Funiculate (v.) – to ride a funicular

Perhaps that word might be in the world’s weirdest English dictionary, but since I’m a language arts teacher, I always tell my students that I have earned the right to make up words, as long as they make sense. My other personal favorite is “splendicular” – a combination of splendid and spectacular, reserved only for the best of student work.

For my last fully day in Budapest, I decided to funiculate. On Buda side, there was a funicular which goes from the bottom of the hill to the top where the Palace, museums, and castle hill were.

I took the Metro up to St. Stephan’s Basilica once more and then walked down to the Chain Bridge, Budapest’s most beautiful and most iconic bridge, ala the Charles Bridge in Prague. Of the four main bridges (Margaret, Elizabeth, Chain, and Liberty), I liked it the most, though the greened-copper feel of the Liberty Bridge was a mighty second.

Crossing the Danube was not difficult, but oh. My. Word. was it cold! The wind whipped up the river, tearing at my hair and my face, and a cold smattering of rain began every now and then. It even hailed small pelts despite the deceptive sunshine! It would suddenly cloud up, and icy pellets smacked us on the head!

Once over the bridge, the line for the funicular was quite long – all for a one minute ride up! However, I’d had enough of stairs and uphill paths for awhile, so I decided that I’d just wait. Besides, I honestly just wanted to write a blog post using every pun about a funicular I could pursue.

Again, we were nailed with some insidious sort of ice-pellet from the heavens above, which seemed ridiculous as the sun was blinding in its brightness on occasion.

Finally, after about a forty-five minute wait (okay, I could have walked up there faster!), I got onto the funicular. It was spectacularly unimpressionable, as I thought it might be, but I still got to ride a funicular. I can’t do that every day, I suppose. However, the view of the river and Pest side as I went up was pretty awesome. I’ll give the funicular some stars for that.

I meandered over to the former Royal Palace, which now houses the Budapest History Museum. Being the history nerd I am, I knew this was going to be one of my last stops. The exhibits are quite good, in English (a plus when traveling), and very well organized without being ridiculously overwhelming in their scope, as some history museums can be. I can understand curating and preserving one’s history, but if you put in too much, go too in-depth, nobody reads the material or nobody visits the museum. Keep it simple.

I started up further, which means ancient civilization. I worked my way up the Romans, the Medieval era, the Turkish invasion, all the way to the Nazis, Soviets, and then freedom from communism. The museum is detailed, great with artifacts, and easy to wrap your mind around in about an hour to hour and a half, depending on how much reading you want to do. My favorite section was the basement cellar, which was cool, damp, and just on this side of not being creepy. After the Archbishop’s wine cellars in Eger, this at least was open and well-lit. Admittedly, I know a good deal of American, British, and Chinese history from 1860 to modern day (a very small window, I’ll admit, but it’s only because I taught this history), so I was glad to learn about Hungarian history, especially from WWII onward.

After enjoying the museum, I strolled around the castle bazaar – loads of touristy trinkets, $35 USD for a hoodie being quite a lot – and eventually found myself descending the hill through a series of muddy and sometimes dead-ending path ways. The strange ice rain commenced again, leaving the tourists to run for cover this time because it was particularly hard and unyielding for a longer period of time. I helped up one woman with a large baby stroller, as she couldn’t get out of it fast enough. We were all huddled in the archways of the Palace, shivering, cold, and wondering what angry little cloud was hailing on us.

Once it backed off enough for us to leave the Palace, I again crossed the river on the Chain Bridge to return to Pest.

Time to find a ruin bar … I think.

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