I have just returned home from an amazing time in Eastern Europe. My 5 friends and I traveled to Budapest, Prague and Vienna. Did I have fun? Yes! Would I ever go back there again? Well, yes and no. Yes, all three places were magical in their own right. The trip was 8 days and we managed to see a lot offered in those three countries in a very short span of time, but an un-rushed trip back would only be fair. Now on the other hand, It was completely exhausting! I have to face it, I’m not that young anymore. I get weary after a few hours of sightseeing. I get hungry every time the tour bus stops at a different landmark and sleepy everytime we are in transit. And I can’t even say that I will never do an express-multi-city vacation again, because before I could barely unpack my bags after returning home, my travel buddy convinced me to book an Express African Safari Trip J But after that trip, absolutely no more multi-city trips squeezed into less than 12 days. Lesson still being learned.
Did you know that Budapest is made of two countries- Buda and Pest? I didn’t know that. Well, Budapest used to be two separate cities, divided by the Danube River. Although they are now one city, they still have very different characters; Pest is much more modern, sprawling and eclectic. Buda, set on the top of a rocky hill, is traditional and quaint, with the old being valued far more than the new. There are 8 bridges spanning the Danube connecting Buda and Pest. The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is famous for being the first permanent stone suspension. We took a lovely night cruise along the Danube and saw it lit up in all of its glory. The Hungarian Parliament is also a massive sight to behold, especially spectacular at night.
Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle hill in Budapest, around Matthias Church. Be sure to go here for spectacular views of the city- and awesome photo ops!
What is Budapest known for? Some say the wine, others say it’s the coffee houses. I am going to put my vote in for its thermal bath houses. Budapest is most famous for its hot springs. The city has more hot springs than any other capital city in the world. In total there are 118 hot springs that provide over 70 million liters of water per day. Fifteen public bath houses and countless private ones throughout the city provide visitors and residents with the opportunity to bathe in the springs, which are believed to have medicinal properties. Bathing in the hot springs has been a tradition since the Roman rule during the second century. During the Turkish rule in the 16th century, bathing in the hot springs became a national pastime. Ok, enough of the history lecture. Seriously, life changing water! We spent a tranquil afternoon at Kiraly Medicinal Bath. I kid you not, my acne cleared up before we left! Unbelievable. And then there’s Szechenyi’s Bath Party. Imagine, 90 degree pool water, hundreds of sexy drunk people, d.j. slaying on the turntables in the middle on the night. Epic. Pool. Party.
Then there is the Hungarian State Opera House. It is gorgeous inside. The opera we watched was titled Jenufa. And may I add that those Czeck sure know how to write a drama. Check it out! I found this airy red dress at their local H&M that immediately spoke to me. It whispered, “Where me to the Opera”, and I obliged. I’m very glad that I did. What do you think?
Things to remember, the currency conversion was annoying as Hungarians use Forints. I’m still mistakingly paying my tolls with leftover Forints. Get rid of them while you are there!
They are very honest people. 6 ladies traveling together = lots of lost/misplaced valuables. We lost gold bracelets, 3 people’s luggage, a digital camera (in a taxi) and they were all returned to our rooms!
All my friends know I’m a sucker for ambiance. Let me tell you, everywhere we dined had live music! Delicious goulash, fancy decor and opera house- worthy renditions awaited us at each restaurant.
When it comes to visiting Budapest, in the words of Common, “Go!”