Exploring Europe: Budapest, Hungary


So I'm back in the real world. I've been back in the country a week and it feels like I've never been away at all. But I did. For two glorious weeks. Starting in reverse order, I'm going to tell you all about my trip to Budapest - the place we visited last on our Eastern European trip. Keep an eye out for the next three posts featuring an incredible hotel review - honestly the best place I've ever stayed -, the best things to do and a food guide to the city. But first things first, here is a little introduction to the Hungarian capital.




Budapest had been on my radar for a good few years so when the idea came about for an epic European trip, I made sure it was shortlisted. Luckily my friends are quite happy to go along with the flow so I scheduled in five days at the tail end of the holiday. After thorough research I decided I wanted to stay on the Pest side of the city, specifically in the Jewish Quarter. The old Jewish Ghetto. Historically poor, this neighbourhood had been touted as a vibrant hub of quirky ruin pubs, delicious places to eat and a rough and ready vibe. Naturally I was sold.




We'd spent more than three hours on a train from Bratislava, so when we arrived I was flustered. Not to mention sweaty from the ridiculous 33 degree heat and the stress of a broken suitcase that I was lugging around. We got a taxi to our hotel, dumped our stuff, went to one of the famous baths and decided to hunt out some dinner. Walking around the streets, I couldn't stop a sinking feeling. I wanted to desperately fall in love with it and stare in awe as we soaked up the city. But Budapest is dirty and grubby. It's not pretty and it doesn't capture your imagination from the first moment. We went for a lovely dinner and decided to call it a night at 10pm but on our way back we stumbled across the main strip. At 10pm, it was full of loud, obnoxious people falling in and out of bars. A traumatic amount of homeless people lining the streets alongside the revellers. I went to bed feeling worried that we had five days to fill in a place I wasn't sure I wanted to be.




Waking up the next morning I decided to look at Budapest with a clear head, determined to give it a second chance. And it lived up to my expectations. I still struggled to get over the filth and I commute to London for work! But after crossing the river over to Buda, I finally got the hype. The castle, Fisherman's Bastian, pastel coloured houses and St Matthias Church offered a completely different side to the city. I finally appreciated Budapest for what it was. It was rough and ready but it was also interesting and charming. There are are beautiful sights to wander around and some incredible views to soak up. You can tell it's a country proud to rise from the oppressive communist rule and one that is trying hard to make it's own mark. After the initial disappointment it actually end up as my second favourite place we visited - even though it was last on the list of my three travel companions! It was the city we had the most fun in, the city we have the funniest stories from and the city that we felt the most relaxed in. Thanks Budapest, I'll be back. Just maybe on my own!



2 comments:

  1. Oh wow these photos are breathtaking! Budapest is on my bucket list <3
    http://www.britishmermaid.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Budapest is on my "one day..." list - I will be sure not to wear sandals if I visit in the summer, although weirdly I don't find London grubby at all as I'm so used to it! x

    ReplyDelete

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