Days 9, 10, 11
We set off from Krakow early morning as we had a long drive ahead of us to Hungary via Slovakia, around 395km away. The maps looked liked it would be mountainous roads but they were actually much better, duel carriage ways most of the way, with rolling hills and passing lovely quaint villages and little towns along the way. In Slovakia we could see an impressive castle coming into view, it was perched high on a rock face. We parked up next to it and sent the drone up for a look, having the drone is perfect in these situations, as we wouldn't have had time to look around the castle, but we got the cheats view of it.
We arrived in Budapest at dusk, the owner of our Airbnb had been in constant contact and had advised us where to park (on street parking) and the exact location of the apartment. When we arrived though we couldn't get in touch with him and spent some time waiting on him, turned out he was oversees but his mother who couldn't speak English would be arrive soon. The apartment was set inside a courtyard, and very spacious inside with high ceilings, and was in a great location, minus having a strip club beneath us, we couldn't hear any noise though. View our AirBnB here We had requested free parking for all our AirBnBs and this didn't work out this time as it was free parking on street during weekends but had to pay for car park during week. So we arrived on Sunday and got a free day, but paid on the Monday and Tuesday around €10 a day. Outside the apartment was an underground train station, but we just walked to the centre which was around 20 minutes walk along the river, and only 5 minutes to Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd).
We wondered through a very exciting Christmas market (the best we would see on this trip) and continued wandering and soaking up the atmosphere, unfortunately it was really rather windy, and chilling wind at that, so after the long drive, we were happy to pop into a near by restaurant that was offering a 'Tourist Menu', 3 courses for €10 each. I have a friend and work colleague Katalin who is from Budapest, and she was ever so kind to write 5 pages (5!!) of things to do and eat whilst here, she had mentioned goloush soup, paprika chicken pasta and pancake with various fillings. Well, we went to the wrong place, everything we ate wasn't very good at all, the soup- watery, the pasta- yucky, the pancake with rum and nuts- mush.
On our second day in Budapest we booked to go on the city sightseeing bus. I love a city sightseeing bus as its really the best way to get lost of information and see everything in a short space of time. The bus ticket, valid for 48 hours was only €22 each. We done all the sights, getting of numerous times and hopping back on, we visited Parliament, Buda Castle, Chain Bridge, Opera House, Heroes Square, and another recommendation from Katalin was New York Cafe, and it was a stop on the bus tour, I was not expecting what we were about to see. New York Cafe is part of a 5 start hotel and the decor was outstandingly beautiful and opulant. We ordered a coffee and hot chocolate and Shannon claimed it was the best hot chocolate he'd ever had, it was made with melted milk chocolate.
For sunset we took the drone up to the skies and got amazing views down the Danube. We walked around alot, again in the bitter wind, we walked over the Chain Bridge (Széchenyi Lánchíd) and back to the Christmas market, at Vörösmarty square where we drank mulled wine (although we both don't really like the taste of it!) then for dinner we pigged out on nutella flatbread, and langós and sausage with mustard. The streets were decorated for Christmas in amongst the gorgeous architecture.
We woke very early to catch the sunrise, we got to Gellért Hill at 7am to watch the sun rise and also sent the drone up again, as it such a fantastic place to capture. Next door to our apartment is a bagel cafe called Budapest Bagel and we tried the most delicious bagels there, if we lived in Budapest we would go every day!! The address is here- you must try it if you go! Baross utca 4.1088 Budapest
The sun was out today and it was warmer, thankfully. We walked and walked for miles passing by a WW2 underground hospital which was carved into the rock, admiring monuments and the many bridges which span the river, separating Buda and Pest. We wondered around Buda Castle and seen the changing of the guards, watched the funicular climb its way up from the Chain Bridge to the castle, sad to admit, but we were fine not doing the museums, sometimes it's just not our thing (sorry, not sorry).
We continued our walk in the heat to Fisherman's Bastion which is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style, and marvelled at the sights across to Pest. Mathias Church is also situated there and is very impressive. Although the area was under scaffold, as so much of the things we visit seem to be! Also it was rammed with tourists, getting in for the infamous photo leaning on the arch ways was a task, not quite as glamorous as peoples Instagram's make out.
On the way we stopped at a pub for a well deserved beer, but we stumbled into the most oddest of places, it was like no other around, it was Arabian themed with loud traditional music, we stayed for one then swiftly moved on.
We jumped on the city sightseeing bus again to rest our legs and stopped off at BITE bakery for some food, and we tasted some yummy cakes and sandwiches, BITE is located across from Nyugati train station, one of the busiest train stations in Budapest.
After wondering around the city on foot, for sunset we took the opportunity to jump on the free Danube river cruise which also came with our bus trip, it took 2 hours to sail down the Danube and back up, underneath the bridges and marvel at Parliament lit up in the darkness.
Not giving up on trying local good, we went back to Vörösmarty square to try more local delicacies, this time trying the goulash soup which was inside a huge loaf, which you peeled off as you went, dipping into the soup, it was utterly delicious!! (I've only ever had soup in a loaf once before and that was at Pier 39 in San Francisco).
On the way home for the night we found ourselves in an English bar called Pointers for a massive beer- containing 2 pints of beer!
And that rounded off our trip to the lovely city of Budapest. It had been long high on my lost of places to visit and it definitely didn't disappoint. We'd love to come back one day on a nice summers day and visit the famous baths and spa's that the city proudly boasts.
Have you visited Hungary before?- If so what was your highlights?