One of my new top 5 cities in Europe.
25.02.2011 - 27.02.2011 5 °C
I'm back from a totally amazing weekend in beautiful Budapest, the capital of Hungary, and here is my report.
Participants: my boyfriend (Jürgen, lives in Stockholm, Sweden), Per (a friend to us that lives in Vienna, Austria) and moi (Clara, lives in London, UK)
Why Budapest? When you're in a long distance relationship someone needs to travel, and why not visit new places instead of Jürgen coming to London or me going to Stockholm all the time? And I'm a traveladdict and countrycollector so I need to visit new countries. I've heard so many good things about Budapest and we both found cheap flights to the beautiful capital and decided to pay it a visit.
Accommodation: Cotton Huse. Found the link at a Swedish backpacker forum backpacking.se and we decided to take the advice of going there. It's a 4 star hotel, close to Nyugati (Western Station), very central and the room we got was huge with jacuzzi! Every room in the hotel is named after different celebrities, with pictures on the door and in the room. One of the funniest hotels I've staying at. Got huge charm! Recommend it deeply!
I knew I got distracted by a sms while setting up my alarm clock on my iPhone, and now I know that I should double check. When I woke up I thought it was very bright for being around 7AM. The reason for this was that my alarm was set up on 7.30PM and I woke up at 8.10. Phew! Now I was in a hurry. I thought, but I had plenty of time to find the busstation in Brent Cross and get on the easyBus I've booked the night before! Luton next!
The flight with EasyJet was cheap and I can't complain on anything! I got what I expected. It was more of a partyflight than the regular flight, but for 2h30min flight I can live with that. Prefer youths than screaming kids! Jikes! The staff were friendly, that flight in time on the outbound travel, 30 min delayed on the inbound back to UK. Will most likely fly much more with EasyJet in the future!
It was snowing when Jürgen and I reached Budapest on Friday afternoon and around 0 degrees. Was a bit disappointed since it was sunny and 15 degrees in London the same day. But the weather got better and we took a train from the airport (Ferihegy) to Nyugati (Western Station). Was really easy to find our amazing hotel and we were extremely pleased when we found out that our room was more like a suite than an ordinary double room. We had booked a room with jacuzzi and ordered a bottle of champagne to bring to the room. Hungarian Extra Dry was not just cheap, but tasted great aswell! Was very romantic drinking champagne in the jacuzzi, felt like a luxury tourist more than a student.
At around 8-ish our friend Per arrived by car from Vienna where he lives with his girlfriend since a year ago. We haven't met for long and we had a great time visiting pubs in Budapest!
Around 11PM we got a tad tired and sick of the smoking of the bar guests so we went to a supermarket to buy some beer to bring up to our pink hotel room. It was 11.10 when we arrived at a supermarket and while we were watching the fridges to pick the beers we should choose, a woman put up signs which said that they weren't allowed to sell alcohol after 11. We got pissed off, since we already was in the store and it was only 10 min past, but no, they were strict. Then we went for a supermarket across the street and the boy in the store allowed us to buy how much we liked!
More Hungarian champagne for almost no money at all! Was less than £3 for a bottle! We had a quite early night. The men are getting quite old after all. ^^
Jürgen and I woke Per up at 10 and we went for breakfast. Then Per checked out and he was driving us across Chain bridge to the Buda side. I was thrilled! Such a beautiful city! Jürgen bought me a camera as a gift for no reason at all (<3) and I was using it a lot! Love it!
After having a coffee (Per) and tea (Jürgen and myself) and another chat, Per left us to go back to Vienna and work night. Was ace to see you again, man! Let's do it again soon!
When he left, we started walking from Matthias church to Buda Castle. We were going to Buda Castle Labyrinth, and we were stupid enough to not double check the map to see where it was placed. We, or hrm I thought it would be below the castle, but that was wrong. The labyrinth was placed close to Matthias church so we had to walk back again. The sun had arrived and it was a fantastic view from the top of the mountains.
Buda Castle Labyrinth
Buda Castle Labyrinth was very ehrm different? I think it was interesting to see those caves which people used for such a long time. The cave became weirder and weirder. A never-ending Wine fountain was placed in one part, and some strange sculptures of a horse, a huge face half sank in the cave floor. But not until there was a piece of rock marked as a Coca Cola bottle we were thinking WTF is going on here? While back at the hotel later we understood that the last part of the cave was for imagination. Explains the weird things in it. Next time I want to visit other caves in Budapest.
After our visit in Buda Castle Labyrinth we decided that it was time to check out the spa. We asked a woman in the tourist information how to get to Hotel Gellert, and she said that we could take a tram from Chain Bridge. So we went down the stairs the long way down and found a tram. We bought tickets in the underground station and waited for our tram to arrive. Really nice to travel by tram by the river Danube. When we passed Chain bridge an inspector asked for our tickets. We showed them and he said they were not valid because we had to push them in a machine on the tram to make them valid. Well, then why not just tell us that we did wrong and show us how to do it so we know to next time? No, he gets us out of the tram and want to fine us 12 000 HUF for travelling on non-valid tickets! We told him that we were just stupid tourists and noone told us how to do it. But he insisted that we had to pay and that his two police friends was with him. No way I'll pay that rat any money so I took the ticket from him and told Jürgen that we should leave, and so we did. This was the only time someone tried to fool us, but I hate it when it happens. We felt that we hadn't done any big mistakes and that it's very unfair to fool tourists. When we told the receptionists at Cotton House she apologized for that happening to us (!!!). And she said there are quite a few fake inspectors in Budapest that earn money on this business. I'm just sorry that we left the tram because now we had to walk quite a long distance to Gellert Spa. Those are some of the pictures I took from our short tram journey.
We were quite angry about that shitty rat to fake inspector while walking to Gellert spa but it became better when we got in. Everyone with hair needed to wear a shower cap! I've always said that I'm looking great in a shower cap, what do you think? ^^
This spa hotel must be fantastic during summer time. Now there were two indoor pools, one normal swimming pool and one warmer. Jürgen and I had a swimming competition and I won! Almost without cheating! OK, I admit, I had to drag him in his shorts when he was taking advantage of me, but noone said anything about that you couldn't hold someone back during the competition. VICTORY! Flawless!! We tried some pairswimming with swimming on each others backs. Lot of fun! Beautiful place.
Evening walk by Danube river
The time was after 5PM when we thought it was time to get up from the pool and head back to the Pest side of the city. After the tram incident earlier, none of us felt like trying that again, so we decided to have a walk by the riverside. The sunset was quite quick in Budapest in February and it got dark. But it was really romantic to walk hand in hand by the river and dreaming that it would be May and 20 degrees warmer.
When we finally got back to Cotton House we were exhausted and our feet hurt. I fell asleep in Jürgens arms.
Dinner on a conveyor belt
Close to our hotel there was a fancy japanese restaurant with conveyor belt sushi! I totally felt like sushi and we got a table at last. When we were done we had eaten around 16 plates each. I was laughing a bit over Jürgens totally failure of eating with chopsticks and fixed a fork for him to save our dinner. There usually was only one piece of sushi of the plates but some small norimaki rolls were three, so I had 18 pieces of sushi!
We were rolling out from the all you can eat buffet and decided to walk away the dinner in our stomach and try to find a set of playing cards. It wasn't possible on a Saturday evening in Budapest. We also spent loads of energy asking if anyone sold stamps, and the answer was no. Not until Monday morning Jürgen could send my postcards. I need to send postcards to De Berejstes Klub when I'm visiting a new country. We had another early night (of course because Jürgen is old and tired, I'm never getting tired because I'm so young and have loads of energy ^^) and after another bottle of champagne and sushi we went to sleep. As you can see on next picture I wasn't tired at all.
Sunday morning of terror
What could be a better start on a Sunday morning than House of Terror? No soft start of the day when Jürgen and I are on vacation, that's for sure! Our feet were really tired even though we been bathing so much at spa and jacuzzi that we looked like raisins. I must say, House of Terror was a fantastic museum! Really, really great. They certainly have had a rough time the poor Hungarians. Anyhow, while visiting Budapest, this museum is a must see!
Sunday afternoon in the underground
After the House of Terror visit I felt that I needed a cup of tea and we went to a cafe on our way to the Underground Museum. The museum was small but nice (and cheap, only aroudn 300 forint). The underground in Budapest is the first on the continent. Started in 1896. Afterwards we felt like trying the modern underground which wasn't as modern after all.
I talked to a Romanian guy at uni today and asked him where transylvania was and he answered, as I expected, Romania. He said that the Hungarians and the Romanians fight over who the area belong to. Well it might explain our dinner we had at a Hungarian restaurant where almost every meal was "Transylvanian delicacy". I like the food, especially the Goulash soup! Nom nom nom! Had it twice. The beer doesn't really taste anything. Must be ace on a hot summerday, but in February it was a bit tasteless.
Budapest is a very romantic city, then there is the House of Terror. There is a lot to do in the city and a weekend was definitely too short. I would say that going here in May or in the autumn would be the best time with nice temperature and leaves on the trees. But it's a capital and never sleeps and is great all year round. It's a must see and one of Europe's most beautiful cities with the river in the middle and the mountains and fantastic old buildings and an interesting history. The food is tasty aswell. I will also point out again that Cotton House is a really, really nice hotel with a lot of charm. Normally I prefer guesthouses and hostels, because hotels normally lacks of charm, but this had it all. Friendly staff aswell.
Book your ticket today! Thanks for reading!
Over and out!