After 2.5 months of life on the road, we finally made it to the Schengen region!
Now the tough part begins. The timing. That was never my strong suit. How to squeeze ALL these countries in just 3 months?? Oi.
Welp, we're here. And Budapest is amazing! So amazing, we've stayed almost a week. We're loving the vibrancy, the youthfulness, the laid-backness. There's something about Budapest that sets it apart from just your typical big European city. More unique sites to see. More foodie treasure spots to unearth. Everyday was an adventure of the senses.
Seriously, we really did enjoy hunting down various restaurants and cocktail bars. Yes! We even dabbled in the cocktail bar scene, all due influence to a couple of close ATX friends who are major cocktail enthusiasts. (We really miss you, Kenny + Anthony! =/)
When we're not hopping around for foodie finds (oof, good
chimney cakes were not easy to find!), we caught a free walking tour, ran into a traveling buddy we've met back in Romania (luckily for Luke's convenience, we were the only Asians in the food truck area! =P), and painted the town red with our hostel mates.
Oh! And checked out a couple of the famous thermal baths peppered around Budapest. A must. We, of course, had to go to THE bath. Szechenyi Thermal Baths. Had to
. To beat the heat (unfortunately not the crowds) we arrived late evening. As pretty as it was from the outside, the inside pools were just okay, in my opinion. Walking on wet tiles aren't really my thing (ick!) and the tiny windows gave an eery, claustrophobic aura to the early 1900's architecture.
Now the Gellert Thermal Baths were niiiiice
. Uber nice. This time around we woke up around sunrise, to beat the heat AND the crowds, and hauled it over. From 8-10am we practically had the whole place to ourselves. We took our time exploring the grounds, snapped pics at a leisurely pace, and just simply enjoyed the view from the upstairs balconies. While these baths still retain the 1900's feel, everything about it is beyond classy. Very Great Gatsby-esque. Natural light flooding in, sorta in an angelic kind of way. The decor is insanely intricate and borderline opulent. I felt safe walking on rubber mats rather than wet tiles when weaving our way to the thermal baths. Yes. These are my fave thermal baths so far. I could really see myself coming back here in the distant future!
Ah, the distant future. I'm already dreaming of the next time! Now I see why everybody raves about Budapest! So much to do, so much to see, so much to eat! This is certainly not the last I'll see of Budapest.
P.S. -- Special thanks to Alexis. A fellow traveler we've hung out with in Jordan. She used to live in Budapest for a bit and sent over an extensive "insider's" recommendation list. You. Are. Awesome! Alexis! <3
: June 2016
: Wombat Hostel
. 5658.75HUF/night for 5 bed dorm. Get a complimentary free drink coupon upon arrival.
: Free Walking Tour, Szechenyi Thermal Baths (4900HUF entrance fee), Gellert Thermal Baths (5100HUF entrance fee), Central Market.
***** AS RECOMMENDED BY ALEXIS *****
- Castle Hill
is the classic medieval city rebuilt after WWII; I'd say Ruszwurm Cukrászda
is one of the top sights in the city.
- Andrassy Ave
. It's a really nice walk down Andrassy ave from downtown to the big park (and the metro line underneath is really old, funky, and fun!).
- Szechenyi baths
were my favorite of the thermal baths. It's best to go as late in the day as possible for the minimum # of tourists and kids. Plus the warm water is nicer if it's cool out.
- Rudas Baths
might be a nice follow-up to the Middle East section of your travels.
- The Opera House
is really neat! Soooo much gold inside. I went to a few ballet performances there and it was very fun.
- The Terror House
. If you're in the mood for an excellent, but very grim museum, the Terror House is very well done. I wouldn't plan on doing much after a visit though.
is hard to miss, though the inside is less specific to Hungary than some of the other places. The classic view is from the Batthyany metro stop
right across the river, where there also was a 24-hour crepe place called Nagy Palacsintazoja
when I was a student.
are classic junk/student food, the second floor of the Central Market
is a good place to get some, or just at one of the random little sort-of-shady hole-in-the-walls in the metros.
is easily accessible via public transport. It's worth a visit, though pretty touristy. There's a Hungarian historical park / farm equivalent of our Willamsburg up there too.
. If you get the chance, Debrecen in Eastern Hungary is a nice smaller city to visit ... and if you're at all interested in horses they do demos of traditional trick riding at Hortobágy National Park
which is nearby. You can get to both by train.