As you may know, my posts have been a bit out of sync recently due to a little weekend trip to Budapest for my birthday. *Insert birthday singing here* To make up for this, and as a prelude to my March series on travelling with a mental illness, I’ve decided to include you in my holiday experience, by giving you a five minute run-down of some of my favourite places.
Seeing the sights.
This country is just beautiful! Everywhere you look there’s an incredible piece of architecture or landscape which you can’t take your eyes off. We walked to the top of
Gellert hill from which you can see the city laid out in front of you. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit of a trek and in the ice it probably wouldn’t have passed English health and safety laws, but then again what does these days? It’s well worth getting painfully out of breath for with breathtaking views over the city, when we went it was quite foggy and still well worth it, so I can’t imagine how incredible it must look on a clear day.
If it’s history you’re after there’s Buda Castle and the Parliament buildings. Both are structurally gorgeous and filled to the brim with history. There’s a museum in the castle now and all the panels are (helpfully) in English, although the guy in the cloakroom was a little scary. Talking of scary, the guards at parliament are possibly the most terrifying I’ve encountered. The tour guides are friendly though, and give a lot of information in a short time. Even if you don’t fancy listening the building and rooms are so elaborate that there are plenty of selfies to be taken.
Finally (there’s loads more but I’ve limited myself to five minutes!) is the Fisherman’s Bastion. It was originally a fishing port, but now it’s mainly restaurants and viewing platforms. I loved its gorgeous white stone and little fairy tale turrets, I felt like a princess! The view’s pretty good from here too, and if you eat here you can see some lovely sights across the lake.
I’d also recommend St Stephen’s Basilica… but there aren’t any words. It’s insanely beautiful.
The thermal baths are a big thing here, which is actually a problem because it leaves you with way too much choice! We choice Kiraly (after hours of discussions and research) as it was close to where we stayed and apparently one of the most authentic. We were pleased with our choice. It was fairly busy, but not even close to what some of the TripAdvisor reviews made it appear to be like. It was also significantly cheaper than most of the bigger baths. We don’t have any photos because we weren’t allowed but I’ll do my best to paint with words. The central baths are in a big circular room with a huge domed roof, which is pretty dark and full of steam coming off the many pools. The central pool was the busiest, but not quite warm enough for us, as we prefer our baths to almost scald us, there is however a much warmer pool which we never wanted to leave! There’s also a sauna, steam room, some sort of cold room and another bath outside the main room. There are water fountains too in little sinks jutting out from the corner of the room. All in all, they’re a lovely way to relax in the evening, especially if you visit while it’s cold!
We also went to the Flipper Museum. A museum underground that contained a huge number of pinball machines. It’s pretty cool and not too expensive and you could spend hours in there working your way through the various machines. There’s a little tuck shop style thing in there too which was pretty cool, and though you’re not allowed to eat or drink by the machines you can always pop up there for refreshments.
Eating & drinking.
We found loads of cool places to eat here. The first night we went to a ‘Sailor’s Bar’ which had been recommended to us by our host and although the service wasn’t the best we could have hoped for, the food was tasty and we were served in a reasonable time. The decor is also really cute and there’s a view of the river which is always good. We also ate another place which was ridiculously cheap, at only 5000HUF each! There are a lot of meat and potatoes going on, and they’re much better than ours. My favourite restaurant was a incredibly romantic. The waiter took my coat, pulled my chair out and even put my coat back on at the end of the night: I left feeling like the most important person in the world! The food was amazing, and came in really good portions, but that’s not the best bit. The best bit is the music. Live. A violinist and pianist who play throughout the evening, take suggestions and sometimes even serenade you. I’ve never been anywhere like it, and if I could, I’d go every day.
It’s time to give the Ruin bars a mention. If you want to go out drinking, these are the most unique places we found. They’re built in ruined houses or factories and instead of renovating them, they’ve simply found ways to bring out their old charms and re use them as bars. They are some of the strangest places that I’ve visited, but they’re also strangely nice.
I had the best time here, and surprisingly, since I’m always shivering at home, the cold didn’t bother me that much. My last word to you? Get a coat on and book a flight!