The time really flew as it’s already time for us to fly home.
Budapest was somewhere I had been really excited for all along.
And the city did not let me down.
From Prague we took our final train to Budapest. We arrived in Budapest that evening and made it to our seemingly James-Bond-like Airbnb, with all the different codes and combinations we needed to get up and in to our room. We were staying in the old singer sewing factory. It was a nice setup, in a prime location, that we were both excited to spend a few days in before our long journey back to the States.
After getting situated and buying some snackys from the nearby Tesco- cheese to go with the inclusive bottle of wine our host left for us- we wandered around the streets and across the bridge.
Directly across the bridge was Gellért Hill, and at the top sat the Citadella. From above we saw the whole city shine in the night.
The fortress on the hill, including their Statue of Liberty and a panoramic view, was magical. We danced around it singing Budapest by George Ezra; which continued on as our theme song for the next few days and is still currently stuck in my head.
Budapest is made up of 2 sides, Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube River and Margaret Island.
Since we had two full days in one city, crazy, we dedicated Wednesday to exploring Pest. Pest was the side that we were staying on, and much more.
In the morning we walked to St. Stephen’s Basilica, a beautiful church in the middle of welcoming streets. After that we zigzagged through the fun streets leading us to their emasculate parliament building, which was followed by the Oktagon, a main square in Budapest, on our way to The house of Terror.
The House of Terror was enough for one day on its own, but of course we squeezed more things in before and after. We learned in detail about the terrors of the fascist and communist regimes the Hungarian people endured. This three story museum is a monument of the victims held captive, tortured, and killed in this building. It holds so much jaw dropping history that we walked out 3 hours later. The scariest party was how recent it all was, with the communist rule not ending until 1991.
After experiencing the devastating and much too recent history held there, we made our way down Andrássy ut. A street lined with trees, consulates, flowers, and many other prestigious looking things, leading all the way down to Hero’s Square. Behind Hero’s Square was a large park with a castle, museum, zoo, the famous Szechenyi Thermal Bath, and grass to walk for kilometers.
On our route back, we walked by the U.S. Consulte, a cool fountain, bullet hole filled buildings, a memorial of victims from the communist acts, the opera house (it was completely under construction), and lastly, down my favorite street. Kazinczy utca is a road off Rákóczi ut, the main road we were staying on. It’s doused in creativity, filled with high spirits, and home to many cool cave bars. By simply walking down the street you are immersed into Hungarian culture.
It was such a fun area that we found ourselves back there to end the night after we sat on the Liberty Bridge, and indulged in Kürtőskalács (Hungarian chimney cake). We ended up in one of the many famous cave bars in Budapest called Simplakert. This place was many places in one and unlike anywhere I have ever been. It was filled from top to bottom with a variety of spirits, music, vibes, colors, plants, rooms, people and more. It had something for everyone. Whether you wanted to dance crazy, sit around a table and laugh, or just relax on some bean bags under the projected stars with a glass of wine- like Caitlin and I did, you could do it all.
If you ever make your way to Budapest, make your way to Szimplakert and everyone will have a good time.
After conquering Pest, the next day we made our way over one of the 8 bridges, to Buda.
It was just as fantastic, but in a completely different way. We started the day in the garden with the morning sun shining on the green leaves perfectly. The garden eventually lead us to everything else. Including the Buda Castle which allowed for breathtaking views of both sides of the city; the famous Szabadság Hacerte statue; the colorful roofed and beautifully built Matthias Church; and the fisherman’s bastion out front offering more beautiful views of the city. Castle Hill offered an abundance of sites to see, each one as cool, but very different, from the last.
After conquering the streets of Buda we walked half way across to Margret Island. It was home to a signing fountain, a rose & Japanese garden, the Margret Island Ruins, more spas, hotels, restaurants, bars, a large athletic facility, and one big open park with green grass and trees down the middle of it all.
We followed up the site seeing with a wonderfully relaxing time in one of the famous Budapest thermal baths. We went to the Lukacs’ bathes, upon recommendation from a Hungarian Caitlin sat across from on one of our trains to Switzerland. She was able to offer many great suggestions as Budapest was a place she spent a lot of her life.
This hot spring fed thermal bath was amazing. We laid in the sun for a while, went in saunas, sweat it all out in steam rooms (my favorite), and wandered back and forth between hot, warm, cool, and cold pools.
The sulfuric water we spent hours in has many health benefits, so after we were feeling nice and refreshed for a big meal followed by bar hopping down my favorite little street.
*of course all of this was done after went went Tesco and stocked up on all the European chocolate*
Our Hungarian meal was delicious and the Nutella Langosh dessert that followed was just as satisfying. Langosh is kind of like Hungary’s version of crepes, and we all know I love my French crepes.
After our hardy meal we were ready for our final bar scene before returning home to where we are still considered underage. The ruins bars in Budapest have such a great atmosphere filled with a mix of liveliness & chillness. They have open air flowing, lovely music playing, colorful lights hanging, and an array of seating- including hammocks! We jumped between a few different bars before we ended back up at our favorite spot from the previous night before heading back for minimal hours of sleep.
As you can read, our last day was a day well spent. We soaked it all in and reminisced about our past month and a half abroad.
Not only was it a good final day, it was a good final destination. Thank you Budapest for a beautiful ending to our once in a lifetime kind of journey.
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have my house in Budapest, a hidden treasure chest.
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