Budapest, Hungary | January 2019
After settling into our new routine at school in England, Jess, Katie, and I were keen to take advantage of cheap flights around Europe before our coursework would prevent us from taking off at a moment’s notice. We decided on Budapest, more on a whim than anything, and arrived with very little expectations as to what the city would offer.
After checking into the Maverick Lodge Traveller’s Hostel, located in the Jewish Quarter of the city, we immediately went on a quest for food…and proceeded to walk for 40 minutes on a hunt for authentic Hungarian food. Of course, we ended up dining at a restaurant directly across the street from the hostel. Having worked up an appetite, we enjoyed every last bite, even opting for dessert. Mine was a whipped-cream covered sponge cake, topped with custard and chocolate sauce.
On our first full day, the air was crisp but clear, and we set out by foot to explore both Buda and Pest. The city is actually divided in two by the Danube River. We strolled through a market, visited St. Stephen’s Basilica, walked to the Parliament buildings, and strolled along the river’s promenade. The Shoes on the Danube Bank was a striking memorial depicting the shoes left behind by Jewish people who were executed by the Arrow Cross Party police along the river during World War II.
We crossed the river from Pest into Buda, where we took in Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, and stopped by for cake and tea at the Hilton because of it being a) open and b) having clean washrooms. Heading back to the Pest side of the city, we went out for dinner at a restaurant called Rose, where we were serenaded by a violinist, who played everything from Aladdin to Celine Dion.
Our second day, we woke up to snow! We ventured out for a late brunch, after having been out late the night before at one of the many ruin bars near our hostel. Digging into eggs benedict and french toast, it was a unanimous vote that Cirkusz Cafe served the best meal of our trip. Next door to the cafe, we found The Sweet, and I still haven’t decided which was more wonderful – their macarons, or their dreamy decor!
We walked to the Grand Central Market, where we wandered the myriad vendors’ booths. That evening, Katie and her boyfriend decided to stay in, but Jess and I still had one more item to check off the Budapest bucket list. We headed to the Gellert Thermal Baths, where we spent a lovely evening exploring the grandiose bathhouse. Following a few hours there, we indulged in chimney cakes before heading back to the hostel. It was the perfect way to end our weekend.