Budapest in Spring

Budapest Travel Blog

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Budapest

Going to Budapest was my treat to my flatmate Adam for his birthday... and it was an excellent choice if I do say so myself. Armed with tips from the Hungarian lady who does my nails, we arrived the Saturday night of the first long weekend in May. Unfortunately flights aren't the cheapest to Budapest, but our hotel was moderately priced, exceptionally central and actually quite fabulous (the Danubius Hotel Astoria).

We decided to hit the town on our first night there, and, although it was bucketing down, we ventured to a local club aimed at both a gay, mixed and drag queen crowd... Capella. The drag show was a definite highlight (I've never seen Bonnie Tyler's "I Need A Hero" performed quite that way before, I must admit) and it was a great introduction to the weekend.

Our first whole day in the city we decided to stay on the Pest side of the Danube and check out the riverside, Houses of Parliament, Jewish quarter, St Stephen's Basilica and general shopping districts. The distances were all very walkable, the streets were lovely, there were very few tourists, the locals were polite... and to top it off we had glorious weather (while London experienced rain). Stopping for lunch and a fortifying shot of peach palinka (it's making me shudder just thinking about it now), we spent a thoroughly pleasant day getting a feel for what life is like in the city.

Although my nail lady had emphasised that there were some wicked all night clubs open throughout the summer in Budapest, we decided that crawling home from Capella at 4am had been enough for us for one weekend and had a fairly low key dinner on our last night in Hungary instead.

Looking over the Danube to Buda
I'm happy to report that the food was excellent throughout the trip, and absolutely fine for vegetarians.

Our final day saw us traipse over to the Buda side of the city, riding the Funicular up the hill to Buda Castle. For some reason the Hungarians haven't quite figured out that they can charge tourists for absolutely everything, so wandering around the castle grounds was totally free (entry into some of the museums there cost money though)... in fact being a tourist in Hungary was fairly cheap in general I think. And of course the castle afforded more really stunning views of Pest than you could shake a stick at.

It was near the castle that I also got to go a bit nuts taking photos of the fabulous honeycomb-style tiled rooves that Budapest is famous for.

Buda Castle
We were so lucky the sun was out too... it made for some great shots. In compensation for making him wait while I took endless snaps of tiles, I treated Adam to an ice cream sunday near the castle after we checked out some local markets (picking up some lovely embroidered tops to take back for friends).

Despite warnings in our guide book about rip off merchants and marauding gypsies, we found Budapest to be safe and clean... perhaps the seemingly high number of those sleeping rough (most of whom were older folk) was the only real indication of a less than affluent underbelly to the city.

And again it seemed all too soon before it was time to head for the airport, thoroughly walked out and pleased with my destination decision. There was certainly more we could have seen had we been there longer than two full days, although I didn't leave feeling dissatisfied with what we had achieved.

Looking over the Danube to Buda Castle
If we'd been there another day I'd have suggested we head into the Buda hills, but that can wait for another time. In all... an excellent trip. People were friendly and accommodating, prices were reasonable, it didn't feel saturated with tourists, we had stunning weather, there were plenty of gorgeous buildings and places of interest to satisfy the photographer in me, and it was fun! My sister reported to me afterwards that she thought Budapest was like a less touristy Prague... something I shall be able to judge for myself when I visit the Czech Republic in July :)

mackalina04 says:
Thank you for sharing your blog. I am thinking of moving there next year and enjoyed reading your short visit and what you thought. My Papa (grandpa) was born in Hungary and came to Canada when he was 3 on a HUGE ship across the Atlantic Ocean with him Mom and sister! Thanks again for sharing. I am happy to hear that you loved the food!
Posted on: Dec 01, 2007
tvillingmarit says:
Your blog brings back good memories
Posted on: Oct 16, 2007
mellemel8 says:
wow i want to go there. beautiful city.
Posted on: Jul 03, 2007
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Budapest
Budapest
Looking over the Danube to Buda
Looking over the Danube to Buda
Buda Castle
Buda Castle
Looking over the Danube to Buda Ca…
Looking over the Danube to Buda C…
Looking over the Danube to Buda
Looking over the Danube to Buda
Looking across the Danube to Buda …
Looking across the Danube to Buda…
Artistic shot :)
Artistic shot :)
Some pretty amazing architecture
Some pretty amazing architecture
Looking out over the Danube from P…
Looking out over the Danube from …
Looking out over the Danube from P…
Looking out over the Danube from …
Budapest
Budapest
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament
Some of Budapests seemingly preva…
Some of Budapest's seemingly prev…
Spring in Pest
Spring in Pest
Spring in Pest
Spring in Pest
Pest
Pest
Pest
Pest
Streets of Pest
Streets of Pest
St Stephens Basilica
St Stephen's Basilica
St Stephens Basilica
St Stephen's Basilica
View from St Stephens Basilica in…
View from St Stephen's Basilica i…
View from St Stephens Basilica
View from St Stephen's Basilica
Pes street sign
Pes street sign
A pest in Pest?
A pest in Pest?
I often enjoy chick with bamboo (v…
I often enjoy chick with bamboo (…
Delicious soup in a bread bowl
Delicious soup in a bread bowl
Some of the beautiful tiled rooves
Some of the beautiful tiled rooves
Some of the beautiful tiled rooves
Some of the beautiful tiled rooves
Some of the beautiful tiled rooves
Some of the beautiful tiled rooves
Pest
Pest
Ill have the Something Wellness c…
I'll have the Something Wellness …
It just amuses me
It just amuses me
Pest
Pest
Pest
Pest
Pest
Pest
Pest by dusk
Pest by dusk
Why do I find these things so amus…
Why do I find these things so amu…
Lamps outside the Opera House
Lamps outside the Opera House
Lamps outside the Opera House
Lamps outside the Opera House
Lamps outside the Opera House
Lamps outside the Opera House
Hee hee
Hee hee
Adam out to dinner
Adam out to dinner
Out to dinner
Out to dinner
Out to dinner
Out to dinner
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Budapest
photo by: Chokk