Somewhere that has always been on the list, but never really followed through with is Budapest, a city that’s always intrigued me for the history, architecture and the way that in the 19th century the two districts, Buda and Pest were first connected to each other by the Chain Bridge over the River Danube. A great way to see the hilly district of Buda without leaving Pest which is much flatter is to take a trip in the Budapest Eye, a mini London Eye as the locals like to say. We did this, and below are the breath-taking views that we encountered from being so high above the striking buildings of the old city.
We went to Budapest on a surprise birthday trip for my boyfriend in December. I managed to keep it a secret all the way until the Security at the airport when he checked his boarding pass that I’d folded up and hidden in his passport!
I’d booked for us to stay in the Marmara Hotel, not far from the river Danube and the Parliament building which was something pretty high up on the list of must sees. The customer service at The Marmara was an ideal balance of attentive yet aware of your privacy, very professional, helpful and uninvasive. When we arrived, we arranged a lift to the hotel from the airport which took no more than 30 minutes with the most enthusiastic driver you ever did see! Arriving at the hotel itself was like stepping into luxury, the black and gold decor wasn’t as overbearing as maybe it sounds, but decadent instead. Our room was beautifully laid out with champagne chilling, chocolate and a birthday note from the staff. It’s the little details that always win me over and for the thoughtful notes such as this, we couldn’t be fonder of the place already.
As part of my presents, I’d bought a copy of the Lonely Planet Budapest book which is something that we always get to take with us wherever we go. Such a useful collection of facts and tips to get you through a place yet to be explored by yourselves. I somehow, even with limited luggage, managed to get all of J’s pressies all the way to the hotel even when airport security decided they had to be re-scanned because I’d wrapped them (oh course). *eye roll*. Something I thought was really interesting was the timewarp feel of the city, not that I got to experience the 80’s personally, but there was something about the streets and the colour vibes that whilst they were the opposite of bright neon usually associated to that era, neither of us could fully shake the feeling that that’s where the vibe from this city stemmed from.
Considering the popularity of 1.7 million that reside in Budapest, it was surprisingly empty whilst we were there. I had expected a lot more people to have headed there for the christmas market vibes and the cold weather that wasn’t too blistering yet still with a pinch in the air to remind you that you’re almost at Christmas..
We spent our days exploring. I had booked for us to stay for 3 full days, and although we both said afterwards that one more day would have been good, sadly we both had to get back to work.
Although I don’t really have any images good from it, we did take a trip to the Gellert Baths, a spa that you really must visit if you go. Budapest has many different public baths like this and I can only think that it must be a different experience every time you go dependant on the spa, time of year, time of day, who you go with and how much you’re happy to pay as you can cut different deals for different packages. For instance, we paid a little more to cut the queues and also for a “cabin”, which wasn’t actually a cabin but a locker rather than using the communal changers.
We spent the longest, and most relaxing time in the different pools, indoors and out. The building, architecture, and interiors were just stunning.
(Good old shakey unfocused iPhone photography!)
With the intention to eat all of the traditional foods whilst we were away, we started with all you can eat sushi. Because, well, all you can eat sushi.
For the first night there, that’s what we did, and we drank a lot of bubbles.
Over the next couple of days however we did of course try the local cuisine and find it to be so hearty, filling, and beautifully flavoured whatever we picked.
We also got a “Chimney Cake” for James’s birthday because Colin the Caterpillar doesn’t appear to live in Hungary. The chimney cake was amazing! We stayed to watch how they were made at the markets; dough wrapped around around a cone-like instrument, it is then cooked over hot coals before being sprinkled in whichever flavoured topping you’ve chosen. We had cinnamon and it was divine! Most of our time, as we do in any city or place we haven’t seen before, we really wracked up our steps and walked and walked and walked through so many views without plans or objectives only to enjoy our time together and the surroundings we’re so lucky to experience. Having visited in the Winter, when the skies were dull and you have to be so wrapped up, I’d be interested to go back in the summer and see the differences. Having read other blogs and articles about the city in the warm, I feel there could be a whole new world to see within the same areas as we explored on this trip. I would undoubtedly book the Marmara again, that’s something that surely doesn’t get better than it was!
A következő alkalomig! x