Hello passengers! Please buckle your seatbelts and prepare for departure. I’m your flight attendant Skye (aka the Girl in the Clouds). Budapest, here we come!
Vol 2. Never Went Hungry in Hungary
I had three nights in one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. I was excited because I brought a professional photographer friend to document our trip (and set us up with a sweet new profile pic). It was my first time in Budapest and I was so excited to experience more of Eastern European culture. Normally I take the time to do a little bit of research on a new destination. However, this time I let myself wander unknowingly. I enjoyed the experience of seeing a city with naïve eyes and just letting the city speak for itself instead of regurgitating facts from articles and textbooks from the past.
The first night we spent about 5000 HUF (Hungarian forint) on a riverboat cruise. That is approximately $25 Canadian for those of you interested in the conversion rate (about 200 to 1). Some breathtaking views, an audio guide, and a complimentary beverage of your choice – Hungarian sparkling wine please and thank you (*raises hand with enthusiasm*). The Parliament of Budapest at night looked like it was on fire with the majestic lighting along the river. Absolutely breathtaking and totally worth the $25.
The next morning was a rude awakening. We decided to go to one of the traditional thermal baths in the city for sunrise. There are a couple of them in the city, we decided on the Szechenyi Thermal Baths for the outside pools we had heard so much about. For anyone who knows me, they know that I am the opposite of a morning person. I can honestly say that I have never been happier to wake up at 5 am for something. One of the most relaxing and enjoyable mornings I’ve ever had. Not to mention a surreal atmosphere.
After a few hours of the thermal baths, we headed to The New York Café for breakfast. We couldn’t find a taxi so we walked from the spa and came across from fascinating buildings on the way. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to take the long way. The New York Café was a little bit pricey, but once you walk inside you realize why you’re paying a little bit more. The internal architecture is extremely detailed and definitely adds to the atmosphere. Overall they had delicious coffee and tasty food to add to the views. Let’s keep in mind now that this café is attached to a 5-star hotel and I can estimate that the flower centrepiece in the lobby probably cost anywhere from $700-1000 Canadian. Great for photos though!
After a brief nap, we started our city tour – aka shoelace express to the river. Keeping in mind I haven’t a clue of the names of what I saw, everything was distinct and memorable. We crossed from the Pest to the Buda side of the city (from the east side of the river to the west side). We hiked up a hill to see a man made waterfall/fountain in addition to a couple of monuments and statues atop the hill. After venturing onwards we came across the Royal Palace of Budapest on Citadella, which without any surprise also had some great views of the city. EXCEPT for that damn Intercontinental Hotel, the biggest eyesore on the riverbank – to say the least. This modern monstrosity of brown coloured glass completely destroys the traditional Eastern European architecture lining the river. Made taking photos a little challenging cropping the silly building out.
Our next mission was to find some bubbly. We had a plan for where and when we would like to consume the bubbles that particular evening. The mission was a success. We bought our champagne and climbed up the Chain Bridge. Now this definitely isn’t advertised, and definitely is not necessarily safe, but Trip Advisor says it’s okay…. so it’s okay with me. That is until the cops found us up top for sunset drinking. We made it down without any issues legally and went on our way to finish the rest of our wine. After dinner and a few more bottles of wine, it was time to look over the photographs from the day and hit the sheets.
The next day was a lazy rainy day. We all slept in and eventually ventured out to see the Parliament up close and personal. If you’re a fan of architecture this building is something that must go on your list. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I wandered home stumbling upon a few beautiful basilicas and churches to marvel over before stopping in at the grocery store for some snacks and lunch for the next day’s flight.
OBLIGATORY FOOD REVIEW FROM AN AMATEUR FOODIE
Now it wouldn’t be a real blog of mine if I didn’t mention a little more about the food. Food is a big part of my life and one of the main reasons I love to travel. I am always trying new dishes. The Kantin was the first restaurant we dined in. They had a set meal for 10 forints. I had a cold melon soup to start with a mushroom Paprika dish and cherry strudel to finish. At the New York Café, I had a fried egg concoction with a variety of vegetables and paprika. (Paprika seemed to be in everything there.) The blueberry pannacotta was both beautiful and delectable. But now for the featured event – Gelarto Rosa. This gelato shop creates ice cream cone roses with unique flavoured gelatos. To name a few there was: chilli chocolate, basil lemon, white chocolate lavender, and strawberry elderflower. Highly recommended, and much like the majority of food in Budapest, affordable and not outrageously priced.
All in all – I can’t wait to go back one day. Maybe on one of those extravagant Viking River Boat cruises I saw all over the place!
Keep up with my globetrotting adventures and read all the latest from Girl in the Clouds. Thanks for flying with me!
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