I am a bit behind in posting about my time in Budapest. I went for a long weekend in November for our school’s Thanksgiving break. The driving force behind the choice of Budapest were, as I am sure no one will be surprised if you’ve read my last post, the Christmas Markets. When I saw we had a few days off for Thanksgiving I immediately started searching for places in Europe that would have their Christmas Markets up and running. The choices were limited, but I was thrilled to see Budapest was on that short list. It was a place I had never been before and was on my ever growing list of places I wanted to see.
My friends and I arrived to the Barcelona airport bright and early to board our flight. First flights of the day always sound good in theory when you look at the price and think about having all day to explore. But when the day arrives and you have to wake up at the crack of dawn, there is always the feeling of why in the world did I book a flight so early?! It’s all worth it though once we arrived.
A bus and a short rainy walk later we settled into a place for a bite to eat while our AirBnB was being tidied up. There was definitely a gray sky theme for our stay, but we didn’t let it stop us from doing as much as we could.
Get to the highlights Katy! I know, I know. Enough chatter and long winded descriptions of our every move. Here are my favorite highlights from our stay in Budapest in no particular order.
1. Visiting the famous Széchenyi Thermal baths. This sounds easy, it was not. After taking public transit and walking a ways we reached the baths. We were greeted with a downed online system that prevented anyone from entering. Not to be deterred (and me stubbornly not taking no for an answer) we waited out the system until it was up and running. Was it worth it? You bet it was. Not only were the steamy baths a welcome relief from the freezing cold weather, but the people watching was fantastic!
2. The ruins bars. Conveniently located mere steps from our AirBnB, we quickly discovered we were staying next to one of the best places for night life in Budapest. Did we dance? Yes. Did we have a few drinks? Yes. Did we go more than one night we there. Absolutely! The best way to describe the ruin bars is a converted apartment building. Where homes once stood are now different bars. Each room had a different vibe so it was like we were going to different places without ever having to really leave. The close proximity to our AirBnB also made getting home at the end of the night a whole lot easier.
3. The Christmas Markets, of course! I mean, they were the whole reason I even organized the trip. My first European Christmas Markets were both just what I thought they would be and not at the same time. Rows of small stalls with a variety of goods, from handmade crafts to tempting foods and drinks, you could find everything you might want. What was surprising to me was how they were set up in different areas. It made ambling along much more enjoyable. Not to mention I also picked up a few goodies to remember my trip by.
4. Fisherman’s Bastion with the most amazing views. I could have spent even more time just sitting and enjoying the views of the Parliament building and the Danube River.
5. Buda Castle and Hill. Despite the rain that came in like a sneak attack, we enjoyed walking around the Buda Castle and hill grounds. In between raindrops we watched the changing of the guards and took in the breathtaking views of the Chain Bridge and the city.
6. The food. As with any new place I travel to, I did lots of research on what to see and more importantly what to eat. And there were a few traditional Hungarian dishes I couldn’t wait to sink my spoon into. My favorite by far was goulash. Warm and delicious, it was just the thing to ward off the damp chilly weather we battled during our visit. If I’m being honest I don’t think I had a bad meal the whole long weekend, but it was the goulash that really stuck with me.
I am so thankful that I had two amazing friends to experience my time in Budapest with. Down to do anything, they made my short time in Budapest all that better. We packed a lot into a short amount of time, but I think another trip to Budapest is definitely in my future. There just wasn’t enough time to see and experience everything!