With 33 sleeps until my first flight to Riga. I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on my past trips abroad and think about what I have learned and what lessons I can enroll that will positively influence future experiences.
We start with Budapest, Hungary, a city break hotspot for travellers all over the world. With its unique view of the Parliment building from Buda Castle it really is a wonderful city to explore.
I went in Janurary 2015 at the plight of the Transylvanian winter, a memorable time to visit the capital, especially with the amount of snow that fell.
3 Must Visits:
St Stephens Basillica – this is one of the first landmarks I visited in Pest, east of the river. The structurally perfect Roman Catholic building was a delight to gaze upon and exciting to climb. The stairway was narrow and the interior complex in nature, really established the pride Hungarians feel for this magnificent monument. With tickets about 500 forint (about £1.20) you cannot miss out on seeing the spectacular views from the balcony at the top of this 19th century masterpiece.
Széchenyi thermal bath – The most amazing element of visiting this particular thermal bath is the extraordinary walk through the park to get to it. As I was walking I could only wonder what summer would be like here, with markets, an automobile museum and football courts all minute walks away from each other. The baths itself were reasonably priced, be prepared to bring extra cash with you if you have no bathing costumes as you will need to rent out suits and a towel on arrival. Walking outside felt so surreal with the snow falling, surrounded by the irreplaceable yellow walls, watching the locals play chess whilst relaxing in the warm outside pool.
Buda Castle – One of the best locations to take it the breathtaking scenery of the city. Not only could you spend all day here gazing at the panoramic view but it is also in close quarters to a variety of different attractions including the National library, Mace Tower, the National history museum and an assortment of different art gallerys and museums. Beware though, we decided to do this area of town on a Monday, the equivalent of British Sundays, when everything is closed. Darn.
Where to eat.
Két Szerecsen – One of the most welcoming places to eat I have ever visited, incorporating rich, traditional food. The evenings entertainment was a small orchestra playing conventional Hungarian gypsy music. If you ask politely they will even play a song for you, my girlfriend requested The Godfather themetune, being Sicilian and all she cried uncontrollably, it was a magical moment. The charm of the lead musician will sway you into buying their 5000 forint CD. When your drunk on Palinka this seems like a good idea but when you realise your £12 less better off the next morning it is a bit of a sting. Still worth it though.
Hunyadi Etterem Restaurant – This took me AGES to find , I couldn’t remember what it was called so eventually I messaged Georgia my partner. She kept the menu for the restaurant and keeps it safe at home. That’s how good this place is! When would you ever take the menu of a restaurant in London because you liked the food so much? We ran into this little place walking from Buda to Pest. We were peckish so decided to stop off for food here. I cannot recommend enough how this is the best food I tasted in Hungary, you need to taste it to believe it.
Hot Dog Cold Beer – For the budget traveller this is the ideal habitat for feasting on the most appetizing hot dogs EVER. With a variety of different theme hot dogs from Japanese to Mexican for around £2 a pop we eat here 3 times for lunch and obligitory afternoon snacks. They also serve beer on tap, sometimes we found it very hard to leave.