As I’m sure many of you are aware, we went to Budapest for our vacation (with a few days in France-Comté). We had a great time, and we had a nice time discovering the city together. Any other places we’ve spent significant time in, one or the other already knew it, but neither of us had been to Budapest before.
I won’t give you a play-by-play of the entire trip, but I will tell you about some of the highlights.
Budapest is divided into two parts by the Danube River – Buda and Pest. We spent the majority of our time on the Pest side as that was where we were staying and where many of the attractions we were interested in are located.
We walked a lot. As we were staying in the center, we did everything by foot. According to my Fitbit, we averaged about 25,000 steps (that’s about 12 miles/20km), and we even walked over 20 miles/30km one day! Our feet needed a vacation from our vacation. It was also during a heatwave which didn’t help things (more on that in a moment).
We took a free walking tour on our first day, so we could get to know the city a bit (with some history mixed in). Our host grew up in the city, so she knew it very well, and her English was amazing (seriously, she could almost match my speed and that’s saying something!). Plus, she gave us some great recommendations.
Neither of us are huge museum people, but I do like to try to visit at least one when in a new city. We chose to go to the House of Terror which used to be the communist headquarters. It was interesting, but many things were only in Hungarian. I don’t want to be the person that says “Why isn’t everything in English?”, but as everyone there was foreign, it didn’t seem practical to have the descriptions in Hungarian. Of course, if we had opted for the audio guides, perhaps I’d be singing another tune, but I’m too impatient (and cheap) to listen to those.
We really enjoyed wondering around the Jewish Quarter and stumbling upon various sites there including some ruin bars. In fact, we did a lot of wondering around in general. It’s the best way to discover a new place!
Several of you recommended that we check out Margaret Island. We took your advice and spent a morning there before the temperatures crawled too high. It was a nice calming break from the bustle of the city (which was filled with tourists at this time of year).
Let’s take a moment to talk about the food! We loved it. Okay, we didn’t eat too much traditional Hungarian cuisine as it’s not exactly known for light summer dishes, but on our last night, we did enjoy the traditional goulash and chicken paprikash (because we could not go to Budapest and not try it!). We also sampled several things from bakeries with varying success as we didn’t usually know what we were ordering.
There was so much amazing international cuisine! We had Mediterranean (hello, hummus and falafel!), spicy Indian, Jewish street food, etc. Our main goal was to eat foods we couldn’t find in Lille. We definitely succeeded.
We also found the city to be very dog friendly, so it made me miss Elliot a lot. I wish he could have came with us, but we flew Easyjet which doesn’t accept pets.
The worst part of the trip was that I developed an allergic reaction. On our second day, I noticed a sort of rash all over my arms and neck. It seemed to be getting worse instead of better over the course of the afternoon, so we stopped in a pharmacy. Luckily, the pharmacist spoke some English though her words were “Maybe, allergy, maybe?”. She gave me some meds and did her best to explain them as the packing and notices were all in Hungarian.
Still, what was I allergic to? The only thing we could thing of was either a sun allergy or an allergy to the sunblock. I put some of the cream on my stomach, but nothing happened. However, the next morning, it turned into a bright rash! I was allergic to the allergy tested sunblock for sensitive skin! That could only happen to me! We had to spend the rest of our trip trying to stay in the shade in the hopes I wouldn’t turn into a tomato (I burn super easily). In the end, I didn’t burn.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end, but when we returned to Franche-Comté, we were greeted by an ecstatic little dog who just couldn’t control himself. He then spent the next few days practically glued to us.
What’s your favorite thing in Budapest?