After my friend and I had to cut Budapest from the Inter-rail itinerary last year, I felt I had some unfinished business with the city. So, when the opportunity to spend some time here with Angloville arose, I was delighted. But this short trip was also of greater significance to me, as it was my first time travelling ‘solo’ as it were (before later meeting my Angoville group). Thus, on my first night in the city, I wandered around a little lost and bewildered. It wasn’t a bad experience by any means, but I suppose I’m used to having someone else to figure things out with. (And, for the record, the Hungarian language is ridiculously difficult, and Hungarian currency is similarly confusing.) Nonetheless, I strolled around the beautiful city and made my way up to the Hungarian Parliament, which is of course, 100 times more impressive in real life than any photo could depict.
I didn’t nearly have as much time as I wanted in Budapest. You could easily spend a week here without running out of things to do. I saw most of the major sights- Buda Castle, Mattias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, Chain Bridge, Parliament Building, St Stephen’s Basilica, Hero’s Square, Szechenyi Thermal Baths, the old Jewish Quarter etc. But there was plenty I didn’t get a chance to see- if you are planning to visit Budapest, try to also include a stroll up Andrassy, The House of Terror, Margaret Island (the list goes on) But to be honest, whilst all these sights are wonderful, I twice found myself lying in the sun in Erzsebet Ter with a beer whilst dipping my feet in the pool. Unlike many major cities, Budapest is completely unpretentious and doesn’t have that irritating fast-paced feel to it.
In order to prevent this post from becoming ridiculously long and repetitive, I will attempt to sum up the main things which I took away from my visit in Budapest, in hopes that it might also entice some or you to visit, or provide a little nostalgia for those of you who have already been.
Extremely safe. Everybody drinks outdoors on hot summers nights, and I didn’t see one bit of trouble.
A very young city. In places like Deak Ferenc square and along the banks of the Danube, young people in their thousands came out to socialise and just chill out in the sun. The nightlife is also fantastic, with some really cool open-air bars in the Jewish Quarter, which are surrounded by trees with fairy lights selling some really cheap beer.
It is, like most European cities, absolutely steeped in history and culture. Some of the architecture is utterly stunning, and it’s awful to think that this welcoming, vibrant city was shackled by communist control only 25 years ago.
The bad points? Well, Hungarian cuisine doesn’t cater so much for vegetarians. The main dishes are Goulash (meat stew) as well as lots of other meaty soups. I was also served a sweet Ravioli for dessert once. 2/10 did not eat.
Otherwise, if you haven’t already experienced Budapest, get dat cheap Wizz Air flight booked pronto and go have lots and lots of Hungarian fun. I can guarantee that you won’t be let down by this city.