Personal Impressions

The "Personal Impressions" section is a collection of thoughts and personal experiences.

A Step Back in Time

Buildings erected over 100 years ago continue to stand without repair. The 100 year old metro rattles along underground. Dilapidated street trolleys bump along dented tracks. Other than a few new Japanese car here and there, little appears to have been updated, repaired, or purchased for several decades. The city would be quaint were it not for the pollution, graffiti, and crumbling concrete.

Public Distrust

In contrast to local transport in Austrian cities (see Austria - Public Trust), Budapest transport security regularly verify travelers' tickets. Fines are levied on those without a valid ticket, be it intentional or by mistake. The complicated ticket fare scheme seems designed to snag tourists. Maybe that's the point.

Fortunately, the Lonely Planet guide on Budapest warned us of ticket checkers in advance. With a 7-day pass in hand, we gladly showed security that we're legit - just don't verify our tickets in Vienna - please!

Coping with Inflation

The Hungarian Forint is far from stable. It lost 3% to the US$ in the 3 days we were in Budapest, but this sudden devaluation may be due to the weakening Euro. Looking over a longer time period, the downward trend is apparent. Over the past 4 months, the Forint lost about 5% against the US$ per month. Some people deriving their income in Forint try to protect themselves from this ever devaluing currency by quoting prices in US$ or German DM, even though they require payment in Forint. This method is common with accommodation providers.

Hungary hasn't been invited to join the European Community. Can Hungary stabilize its currency on its own?

What's in a Name?

"Hungary" in Hungarian is "Magyarország". The English language seems to alter place names more often than other languages do. What's up with that?

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