I can't believe it's been 2 months since my last blog post! I need to up my game hey! It has taken me even longer to do this one because I don't know how to upload more than one photo at a time on my Mac which slows me down fairly! Anyway...
Back in November I visited a very good friend of mine Stacey in Budapest. Budapest came at the right time for me, I was feeling down and miserable so to visit a new city and see a really good mate I hadn't seen for 18 months certainly lifted my spirits. I first met Stacey when we worked together about 9 years ago in Leicester; I ended up moving back home but we have always kept in contact.
I started off my short break by staying at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel at Luton airport. I now wouldn't stay at any other hotel when flying from Luton! See the link to the hotel below. It was actually this weekend that I had made the decision to go public with my blog. I had written it, I was just unsure as to whether I actually wanted to post it out there for the world to see.
Budapest is a short flight, 2 hours 40 minutes there and 2 hours 10 minutes back. I flew with Wizz air for the first time. I am always reluctant about flying with a new airline for the first time however I was really impressed with them! The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful and the planes are comfy for a budget airline. I was lucky enough to bag myself a whole row to myself on the way over with extra leg room. I am quite a nervous flyer however I do need to get over that given I have a fair bit of lone travelling to do!
Budapest airport is fairly small but clean and easy to get around. The bus into the city centre is right outside arrivals which is where Stacey met me. I was lucky enough to have basically my own tour guide with me for the whole weekend so I wasted absolutely no time in finding where to go and what to do.We definitely packed in lots in the few days I was there!
Budapest reminds me so much of London! You can stand in a street look around, and it has such a London feel, the buildings, architect and the weather! Unlike the tube in London, Budapest has to have the oldest metro system I have ever seen however it does the job well and adds to the experience!
Budapest is incredibly cheap! Once we had made our way back to the apartment we went to the shop and I picked up a bottle of wine and 2 cans of diet coke for just over £2! We went out for a few drinks on the Friday evening with Stan the dog. The evening involved lots of laughs, Palinka (a Hungarian drink), Tatratea (at 75% ABV the only way I can describe this is heart burn in a glass), tequila with cinnamon and orange as opposed to salt and lemon (it doesn't make tequila any better), more drinks and a McDonalds on the way home who, by the way, sell deep fried breaded camembert! What a fabulous first night in Budapest!
Saturday was a day for site seeing! In the late morning me, Stacey and Stan the man set out! We visited heroes square first which was built in 1986 to mark the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar Conquest of Hungary. The museum of fine arts and Kunsthalle (Hall of art) are also located on heroes square. Behind heroes square there is a huge park, restaurants, Vajdahunyad Castle with a boating lake and spa baths. We took a walk around the park before heading for some brunch at Grand Cafe Budapest. I had a breakfast bagel, it was delicious! I am not sure if they have a website but here's the link to their Facebook page:
We continued our site seeing around Budapest. We visited parliament. The parliament of Hungary is the world's third largest parliament building! Along the river outside parliament are a row of copper shoes. This is in memory of the Jews that were killed by Arrow Cross. They would be lined up along the river, ordered to take their shoes off and shot where their bodies would fall into the river. Very very sad, but I do love history. We must have walked miles that day! Stacey had a quick work meeting, so I took Stan the man for a walk around the centre and then we chilled outside a coffee shop!
I was lucky enough to be there when the Christmas markets have started, I am a sucker for a good Christmas market! In all the places I have been, and all the events I have worked and catered at I have never seen street food quite like Budapest! We mooched round with a mulled wine - which by the way came in an array of flavours, strawberry, cherry, etc! You could spend a good hour or more just deciding what you want to eat! Being in Hungary and really wanting to try the local dish as I do wherever I go, I opted for Hungarian goulash. It was absolutely amazing and came on the top of what I can only describe as a potato rosti pancake (I'm sure it has a proper name - see below). My only advice with the street food is be careful what you are ordering, each item you ask for is an amount of money so if you ask for some meat with this that and the other you could soon find yourself paying £30 for street food which I, had I not had Stacey with me, would of done exactly that!
That evening we visited Szimpla Kert - one of the ruin bars. This place fascinated me. It is a converted (sort of) old factory and is now used for nightlife, markets, etc. It was really busy when we went but we still managed to find a table in one of the many rooms, the drinks are at great prices and the atmosphere is amazing. Here's the link:
We hit another bar called Rumpus Tiki Bar - really fun! Amazing cocktails! I had mojito.
We then wondered up to 360 bar. Anyone visiting Budapest NEEDS TO GO HERE! The views are stunning! Make sure you book though incase they can't fit you in. It isn't uncommon in Budapest for the rooftop bars to be full even just for a drink! They had a DJ playing house music at 360, I was really chuffed I got to see what I did. The photos speak for themselves!
Sunday was for sure my favourite day for site seeing as we headed over the river to Fishermans Bastion. I didn't realise Budapest was actually split into 2...Buda and Pest! The two are split by the River Danube and are technically 2 cities in one. Until the moment of crossing the bridge I didn't realise we had actually been in Pest, and we were now heading to Buda. Confusing, I know.
Fisherman's Bastion is beautiful and offers amazing views across the city. You can get there either by bus or walking. There is a tram (type thing) which takes you up the hill!
Once we made it to the top we had a wonder round looking at yet more beautiful buildings. We then stopped for coffee. Now, had I not had been with Stacey I wouldn't have even know this place was a cafe, it looked like a castle, something you would see in a fairytale! We waited 15 minutes for it to open and then Stacey, Stan and I enjoyed a coffee (probably the smallest latte I have ever seen) but where do you get views like that with your morning coffee. Be sure to take cash when visiting, they don't take card!
It really is like a fairytale castle isn't it. There were times where we were just silent, just sitting there taking in the views! We mooched around some more taking pictures (mainly me) and then decided to make our way to Margaret Island. Find below some more photos of Fisherman's Bastion and a link
We walked over to Margaret Island which is like a massive park! We sat and had mulled wine (at 80p a mug!) and were ready for food at this point so we took a seat in an outside cafe/bar. Wanting to keep with the Hungarian food trying I ordered langos and the only way I can describe langos is a huge flat Yorkshire pudding but with the consistency of donut. That's my interpretation of it anyway! It was topped with sour cream, red onion, cheese and pepperoni. Bloody random, but bloody lovely and very filling especially with a huge side of fries, you always need fries though...right?
With full bellies we continued our walk! If your keen to get a photo with the Budapest sign like in my main photo, Margaret Island is where to find it! We walked under the bridge, and the views are as stunning at river level at they are high above ground!
We wondered our way back through beautiful Bupapest (or Pest if we are being particular) to Stacey's apartment. My weekend finished watching friends and eating takeout from Buddha Original which was DELICIOUS using the app Wolt (worth a download)! Stacey gave me a referral code which gave me 1000 forint credit. My referral code is KF5ZI if you wish to use it!
Writing this blog has made me realise how much you can fit in in a short break away! I am very thankful to Stacey for having me and I shall certainly be returning to Budapest soon! I would like to go back and see it in the summer and experience the spa baths. Budapest has so much to offer and is known for long weekends but I could very easily spend a week here. There are hundreds of restaurants that all look worth a try!
Until next time Budapest.
Thanks for reading