoramic wheel. It's almost 3pm and we go back to the car
we reach at 4:10pm after a brief snack (we have two change two times
Getting to Schönbrunn
castle and finding a parking takes almost one hour (we enter
castle at 5pm). We spend over an hour at the castle and just see a
part of the castle and park. There is a nice maze
(2.60 Euro per person) in the park. At 6:30pm we are back in the car.
refuel the car in a nearby petrol station (83.6 Euro cents for
- cheaper than the 103 Euro cents the Normalbenzin costs in Germany and
the 90 cents it costs in Hungary).
At 6:40pm we finally
leave Wien and
reach the border to Germany very speedily shortly after 9pm (no traffic
jams). At the border we again refuel the car (this time 90 Euro
but still less than what the fuel costs in Germany). After a dinner we
reach home at 11:20pm.
Copyright (c) 2003