Hey friends and fam! We’re back for another report on another fantastic stretch in Europe!
This time, the Braams hit Budapest! This seemed to be one of the dingier cities we’ve been too, but also one of our favorites. After our arrival to the apartment, we were exhausted, so a quick trip to the store and we spent the night in. This continues to be a marathon of a trip so resting up has been almost as important as getting out. Also the reason why we prefer apartments to hotels, so we can eat in and just chill if we want.
On the first day, we had a slow morning, but made it out nonetheless. We hopped on the #1 Metro line and headed to Varosliget, a wonderful city park. The #1 Metro line happens to be not only the oldest subway in Budapest, but the oldest subway in Europe. The stations were clean and beautifully tiled and the cars were small and neat. Nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Once at the park, we played at the playground, and made a trip to the adjacent zoo. The zoo was somewhat typical in terms of the fauna, but the architecture was really incredible. We made a stop for lunch before heading to the Szechenyi thermal baths. This place was amazing. We spent a good portion of our time in the outdoor bath, but there were several other indoor baths throughout the large building surrounding the pools. Indoor baths were of all different sizes, shapes and temperatures. The whole place was filled with people who had come from far and wide to visit the unique location. We soaked and swam till our hearts content, stopped for a drink, then did it some more. Exhausted, we walked back through heroes square back to the apartement. That night we went to a local restaurant and dined on some traditional Hungarian fare, then hit the sack to rest up for day two.
For those of you who don’t know, there are two sides of Budapest, Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube. We were staying in Pest, and spent the first two days there. On day two, we headed out on foot to explore more of Pest. Highlights of the day were the Opera House, St. Stephens Basilica, The Great Synagogue, a walk on the Danube, and the Chain Bridge. All of the highlights we a great wonder to take in, but just as good was the scenery on the streets in between. The architecture was really great, and the whole time we were serenaded by a variety of different street performers. We also had lunch at a great ruin bar. These bars are built in old, previously rundown areas of town and the décor are made from crates and palates. Mismatched furniture and a multitude of repurposed items make these places really cool and funky. At the particular place we had lunch, the food was fantastic and the ambiance was hip and exciting. We spent a couple hours there enjoying delicious mushroom soup, creative salads and a variety of different local micro brews. After some time on the river and checking out the Chain Bridge at the end of the day, we again hit the fantastic M1 to the apartment for a restful evening.
On our third day in Budapest, we finally made it over to Buda. We arrived there to tackle the Citadel. Perched high on the hill over the river this fortress is beautiful with a large statue of a woman holding a feather. We set out from the bottom for a nice mellow climb up the hill. About halfway up, we discovered a fantastic playground. It was maybe even the best one yet. Built into the side of the hill, there were different long slides connecting the top to the bottom. There were different features at the bottom part including a couple built in trampolines. At the top was a cool rope jungle gym and a tower with a rope web around it and climbing holds inside and out. After a while, we continued up the hill to the citadel. The statue and surrounding fortress were pretty cool, but the real beauty was the expansive view of the city. After a quick lunch, we made our way back down the hill for an afternoon at the Gellert Baths. The bathhouse was different from the one we went to on the first day, but equally as cool. We spent the afternoon exploring the different rooms and pools, hopping from outside to inside. We could really get used to days like this, but unfortunately this was our last one in Budapest. We would have some additional time to explore in the morning, but no more afternoons in the thermal baths for us.
On our last day, we headed straight back to Buda for a tour of the Buda Castle and surrounding area. We took in more great views from the Fisherman’s Bastien, Matthias Cathedral and the old section of Buda Castle around the national gallery. The Matthais Cathedral in particular was beautiful and the most unique cathedral we’ve seen. The roof is covered in a rainbow of different ceramic tiles and the white limestone wall were striking in their detail. We headed back to the apartment to collect our luggage and hit the road once again. First we took the train back to Vienna, then boarded our first overnight train of the trip bound for Venice! So excited to be back in Italy!
More on our extended trip back in the land of wine and pasta coming soon!