Our first part of our Budapest weekend. Enjoy!
Budapest is hailed as the undiscovered city in Europe, somewhere which isn’t as popular as say Prague but still has the same history and quirks and interesting people. It is true to say it is an pearl of a place, its interesting streets and squares with architecture which could transport you anywhere round the world whilst having so much of its own charm.
Stuart’s family lived in the outskirts of Budapest for 3 years while he was growing up and for the last 9 years I have heard stories of this place so I was excited when we finally decided to visit.
We departed Chichester at 4pm for a mad dash to Heathrow Airport, there were some delays in the motorway which are almost inevitable but we made it with time to spare. After a quick beer and a burger we headed to the gate and departed at around 9pm.
The flight was one of the best I have had (coming from someone who hates flying) and as it was an evening/night flight so I watched Europe fall into darkness and the lights turn on. The main roads looked like lit up branches of a tree it was pretty awesome. I just wished I had taken a picture – lesson learned!
We landed around midnight, whizzed through security and headed to the taxi rank. Budapest is serviced by one main taxi company FoTaxi – bright yellow taxi’s. They are also regulated so the price is the same whoever you go with.
We stayed at an apartment in the Parliament area of the city via Airbnb, our host’s daughter met us at 1am, gave us a quick tour and then we headed to bed excited to see what the city held for us in the morning.
We awoke to blissful sunshine which made me very happy. We got up and headed out to find some breakfast, it seemed we rose a little early for Budapest as not much was open. We headed to St Stephens square and relaxed with a latte and Forest Fruit muffin from the California Coffee Co. We picked the place more for the setting than the food, right outside the church – a great way to start the day.
Our first stop was St Stephen’s, we walked up the steps and entered into the massive church. The decoration was beautiful and covered with marble. We walked around taking in the chapels and the amazing ceiling. St Stephen is definitely a saint in Hungary and he is most loved…to the point where his mummified right hand is kept inside a side chapel. We decided to go and have a peek and were a little disappointed. Without paying to light up the case you couldn’t really see much.
In order to fuel our love for panorama’s we decided to pay and walk up to the roof of the basilica. It was a tough walk up the 300 odd stairs to the roof but the view was worth it! I think the pictures do it the most justice!
Next up was a stroll
mini hike across to the Szechenyi Chain Bridge and across to the Buda side of the Danube. The Szechenyi Chain Bridge was the first bridge to connect Buda and Pest opened in 1849. It was thought up by Istvan Szechenyi, designed by Scot William Clark and built by Englishman Adam Clark.
We headed for the funicular on the Buda side to save us from walking up the hill to the castle. We queued for 20 minutes (rather a long time for such a short trip) but the ride was fun and gave you a good view over the river.
At the top we strolled along outside Buda Castle taking many many more panorama’s. The heat was setting in now so we decided to try and find some lunch. We don’t have much luck using either guidebooks or Trip Advisor but we thought we would give it another go. We headed towards Fisherman’s Bastion, passing some lovely looking restaurants in search of one we found on Tripadvisor. When we eventually got there it was shut. Not impressed.
We headed back up to Fisherman’s Bastion and headed for the nearest food place. We totally got sucked into a tourist trap called Panoramia but the view more than made up for the terrible food as it was right inside the Bastion.
food in a plastic tub we decided to pay to go onto the Fisherman’s Bastion, which again was a total let down. Everywhere I read made it out to be amazing with the best views in Budapest so we decided to pay the 1000 Fortinet. It turned out to be less than 100m from start to finish whereas if you walked round the corner you got the same views! And boy they were good views! Along with a beautiful church St Matthias.
We grabbed an ice cream walked back down to the river, crossed over and made our way to the Shoes on the Danube. A memorial to Hungarian Jews who were shot into the river by the Nazi’s. It was a lovely memorial, many of the shoes were filled with candles and I suspect it looked amazing at night.
I was rather tired by this point and feeling a little sick. In hindsight I am pretty sure I had sunstroke and continued to feel unwell all evening.
Nonetheless after a quick change we headed to our evening river cruise with Legenda upon the Duna Bella. The cruise was just over an hour and worked its way down the Danube and around Margaret Island. An audio tour filled us in on what we were looking at and we were treated to a glass of Champagne each and a glass of Lemonade! Well worth the 26 euro’s we paid for it!
Dinner was next on the cards, again we had a fail with a Tripadvisor recommendation and it was fully booked so we headed back to the road we were staying in and dined at the Hummus Bar. This place was amazing! The hummus was amazing! The Laffa (flatbreads) was amazing! I just wished I hadn’t felt so ill so that I could have eaten more than a tiny corner of the plate. 🙁
Bed was all that was on my mind to try and recover from the sickness so an early night was in store! Despite feeling so sick I was excited to see what tomorrow would hold!
Have you ever been to Budapest? What was your favourite part?