This blog post is waaayyyyy overdue. This goes all the way back to my summer Europe adventures with my sisters. This semester just kicked into high gear these past two weeks with test, projects, papers, and more. I can’t catch a break, but it’s important to find some personal time to do the things you love! For me, that’s blogging, spending times with friends, pinterest (for inspiration of course!), and reminiscing on positive memories! With half of my friends studying abroad, I find myself enviously staring at their photos with great beer, awesome food, and wonderful architecture. I think my subconscious is trying to tell me that I need a vacation!
After struggling through a long train ride while sitting next to a 400 lb. local that smelled like onions, literally, I could not have been happier to reach our destination. Budapest, Hungary was our final stop before our Europe trip would come to an end. I absolutely loved Budapest for the rich history, culture/lifestyle, and aged architecture. Finding the hostel was like entering a maze with cobblestone streets that were encased by connected, ruin-like architecture and buildings on on either side. There were no gaps in between the buildings that were home to shops, restaurants, and cafes, which added to this maze-like aspect of these smaller aged streets. I loved how Budapest kept their ancient architecture in place and utilized each space even as their society evolved. It gives it so much character and allows travelers to still experience the present-day culture while getting a taste of their ancient history. There were so many sites to see and we only had about three days to accomplish everything! We spent our first day drinking wine and relaxing at a cute little cafe. This is where I tried Ratatouille for the first time, which inspired me to create my Ratatouille dish when I got back to the states.
We explored the streets a bit before heading out to dinner later that night. After that we decided we should experience the clubbing life in Budapest just to say that we had! As we struggled to navigate the streets, we noticed we had a follower- a creepy local guy on a bike who was sporting a devilish smile, a shaved head, and tatted arms. I recommend traveling in big groups when in unfamiliar territory because there’s always safety in numbers. Apparently three people is not a sufficient group size… I got spanked as he yelled inappropriate things to me and my sisters! We immediately turned around and gave up on the whole clubbing idea. This was the only unfortunate thing about Budapest, some parts were lively and nice, others were a little deserted, run down, and not as safe.
As we walked back through the narrow streets towards our hostel, we stumbled across an old, ruin-like bar. It caught our attention because of the hustle and bustle that was concentrated around its entrance. We had luckily found The Original Ruin Bar: Szimpla Kertmozi. It was busy with locals and had the most amazing eclectic atmosphere! All the decorations were old pieces of metal from cars, chairs, and other miscellaneous objects. It was like Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis maxed out their credit cards at thrift shop! With all these old fishing nets, lights, tiles, and mismatched chairs, we were tempted to explore every inch of the bar with our festive cocktails!
The next day we set out for our adventure to Castle Hill. The castle had beautiful rooftops and an amazing view of the entire city. The architecture was amazing and the statues were a site worth seeing. My favorite statue was Matthias Well by Alajos Strobl, which depicts King Matthias after a deer hunt- this was a breath-taking statue. We stopped to eat lunch at an adorable cafe and enjoyed the weather while sipping on white wine! This place was soooo relaxing!
Later that night we got dressed for a nicer evening. We went and admired the Basilica before heading to Di Vino, a modern wine bar. This was a great hangout with a mellow atmosphere. All of their drink choices were displayed attractively in wine cubbies that were built into the walls… I need floor to ceiling wine cubbies in my apartment! We enjoyed our white wine and even ordered an amazing charcuterie appetizer, which was hands down the best bread and proscuitto I’ve ever had! After gorging on our appetizer it was time to catch our reservations at Spoon. Spoon was an amazing restaurant that was actually on a yacht which was docked on the Danube River. It’s huge windows faced Castle Hill and the Chain Bridge- such a jaw dropping view. After dinner we headed back to the hostel to rest up for our final day’s adventure: The Szechenyi Thermal Baths!
The next morning was a little bitter sweet when I came to the realization that it was the last full day before our long trip home. We still made the best of it though! We all slipped into our swimsuits and coverups and headed to the Wombat’s (our hostel) complimentary breakfast. After lots of walking, some wrong turns, and a few trains, we arrived at the famous thermal baths. These baths had changing rooms and complimentary towels, so no need to bring your own. Each bath on the floor was a slightly different temperature and each contained their own vitamin or mineral which was infused into the water- I’m assuming this provided some therapeutic benefit! Not only did they have indoor and outdoor heated pools, they had a few saunas. After all of the wine drinking and gorging ourselves over the past two weeks, I think it’s safe to say that we needed to really sweat out all the toxins! Not only was this place super relaxing, it was also very entertaining. Being in close proximity with a lot of other humans- being all shapes and sizes- these baths provided my sisters and I with some interesting people watching for a few hours. After shriveling into prunes, we decided to head back to the hostel to pack and get ready for dinner.
Our last evening consisted of cards games with complimentary beer at our hostel! We went and enjoyed some amazing gyros and then a glass of wine at a local bar to calmly end our night before our long journey ahead. As the trip came to a close I was a little bummed, but I couldn’t help but realize how lucky we all were to be able to take two weeks off to run around together and experience Europe!