I didn’t have any expectations going into Budapest. I didn’t know what the cuisine was, what was popular to do or see, or anything about the Hungarian culture for that matter. I knew Budapest was in Hungary and that seemed good enough for me. I did however have some nerves about going on this trip. When we planned it back in September there was a lot of complications with booking the flight, etc you don’t want to hear it all. Just know that I was purely convinced that the trip was cursed and something was going to go wrong.
However, our travels to Budapest went quite smoothly even though we had to take multiple means of transportation to finally get there. Our first day, we took advantage of a free walking tour around the city. We saw the biggest Catholic Church in Budapest called the St. Stevens Basilica, crossed over the Chain Bridge, the oldest bridge in Budapest that was rebuilt after WW2, and climbed up Gellért Hill to the Royal Palace and Matthias Church. We were able to see amazing views of the city but also learned a lot about Hungarian history. In Budapest, the river running through the center is called, The Danube. On the west side is the section of the city called Buda and the east side is called Pest. Eventually these two separate cities merged and became Budapest in the early 1870’s. Hungary is also famous for it’s 14 Noble Prize winning citizens, the invention of the Rubik’s cube, the ballpoint pen, and for their wine and paprika.
After the tour we found a very small traditional Hungarian restaurant to eat at called, Ètkezde. There we ate chicken goulash with noodles, of course topped with paprika and sour cream, it was pretty delicious, I had never had anything like it before. That night we went to three of the top ruin bars in Budapest.
On Saturday we slept in a little, got Starbucks, and eventually made our way to the Szechenyi Baths. Probably the best decision made the whole weekend. There we relaxed in the indoor and outdoor hot thermal baths and got massages. We spent the whole day there, well worth it especially because one bath had a whirl pool. That night we went out to a hummus bar and dessert bar. On Sunday we took a cruise around the Danube River and eventually headed back to Florence. (A little mis planning on our parts, but when we got back to the Rome Airport there were no trains back to Florence that late at night, so we had to sleep in the airport. A glorious experience that was rather boring and cold. Hopefully that will only happen once in my lifetime.)
Other than that Budapest was very cold but, enjoyable, cheap, and different than the Western European countries I have visited. On my next Eurotrip hopefully I will be able to visit other Eastern European countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia!