Budapest, a name I’ve heard and considered to sound so wonderfully extravagant, that it deserves a visit. Add to that the fact that it’s the capital of a place called ‘Hungary’ (and loving puns the way that I do) I just couldn’t wait to get there to be all punny… that was until Budapest appeared in front of me.(TL)
I remember first hearing about Budapest when I was in grade 10. Our school had organised a “Cultural tour” of Europe and that was the one city on the trip that I’d never heard of before and it aroused my curiosity. Unfortunately I couldn’t afford to go on the tour and that curiosity has remained with me since. (AM)
At the first site of the Parliament buildings, I was rendered speechless and all punny thoughts flew right out of my mind. Budapest is hauntingly beautiful! After visiting Prague and losing my heart to it, I thought I couldn’t fall in love with any other place. After only a few moments in Budapest, I realized that the love I had for Prague was merely puppy love. (TL)
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, European buildings are insanely grand and one just can’t fathom that architecture so spectacular comes from such a long time ago. Construction on the Parliament building started in 1885 after the actual city of Budapest was formed. Back story: Budapest was created through the unification of 3 cities, Buda, Pest and Obuda. The Danube river now dissects the Buda and the Pest districts of the city. If you remember your European history, you’ll know that Budapest was a big deal during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. (AM)
It’s difficult to explain why, but Budapest had me in a very passionate grip. It had ripped my heart out from within my ribcage and it wasn’t going to let go. I wasn’t going to fight this because when something this beautiful wants a part of you, you don’t fight. ☺ (TL)
Budapest is known for many things, these are some of the best of the sights:
I love simplicity. The castle in Budapest is called Buda Castle and it’s on a hill called Castle Hill. Brilliant. The building dates back to 1265 and was the official crib of Hungarian royal families. One of the spectacular sights of the Castle precent is the Matthias Church on the Castle Square with it’s beautifully tiled roof. You can book a tour of the castle and its grounds for around €35.(AM)
The springs are considered to have healing qualities for both heart, body and soul. If you visit a doctor for an ailment, in addition to medication, they will advise you to spend time at one of the Springs. Pretty great treatment if you ask me, cos often all we need is to relax. (TL)
One of the main reasons the Romans colonised the region was in fact because of the thermal springs in the area. You can go visit one of the many thermal baths in the city with public pools where the locals and tourists go to get their aquatic healing. (AM)
Find out more about the city’s thermal baths here
World War Memorials
The Brother-in-Arms sculpture was created by Kisfaludi Strobl Zsigmond in 1928 to commemorate the Hungarian fallen soldiers during the First World War. (AM)
Another poignant memorial is “Shoes on the Danube bank” created to honor the Jews who were killed in Budapest during World War II. They were ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. It represents their shoes left behind on the bank. (TL)
We got to see this square at night and it is breathtaking! It is an iconic statue complex featuring the Seven Chieftains of the Magyars (the leaders of the seven tribes of the Hungarians at the time of their arrival in 895 AD. (TL)
This is one of the coolest areas in Budapest. Historically the area had a flourishing Jewish community but became run down post World War 2 after the deportation of tens of thousands of the residents. Over the next few decades it remained used and neglected… until the hipsters got hold of it. It’s now the trendiest nightlife district of Budapest with many clubs and bars popping up within the old ruins.
We heading out to Szimpla Kert which is the most famous Ruin bar in Budapest. Its actually like the Dockside of Ruin bars with a number of rooms and different offerings. The best way to describe the interior decor would be “everything”. It literally is a collage of every item of decor you can thing of from your grand mother’s tea set to stop signs. It comes together well in some weird way though, or maybe we were just too hungry to care. Get it? Too hungry. Girlfriend will love that one.
Speaking of the food, its simple burger and beer vibes which is all that we needed. The ride through form Bratislava got me a bit thirsty so a decided to try out some of the beers on offer.
Out of the 3 beers I nursed during the evening The Union which is Szimpla’s local brew was definitely my favourite. It’s a light, easy drinking Pilsner which definitley hit the spot. (AM)
I know I’m being crazily romantic, but Budapest brought this out in me. It’s as if they don’t want the old to feel unloved and excluded, so they bring in the new and blend it better than any makeup artist can blend eyeshadow. ☺ No one is forgotten, those that have a story, ie the old buildings, are used for modern events and businesses, ensuring that nothing is lost. Even thinking back to our time here, the pleasantness I feel says it all. The way families (Moms, Dads and children) are out at night enjoying a meal at a Ruin Bar; the way it’s a hustling and bustling city, but still remains friendly and warm, is enough to make me want to go back. Before leaving for Budapest, a colleague who had been told me that if I don’t enjoy it, he’ll happily pay for my entire stay because he was that certain that I would love it.
My thoughts: He can keep his money – the same way Budapest can keep my heart.(TL)