We spent our first few days in Budapest checking out the obvious attractions. The "postcard" sights, as my mother calls them.
Then after a bit of back and forth discussion, we decided to spring for the 72 hour Budapest Card.
Truthfully, we were getting it more for the transportation advantages during the searing heat than for the other features. Lucky for us, that Budapest was experiencing a heat wave.
Otherwise . . .
We would have gone to visit the famous Elephant Gate at the Budapest Zoo, but we probably would not have paid 1,400 Ft each to go into the zoo itself. After all, we have one of the top zoos in the world in St. Louis. Almost any other zoo is just a zoo. Right? Wrong, because I would not have discovered in St. Louis that I can speak fluent Meerkat. No kidding! I have this weird ability to make a trilling/clicking noise with my tongue that Meerkats seem to view as facinating conversation.
Without the Budapest Card, we wouldn't have had a prayer of discovering the Hungarian Museum of Commerce and Catering, hidden on the ground floor of an office building. We would not have learned about Hungary's long and proud food history -- much beyond goulash. Nor would we have learned about the vibrant revitalization of the food culture in modern Budapest. Move over Food Network, is all I can say! Oh, yeah, and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to pose here, just for Palma!
We generally go out of our way to visit a local cemetery when we are in a foreign city. But one wasn't immediately evident in Budapest. The Budapest card offered entry into the Kegyeleti Muzeum (Piety Museum), which was located in the city's main cemetery a fair distance from the city center. The museum was interesting in its own right, but the cemetery was astounding. It will get its own blog entry with many pictures! For now, here is a teaser.
The Magyar Mezogazdasagi Museum (Hungarian Agricultural Museum) is an homage to taxidermy displayed in a castle that should be the exhibit all by itself. Well to be fair, there is much more than just the hundreds of stuffed animals there. The displays on farming were truly facinating.
All of these things I've mentioned (and unlimited transportation) are just a small sample of what was available to us through the Budapest Card. The best 12,000 Ft we spent the entire week! It comes with a comprehensive guide book to all the points of interest where it can be used. Within that guide book were great maps that allowed us to plan our days in the most productive way we could. No backtracking, no arrivals to closed doors. It was great!