This weekend my husband and I explored Budapest, Hungary. Only a few minutes after landing, we quickly found out that the Hungarian language is extremely complicated to try and understand, even the basics. Hungarian is said to be the 5th most difficult language to learn and unlike its neighbouring countries, Hungarian language relates more to Mansi and Khanty, spoken in western Siberia. The unusual speech pattern of subject-object-verb of Hungarian was actually an inspiration for the speech of Yoda from Star Wars . George Lucas had a Hungarian technician translate his English lines into Hungarian and then back again resulting in this grammatical order!
Our first task was buying transit tickets in this crazy language. Fortunately for us, most Europeans are amazing and can communicate fairly well in English. If you plan on travelling in Budapest from the airport you will need to purchase two bus tickets, one used on the bus and another used on the subway. There are little orange boxes to validate the ticket, and failure to do so can result in a fine. Once you get to the subway just purchase a 24h or 72h ticket if you are staying a bit away from the main part of the city. You can also purchase transfer tickets, or a pack of 10 tickets in order to save money instead of purchasing each one individually.
We kicked our trip off with walking tours. This is a great way to hear from locals what it’s like living in their country, the best places to shop/eat, and to check out all the main sites within the city. We toured with Free Walking Tours, Budapest and it was great! You tip what you can and learn plenty about the city, for example any word with an ‘s’ in it is pronounced ‘sh’, so really Budapest is pronounced Buda-pesht. We took the general walking tour first where you walk through the city to many of the main attractions, get a historical background on the country and a general orientation about Budapest. This orientation included topics such as avoiding tourist traps, the best places to exchange money, and where the locals go out to eat and drink. After this tour, we did another walk, this time through the Jewish Quarter. This went into the history of Jewish people living in Hungary, and discussed some of the various aspects of Jewish life in the city. This is also one of the main areas for locals to go out and grab a drink, in one of the many bars in the area.