There’s way too much to say when it comes to Budapest, Hungary. Too much that I’ll have to break Budapest up into multiple posts. This post is only about our first day in the city.
Before we left Texas and boarded the plane towards Budapest, I had no idea what to expect out of Budapest. I’d read a ton of travel books saying it was going to be more difficult to get around than other European cities and that speaking the language is one of the hardest languages to learn. In fact, from one well known traveler, he said that Budapest is quit difficult and will exhaust you. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge and I’m not scared easily. With the bad, I also read TONS of great things about Budapest and these things, by far outweighed the negative. I was excited to end up in Hungary but was also very nervous as to what exactly we were getting ourselves into, as I didn’t have a slight understanding of the language.
After a quick one hour layover in Amsterdam we were on our short 2 hour flight over to Budapest. As we were getting close I looked out of the airplane window to see the Danube River and my husband says “there it is!!” the Parliament building!! There it was… something I’d only seen in travel books, now I’m flying over it getting a birds eye view of this magnificent building. I could fill the energy building up inside of me, WE’RE HERE! Finally, we’re in Hungary…. Budapest, no less. My first glimpse of the Parliament building was from the air, how cool!
The first picture you can see the Parliament building on the banks of the Danube River. The second you get a bonus, not only can you see the Parliament building you can also see the the Széchenyi Thermal Bath on the bottom left corner by the wing. This one is the yellow building that is most recognizable of all the bath houses. I have plenty of photos from that stop on our trip for later.
Once we were off the plane the fun started! The drive from the airport to our hotel on the Danube was an eye opener. I literally had my face up against the window the entire drive in. I really can’t tell you what I was expecting to see or what experiences I was expecting from Budapest but all I can say is it blew me away! The architecture, the people, the food! Everything was beyond anything I expected and it’s hard to write down exactly how I felt. All I can say with 100% accuracy is, Budapest is simply AMAZING!
Our Hotel was on the Pest side of the Danube river very close to the Chain Bridge. Since we were only here for one night we decided to splurge. It was a long trip and we wanted a comfy place to stay with a nice fluffy bed. The Prestige Hotel Budapest, was the nights accommodations and it was worth every penny. We wandered around the city to a few of the hot spots I knew I wanted to hit that day. Since we were leaving the very next day I wanted to hit a few of my favs to get a taste of Budapest. ( We come back for 3 more days at the end of our trip, don’t worry.)
We started by wandering across the Chain Bridge over the Danube towards the Fisherman’s Bastion. I knew 100% that I didn’t want to miss out on that fantastic view from one particular spot at Fisherman’s Bastion. The view from here you can see all of Pest and the Danube river. Some say it’s the best view of all of Budapest! I agree! ( but it’s the most crowded, keep that in mind) Matthias Church ( The Church of Our Lady), was also right in front of us. I couldn’t get over the intricate roof tilings. They were meticulously placed to make a beautiful pattern on top of this beautiful church. The colors are amazing! From there, we strolled through a market full of lace, wooden christmas ornaments, fur hats and coats and loads of scarfs. (which I came back to and bought loads of goodies) It had started to drizzle but that wasn’t stopping us from pressing forward. Everyone we came across either said jó napot or just straight up hello, good evening or good day. From the market we walked over to Buda Castle to take in the view from that overlook. It was overcast and drizzly but the city was still magnificent.
Later that night we went to a local spot that served up some hot Hungarian goulash and some Hungarian beer. Once again, we were met with smiles and helpfulness. We did our best to say things in Hungarian but every time we tried they would smile and speak english. We were told by our waiter that the Hungarians are aware that their language is incredibly difficult to learn and they don’t expect people to pick it up that fast, besides, they learn english very early on in school and love the chance to practice it.
Everyone we came across in Budapest was extremely helpful. Our bellhop at the hotel sat down on our floor and pulled out a map and circled places we needed to go. Like all the ruin pubs that we’d like, restaurants and attractions not to miss. He also told us what places NOT to go, like touristy restaurants that will charge you a crap ton and tourist spots that aren’t that great. He was our age and very personable and easy to talk to, he really helped us out.
One thing I find the most difficult about traveling to foreign countries is finding a place to eat. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed thinking about how I’m going to order something I can’t pronounce or read…. and the added stress of TRYING to order it. But, that wasn’t the case in Budapest. It makes you really appreciate how easy it is to walk into a restaurant at home and blurt out what you want and it’s done. When you travel, everything is calculated and a little slower. It’s funny how different things get when you step out of your comfort zone. I love it!
All in all, what I want to say about Budapest in this post is GO! If it’s ever been in the back of your head or on your travel list, GO! You won’t regret it, not for one second. Every square inch is so beautiful and I didn’t find one thing hard or difficult about it. Maybe that’s because everyone we came in contact with was so friendly. If I can persuade even one person to go to Budapest, I’ve won.
The next time I post about Budapest, I’ll break the city up by attractions. That way you get a better feel of each stop. See ya then!